How Seth Godin Broke My Analytics!

by Paul Wolfe on July 30, 2012

Here’s a slightly different post that I thought I’d share  – and a few people have emailed me about it so I thought you might be interested.  It relates to my bass guitar website – which is my main site.

Let’s start off with a screenshot from Google Analytics of traffic from Jun 12 to July 12th:

And now let’s compare it with a screenshot from June 28th to July 28th:

And now let’s compare it with a screenshot from June 28th to July 28th:

 

There’s two things I want you to notice.  One is the really massive spike that happens on July 13th.  And the second is that it makes the consistent traffic I get to that site (between 500 and 1000 uniques a day, 1200-1500 on days when I post new content) look like a tiny amount.

So What Happened?

The answer is that Seth Godin wrote about my bass guitar website and published that post on July 13th (a friday too for those of you who are superstitious!).  You can read Seth’s post here if you want to:

Monetizing Digital Attention

Now I knew that Seth had a big audience, but I didn’t realize so many people would click on the link in the post and head over and check me out.  (And also my opt-in rates were through the roof for the entire week as well!).

And was it a good thing that Seth wrote about me….sure it was.  But…

Be Careful What You Wish For…

You know the old proverb about being careful what you wish for in case it comes true?  Well though it was cool that Seth wrote about me, it’s totally screwed up all my analytics data.  I’ve been working on improving conversion rates for both opt-ins and courses….and this has thrown all my raw data out of the window!

So three months of careful tracking of data has gone straight out of the window!

How Did I Get Seth To Write About Me?

I’ve had a few people email me who’ve basically said something like this:

“Hey, it was cool that you got Seth to write about you – how did you manage that?”

The answer is that I didn’t do anything.  Seth chose to write about me – the first I knew of it was when he sent a draft of the post for me to look over a couple of days before he ran the post.  So there’s nothing in this post that I can teach you or tell you about that might lead to getting featured by a superstar in your industry.

There Is A Lesson Though

There is a lesson from the post today though.  And that’s this – for most businesses you shouldn’t be chasing short term spikes or short term boosts.  If they happen naturally, then embrace them – but don’t invest time in trying to set them.

Instead invest your time in activities that create long term benefits for your business – create new content, create a new product, record video testimonials, test and track conversion rates.  You know what activities will generate the best leverage for your business….so focus on those activities and focus on building your business step by step.

If something like this happens to you….then yep, it’s kind of cool.  But focus on the tasks that generate leverage for you.  That’s where the real magic happens over time.

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