Your site is setup with Google Analytics, a robust reporting tool from Google.
Your SNO site has Google Analytics built right into its dashboard, which you can access by clicking on SNO Analytics. From that control panel, you can see an overview of your site stats based on date, you can view your most viewed stories, control your Trending Stories widget settings, and manage who has access to your Google Analytics account.
To add or remove someone from that access, toggle to the Google Analytics access tab and either add or remove Google Gmail email addresses. Although many school email addresses use Gmail, sometimes these are blocked by strict school or district restrictions. For this reason, we recommend using personal, non-school Gmail email addresses when adding them for access.
If you have access, just click the "Go to Google Analytics Dashboard" button to login at http://google.com/analytics where you can really dig into the nitty-gritty details of your site stats and analytics.
Generally speaking, you should be fine utilizing the reports found right in your SNO site's dashboard, but once you’re logged into Google Analytics you can start to navigate through the myriad options available to explore and manage your analytics. Google Analytics can be quite overwhelming at first glance, but eventually you should be able to locate the areas relevant to you, get there easily, and interpret the data quickly.
Use this link to learn more about how to use and read your Google Analytics.
Once logged into Google Analytics, you'll want to start exploring what's possible. We’ve outlined three main areas to pay attention to below, which will fast track you towards the analytics wonk you are. These sections are called Audience, Acquisition, and Behavior, which can all be found under Reporting.
Audience is your, well, Audience! Click on Audience Overview to see the most helpful stats, such as number of users and pageviews per a given time period. Are most of your beloved readers mobile visitors? Are your visitors brand new or returning readers (aim for a 50/50 split)? The Audience section will tell you.
The Acquisition section displays how visitors are reaching your site. Common ways audiences access your content are through direct traffic (or knowing your URL by heart), organic search (thanks Google), Referral from another website, and Social Media. This will let you know what you should be focusing on in terms of promotion; aim for Social Media, Direct Traffic, and Organic Search to be the top three.
Finally, the Behavior section displays, you guessed it, the behavior of your visitors! This would include which stories get the most hits, which pages are being viewed most often (or least often!), and what kind of content seems to drive readers to your site. What’s so great about the Behavior section is that you can determine what your readers care about most, as well as break that information down per day, week, or month.
How to Increase Readership?
Of course the first thing a site needs to create viewership is content worth viewing, but once you have great stories, photos and video, these tips can help boost the number of people who see frequent your site.
- Publish often. Put a new story up regularly — every day even — so readers keep coming back.
- Go online first. Why wait for the next print edition? Update your audience immediately. They’ll turn to you first next time news breaks.
- Cover comprehensively, and publish when ready. Determine the publication date that makes the most sense. For example, cover the school play auditions, rehearsals, promotional period, opening night and cast party. Plan coverage so interested people will return again and again.
- Don’t just dump your content. Think about having a primary and possibly a few secondary stories each day. That comes to 40-50 stories a month, the same as most monthly print editions with two or three stories per staff member.
- Stagger deadlines. WordPress allows you to schedule the publication dates. Copy the short links and schedule your social media posts in advance, too. Make this the job of a staff member such as website manager or social media editor.
- Campaign for followers. Get the word out around school (and the community) that you have a various social media accounts. Challenge your staff to gather a certain number of “likes” and reward them when they do.
- Publish content that engages your audience. Sometimes the story about the funny story about the most eligible freshman may not seem very journalistic, but you’d be surprised how many folks will read the humorous story because it is funny and then click over to the more serious journalism on your site.
- Promote the new stories through social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), to build a broad audience.
When promoting stories on social media, consider these hints to create more posting power:
- Describe the story being published, not just the headline.
- Use hashtags, so the story will show up in search.
- Schedule the posts or tweets to appear when the audience is checking — probably afternoon and evening times.
- Get your staff to retweet and share — make it a contest.
- Occasionally repost a “best of” or “ICYMI” (in case you missed it) to remind visitors of content they might not have seen.