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WordPress.com and WordPress.org are from the same parent company, but there are some major differences separating the two. Put simply, WordPress.org provides more freedom while WordPress.com provides more support. WordPress.com is hosted and provides you with a dedicated server so the traffic managing, spam blocking, security and even networking are taken care of.
It's a fantastic option if you aren’t that PHP/HTML savvy or if the traffic on your site will be fluctuating. (WordPress.com’s support keeps it from crashing due to an influx.) However, because you cannot manipulate a lot of things on the back end of your site the opportunity for radical customization is lost.
WordPress.org allows you to upload themes or templates, so you’re not starting with a completely blank space. But you can customize your code: a blank canvas for someone technically-minded. WordPress.org is not hosted. So while it's a free service, you would have to independently find hosting and pay for it. WordPress.org can also be less secure as you are responsible for combating spam.
Both .com and .org are social. With WordPress.com you can find other blog owners with similar ideas and WordPress.org provides community support forums and mailing lists. These tools are important for generating more traffic to your blog – something everyone wants.
Once the new traffic is gained it is important that you monitor and record it. The free plugin Google Analytics for WordPress efficiently provides that support. You can manipulate just about all of the data that Google analytics gives you in order to analyze how users are interacting with your site. Installation is easy and the program is straightforward. Within your WordPress site delete any existing gapp or google-analytics-for-WordPress folder from the/wp-content/plugins/ directory. Next users should upload the google-analytics-for-WordPress folder to the /wp-content/plugins/directory and activate the plugin through the "Plugins" menu in WordPress. Finally, navigate to the "options" panel under the "Settings" menu and add your Analytics account number. Specify the settings you prefer. Enjoy.
Google Analytics not only collects all of your site traffic data but also compiles it. Graphs, tables and diagrams are all relevant and readable. You can select filters as specific as “ignore any user level and up,” which allows you only to look at editor activity. Or you can track meta data on pages like “publication year.” Aside from result-filtering, Google Analytics also provides AdSense integration, Ad Manager integration, Contact Form integration, Mediacaster integration, Newsletter Manager integration, 404 error and outbound link tracking, Search tracking, Domain-wide tracking and Custom event tracking.
The data it reports is also well-labeled, so users new to Analytics can understand what the information means. Here, the blog owner can see that %13.19 of her/his traffic leaves after the first page. He/she could figure out where that 13.19% is coming from and better cater to them.
But once you get traffic data, how do use it? Well, the more you know about how people interact with the site the better. So keep poking around. Manipulate the data. View specifications like "unique page views" and "time on page." Monitor traffic before you put up a new post. Once you publish something new tweet the link and see how many people bite. You can wait a few days and then Facebook it to gauge effects. Reddit, Google + and Digg are powerful tools, too. See which social media platform grabs you the most views. Paying attention to when you post something can help you manipulate the amount of sharing that happens, too. For example, a business news article may get more views in the morning while a gaming article can still gain a lot of traffic at 2AM. Once you find patterns in your posts, optimize your timing.
Maps, charts and graphs help to determine where traffic is coming from and, therefore, how to target it. Here, the blog owner sees that most of her/his traffic comes from the San Francisco area.
Once you've figured out the best time and place to link your blog make your next few posts cover different topics. Doing this will reveal your readership. Do the people visiting your blog love your new scone recipe (many visits, all spending time on the page)? Do they completely skip the article about your son? Being able to see where your traffic comes from is also important. Knowing that many of your views came from your link on a sewing blog means that you should cater to them with crafty content. Consider finding other sewing blogs for which to write. Understanding that most of your traffic lives in the San Francisco area, however, would hint that focusing on a Frisco event could bring more traffic.
Managing and understanding the traffic that visits your site is crucial to recognizing your audience and seeing how to best engage them in the future, both to maintain interest and encourage more traffic. By catering to your traffic you may have a completely different blog on your hands than the one you started. This is fine; many blogs go through transitions as trends circulate the Internet. Google Analytics’ precise record-keeping is beneficial to anyone with a WordPress.org site who wants to increase effectiveness and reach.