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WordPress® All-in-One For Dummies® by Michael Torbert, Andrea Rennick, Kevin Palmer, Cory Miller, Lisa Sabin-Wilson

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Understanding the Importance of Analytics

I have an undergraduate degree in History, and I went to grad school for Digital Media Studies. This tells you that, besides the fact I targeted two worthless degrees, I'm not a fan of math and have avoided collegiate degrees that involve any type of math courses. In fact, I avoid math like my 7-year-old nephew avoids vegetables. People's eyes glaze over when they hear the word analytics followed by stats, any type of percentages, and anything that sounds like accountant-speak.

However, you should view analytics not as a bunch of numbers, but as a tool set that tells a story. It can tell you how people are finding your content, what content is most popular, and where users are sharing that content. Knowing what type of content is popular, where your site is popular (in which time zones, countries and states, for example), and even what time of day your posts get more readers is all pretty valuable information. Understanding your audience's interest in your content, as well as preferences for when and how to read your content, is important.

At one point in my life, I had a pretty popular humor blog. Through studying analytics and reactions to my content, I figured out that if I posted my blog between 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. EST, my posts garnered the most comments and got the most traffic throughout the day. When I posted after noon, my blog got about half as many comments and half as much traffic over a 24-hour period. Additionally, I ...

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