Have I mentioned that I love Google Analytics? You can learn so much about your site from the data they give you.
Did you know that you can also use Google Analytics to help you build your blog community? Here’s how:
Find Your Trackbacks in Analytics
Log in to Google Analytics. (I’m assuming you already have Analytics set up on your site. If you don’t, it’s pretty simple to do and they walk you through it pretty well. However, if you get stuck, email me using my contact form at the top of this page and I’ll help you get it working.)
Click on your blog’s website data. Choose Traffic Sources, then Social, then Trackbacks.
Trackbacks are basically backlinks to your site. If someone links to your site in their blog or on their website, it will show up here. Links generated by the CommentLuv plugin will also show up here, so don’t get confused if you see a lot of those. That just means you’re getting the benefit of the backlinks.
You can see if anyone’s used that link to click through to your site. You can also click the “More” button on the right to view the page on your site that was linked to, or view the actual Trackback.
Use Trackbacks to Build Community
How does this help build community? You can make it a habit to check your Trackbacks periodically. Use the View Trackback option under the More button to visit any trackbacks you’ve got. If you can, leave a comment thanking the person for linking to your blog. If at all possible, add to the discussion they’ve got going on.
By doing this, you develop connections with other bloggers. You also get a chance to show the readers on other blogs that you know your stuff and are approachable.
What if you don’t have any trackbacks yet?
You can’t force someone to link to you. Well, you could, but it would probably require various unethical or even illegal activities that I just don’t recommend. Bribery is only an option if you have a big budget.
I feel like I ought to put a smiley face at the end of that paragraph or something. I was just kidding, folks. Really.
Barring threats, bribery, or blackmail, here’s what I’d suggest: Link to other people when you have an opportunity. If you feel like it, drop them a comment and say, “Hey, I loved this article and shared it with my readers here.” Write really good posts about topics that are useful to your readers. And then, the big step: don’t worry about it. It’s out of your control.
But if you do get trackbacks? Don’t hesitate to drop in, say thanks, and add to the conversation where you can.
Do you check your trackbacks? If so, do you ever drop in to the linking blog and say thanks? What about linking to other blogs? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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