I apologize for the long break in what was supposed to be a series of monthly posts (Ode to the ODE). Part of the problem has been Life. I’ve had a busy year professionally and an even busier year personally: six weeks of travelling, my second move in a year and a beautiful new grandson. To say it’s been hard to keep up with volunteer commitments is an understatement.
If I’m being honest, though, Life is not the only reason for the long delay. The other reason, I belatedly realized after months of rationalizing why Other People seem to manage volunteer commitments better than I do, is that I ended my first post with the promise that, next time, I’d dive into Google Analytics — which meant I was going to have to do some research into Technical Things. That thought alone was enough to make me break into a cold sweat.
I learned a little about Google Analytics a couple of years ago while doing a six-week digital marketing boot camp. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow it up with much in the way of on-the-ground practice, so while I’m not starting from scratch, I need to relearn a lot. If you’ve read this far without rolling your eyes and clicking away, you may also be familiar with TechnoTerror—it knows no bounds and is not rational.
So finally, last month, after I realized it was not just Life getting in the way of this task, I set aside a day to research Google Analytics. I did pretty well, finding and watching a YouTube tutorial that I highly recommend and taking detailed notes.
But somewhere along the line, a couple of things occurred to me. First, I came up with the idea for this series during the early months of the pandemic, when I had time on my hands and the new Editors Canada website was still a dream without funding or a timeline. Learning to use data analytics on the old Online Directory of Editors (ODE) still made sense. Over two years later, the new website is set to launch by the end of this month. So now we’re talking about learning to use analytics on the new ODE.
Second, and this is really embarrassing, not all data analytics are Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a standalone app that one can install on one’s website to track data on all the pages of that website. It is not, as I pictured it, a place one can go on the web to enter any URL and get statistics on visits to that particular page.
My next step was to contact the website task force to find out what sort of data analytics the new website will have for ODE users. Will the new website use Google Analytics or another analytics app (as I now know, there are dozens, and they focus on analyzing many different types of data, ranging from business productivity to social networking statistics), or will it have its own built-in analytics capacity?
The short answer is: they don’t know yet, but as soon as they do, they’ll let me know.
My first thought on learning that was: crap! I’ve totally wasted my time and now I feel like a bumbling fool. But then it occurred to me that, if I’m out there making bumbling mistakes, I’m probably not the only one. And if making my mistakes publicly can help someone else feel less embarrassed about their mistakes, I haven’t actually wasted my time.
And I promise that, very soon after the new website is up and running, I will find out what sort of data analytics I will be able to use to measure how well my ODE listing is doing as I add all the things the new website will allow me to add.
Previous post from Lynne Melcombe: Ode to the ODE: Is a Listing in the Online Directory of Editors Worthwhile?
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