Alisa Bowman

Bauman Ink, Ltd - owner
Emmaus, PA

    How I broke my addiction to Google Analytics

    March 24, 2009

    No one, to my knowledge, has established a support group for people like me, but someone should. You see, ever since the initial weeks of blogging, I've been a traffic addict.


    It started with me begging my brother to activate Google Analytics on my blog. Because I did not initially have access to it, I called him daily to check my stats. I eventually annoyed him enough that he set it up for me on my computer so I could check on my own.


    At first I checked just once a day. Then I discovered that I could change the settings and see how my traffic was doing in real time. That's when I started checking multiple times a day.


    At my worst, I checked several times an hour. Seriously. Some people chain smoke. I chain screen refreshed.


    Several symptoms should have tipped me off that I had a problem. They included:

    • I felt forlorn and empty whenever I was away from my computer. When I wasn't checking Analytics, I was thinking about checking it.


    • When I checked and my traffic was up, I felt a rush.


    • When I checked and my traffic was down, I got r-e-a-l-l-y depressed. Like, "my husband is sleeping with my best friend" depressed.



    Still, I preferred denial. I joked about my addiction, as if it were cute and fashionable. Being addicted to Google Analytics was definitely not the same thing as being addicted to, say, horse racing. After all, it doesn't hurt anyone, and I can't lose my house while I'm doing it. Right?


    Well, sort of. My addiction probably hurt my daughter and husband, especially when they tried to talk to me and were met with the blank "I'm thinking about my traffic right now" stare.


    And I had plenty of days when I really should have been in a good mood, but I wasn't because my traffic wasn't living up to my predetermined high standards. For instance, a week or so ago, I had a great day by any normal person's standards. A profile about me and my site appeared in First, a national consumer magazine with a readership over 1 million. A large local healthcare publication ran a profile the same day. A reporter from a different consumer magazine emailed me out of the blue, saying that she'd found my blog and was wondering if I would mind providing some sex advice for an article.


    Um, I so didn't mind.


    A number of site goers really liked one of my blogs, too, and they emailed incredibly nice comments to me, comments like, "You have been sent from the heavens. I hear myself in you all the time. You are tapped into the heart and soul of women," and "I'm convinced that what you wrote is the secret to unlocking the universe."  


    I should have been on top of the world, but I wasn't. My traffic had been lower than usual, so I was obsessing about what I had done to scare off all of my readers. I assumed I'd offended then with my most recent blog entry, "Why nice girls finish unhappy."


    Seriously. I was in a bad, unhealthy, unreal place.


    So I said, "Self, this is enough. No more. You are not checking Analytics for an entire week."


    The first few minutes after that declaration were the toughest. I argued with myself, "Oh come on. I don't really have a problem. You are blowing this out of proportion. I'll just check real quick one last time...I won't? What? Come on. You are no fun! And a week is a really long time. How about an hour? Okay, how about a day?"


    As time went by, though, it got easier. I learned to focus on the positive. I learned to ban the thought of site traffic from my mind.


    Every once in a while, I had my moments of course. Usually, these struck at night, just before bed, when I had the thought, "Oh, just one quick check won't hurt anyone..."


    But I held firm. I really did. No lie.


    I made it six whole days. I gave in when I was on hold with my bank. I was just sitting at my desk, listening to hold music and staring at my computer screen. Before I even knew what I was doing, I'd used my one free hand to peck my Google Account user name and password into my keyboard.


    Oops. It was 24 hours too early, but I had been a really good girl up until that point, and the universe seemed to recognize that. It rewarded me.


    During my time away, my traffic had increased a whopping 55 percent. I had a huge, unexpected StumbleUpon spike that brought thousands of people to my site to read-get this-- "Why nice girls finish unhappy," the very blog that I'd written off a week before as offensive. No fewer than six people had reviewed the page on StumbleUpon, with one of them saying, "I will show this to my daughters and all the young women I know. I wish I had figured this out before I was 30."


    The spike brought me past the 10,000 milestone for monthly visitors, too.


    I allowed myself to feel good about hitting this milestone. I stared at my graph for a while, and then I closed out of Analytics for another week. I've blogged happily ever after ever since.


    Alisa Bowman blogs at ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com. If you like this entry, she's quite confident that you will love How to Face Your Biggest Fear. If you agree, tell all your friends about it. Review it on StumbleUpon. Post the link to your Facebook page. Do your part to ensure Alisa's next experience with Google Analytics is a positive one.

    Read Alisa's other blog entries >

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