Creating the perfect (trackable) blog article
Tracking RSS blog feeds presents a problem for on-site web analytics tools such Omniture, WebTrends and Google Analytics. Why? Because as the name suggests, on-site web analytics tools measure visitor activity whilst on your web site and so cannot track activity that happens off site.
For example, consider the following scenario: A visitor arrives on your site and likes the blog content so much they decide to subscribe. All activity – from the visitor arriving, viewing pages and then subscribing to your feed is tracked. Note, that even though a RSS subscription usually takes place off-site e.g. to feedburner.com, this can still be tracked using the virtual pageview technique (you could also use event tracking to capture this information). This provides you with an indicator as to the interest of your RSS content. That is, the number of subscribers. All well and good.
However, so far this has all been on-site visitor activity, so it does not tell you what happens next…
Now that your visitor has subscribed, there is no need for them to re-visit your web site when you post your next article. Instead, they simply receive your content in their RSS reader and may never visit you again! Because reading an RSS feed happens off your website, you are not able to track this activity. You will not know if subscribers are reading or engaging with your content.
And that is the problem – your RSS subscribers can read your content, enjoy it (have great engagement, or not) and you will be totally unaware of one of your most important visitor types – your influencers. Unless that is, you make the following changes…
Tracking RSS viewers (using Google Analytics)
Although this example uses Google Analytics, the same technique can be applied to any on-site web analytics tool. Essentially, there are two important parts to creating a trackable blog feed:
- Crafting the article to entice RSS click-throughs – so they can be tracked on your site
- Crediting these to your feed using filters – to highlight RSS in your reports