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Annual Analytics Offer Most Important Insights

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Annual analytics

Annual website analytics are the most important and most insightful analytics for all site publishers.

Website analytic fanatics such as myself easily get caught up in how a day, week or month did compared to the previous day, week or month.

But looking at a full year and comparing it to the previous year is a great way to compensate for short-term anomalies. They include weather, vacations, holidays, economic changes and other factors that may increase or decrease traffic compared to previous weekly or monthly analytics.

Yearly analytics may reveal pleasant surprises. They are a lot more fun than the unpleasant ones.

For example, I knew this site was having a good year. But I didn’t realize until the end of the year and compared it to the previous one that it had a 22 percent increase in audience and a 16 percent increase in Google AdSense advertising revenue.

Good and Bad News in Yearly Analytics

Good news about an entire year in site analytics is motivation for an online publisher to reflect on the possible causes. They cover a wide territory such as more frequent postings, longer postings, better search engine optimization, backlinks and the many other factors that have a positive impact on site results.

Unfortunately, bad news about an entire year also is motivation for publishers to figure out what went wrong (if they don’t know already).

As I mentioned above, a publisher might jump to the conclusion that several periods throughout the year such as summer, November and December have shown a surprising drop in audience. Comparing those periods to the year before may reveal some easy answers: summer vacations and winter holidays.

If those periods are lower than the same periods of the previous year, they indicate deeper problems at work.

When to Compare Site Analytics

For business and corporate reporting, the obvious time for publishers to analyze and compare annual analytics is at the end of the year. But any month-end also is a good time for comparisons.

Most professional online publishers post and distribute audience numbers at least monthly if not weekly. Weekly of course is better because it keeps audience performance top of mind.

Anyone who posts monthly numbers should find it helpful to post how the month did not just compared to the previous month but also to the same month a year ago. Actually, the month of the previous year is more important than just the previous month. It is a much more accurate apples-to-apples comparison.

Likewise, publishers will find more insights by reporting the last 12 months at the end of each month and comparing it to the full 12 months of the previous year.

There is no need to wait until December 31 to find out how the year ended or how it did compared to the previous year. Just do it every month.

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