Changing metrics tell a story, but you have to understand what makes the numbers move so you can tell that story.

For example, if you are writing Web headlines and posting your article links on Twitter and Facebook, you can see whether your efforts are working if your referral traffic is up. But don’t you want to know why? Here are some next steps:

  • Identify what your top articles are from search, top articles from social and top from other websites. Compare the Web headlines you put on the articles and the social oomph you gave them.
  • See which search queries (of the small percentage you can still see) drew readers to your articles and how those terms matched up with words used in your headline and article.
  • Did you use the same headline on Facebook and Twitter? Note the characteristics of the headlines and articles that seemed to do best.
  • Did other sites link to your stories? What is their target audience? Keep them in mind for next time.

Taken from Analytics 101: Understanding Digital Metrics, a self-directed course by Teresa Schmedding, John Schlander, Travis Siebrass, Steve Buttry and Vidisha Priyanka at Poynter NewsU.

Take the full course