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How To Create a Web Site Bat Signal With Google Custom Alerts

Bat SignalI typically check my Google Analytics every morning as part of my daily ritual.  Since the reports are only updated daily, it lets me know whether anything out the ordinary happened the day before.  A few weeks ago, I went two days without checking them and as you can probably guess, I completely missed a massive two-day event.

When I did finally check my stats on Friday, I saw something like this from Wednesday and Thursday (note that this screen shot was taken several weeks later):

Web Analytics Graph

Click image for full size.

Naturally, my eyes popped out of my head at the ten times spike in traffic.  The next step was to figure out what happened, which was fairly obvious.  Looking at the traffic sources told me immediately what had happened; my page “Create a Compelling Resume Online With WordPress” been Stumbled Upon.  But I essentially slept through the whole party and missed the fun.  It caused me to take a closer look at Google Analytics and see if there was something I could do to prevent this in the future and it turns out there is.

Creating Custom Alerts In Google Analytics

Every web profile you create in Google Analytics automatically includes built in Alert Templates in their Intelligence feature.  The only problem is that they don’t send out email alerts and you can’t configure them to do so.  There is a solution, however.  You can create Custom Alerts and configure them to send email alerts.  To start out, you can simply expand the list and click the “Copy” link to easily create a custom alert.

Setting up Custom Alerts in Google Analytics

Click on image for full size

Once the full set of alerts is configured, you can easily import the entire list into any other web profiles.  Just go to the Intelligence page for the other profile, and click on the “Import Alerts from other profiles” link.  And you’re done!

Now What?

So other than the dopamine rush from knowing that your blog post is getting high traffic, what good will it do knowing this?  What would I have done had I known?  Well, there are a couple of things you can do to take advantage.  ProBlogger Darren Rowse provides some ideas on how to leverage one of these incidents in his post, “How to Surf Blog Traffic Tsunamis.”  One is to leverage the traffic to build blog subscribers by creating a custom call to action within the post.  I could have put a link in the middle of the post that said, “If you find this article useful, consider subscribing!”  Another option is to increase the prominence of ads, if you’re monetizing your blog in such a manner.  Finally, and probably most importantly, it gives you an opportunity to author a related post that will get visitors to spend more time on your site and keep the momentum going as much as possible.

So go ahead and create those custom alerts and sleep well.

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