Use Google Analytics
Google looks after my emails, my calendar and pretty much everything, so it stands to reason that I use them for all my website tracking and behavioural data. This means they can tell you who is looking at your site, where they are, what device they are using, where they found your site and even how long they spent on your site. They can also tell you which image sets are attracting interest and which ones aren’t.
The site is pretty easy to understand, but there are some pretty specialised tools to get your head around as well. If you really want to get the best out of GA, then spend some time on YouTube checking out the videos: it’s time you won’t regret. For example I discovered that 81% of the traffic for all social media was coming from Facebook with twitter, YouTube and Instagram coming in way behind. For me this served as a timely reminder to work on my Instagram interactions.
Another interesting way to interpret the data from GA is seeing which pages people are looking at and what devices they’re using to access them. It’s worth remembering that sites like Facebook try really hard to keep you inside their ecosphere. When I posted a link the other day I thought that no-one liked the image, as it had a very low interaction count on Facebook, but when I looked at data from GA, the post was quite popular. Counting Likes is not always a good way of tracking interaction or if something worked or not.
Via the Site Content and behaviour flow pages, I can tell that most people arrive to view one gallery, click to see one other gallery then leave the site. Less than 10% view more than three pages on the site. One of the most important stats for me is that 65% of visitors are using a mobile device to view the site. This means that I really have to make sure the site loads fast for those using mobile data and that it also works well for touch screen devices. Luckily for me SmugMug uses the hyperfast AWS EC2 A1 service with Local CDNs to ensure that my images are loaded fast and at the resolution that’s best for the viewing device.
Another plus for me is that there’s a SmugMug app linking directly to Lightroom, which means that I just drag and drop to edit and change galleries on the website. All the images on my site are uploaded full res and SmugMug, via AWS, handles everything else. Gone are the days where you had to export for web and then upload to a site.
Once an image is uploaded, if I want to make a change to it I can just do it in Lightroom, then