Tech Talks – Understanding Google Analytics

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In my previous series we talked about Understanding SEO and how to successfully implement it on your blog. This month we’ll talk about Google Analytics and get to see our SEO and keywords in action. As a disclaimer I mention that some of the things are geared towards WordPress, since I don’t have a blogger account to screenshot from, but these things are fairly easy to integrate no matter what your blog is.

Let’s start with the basics.. what is Google Analytics? It’s a free tool (FREE!!!) to analyze your website/blog traffic, where the traffic is coming from (referrals), conversions (if you are selling) as well as other detailed statistics. Since my target audience is mostly in the non-selling category, I won’t go into much detail on that on this post. But feel free to email me if you’re curious on that). Setting up GA is easy, many of you already have installed it and have it up and running on your blog, but if you haven’t you can follow these steps.

1- Create an account if you have not already.
2.- Setup your google property (website address, user id)

3.- Get your tracking code. If you forgot where your code is, you can find it by logging in to www.google.com/analytics, select admin on the top menu bar. Under the second column (property) click on tracking info, then tracking code . It should look something like this.

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You will want to copy everything inside the editable box starting from < script > and ending at < / script >.

You’re next and final step on installing GA is to place this script in the header of your blog. Some blog themes come with a specific box that allows you to place the script in it so you don’t have to tinker around with any PHP files. If yours in particular doesn’t have that you can do the following.

1. – Log in to your wordpress dashboard

2.- Select Appearance, then Editor

3. – Under Templates (right hand side) select header and wait for the page to refresh.

4. – Paste your code before the closing head tag < / head >

Screenshot for reference

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You completed the install. Look at you all techified!

Now comes the good part. Looking up your stats.

Logging on to your dashboard you’ll come across the Audience Overview screen. It can be tailored to your specifics but in general it should look like this.

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This is a general idea of what your visits constitute on a monthly basis. Sessions, Users and Page/Views on this particular page do not count as an individual hit or ip. Meaning that if Becky landed on my site 3 times in the past month, these numbers are registering Becky 3 times instead of just once (unique). If I wanted to take a detailed look at my unique visitors and page views, head on over to Behavior – Overview and you’ll get something like this

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As you can see a total of 3,047 unique users took a look at 3,436 pages on my site, along with the top 10 pages.

There’s just so much you can go with GA that if I went on a detailed adventure this post would probably take ages to finish, so we’ll head on over to what bloggers are most interested at. Keywords and Referrals.

The easiest way to look at Referrals is by clicking on All Traffic or Referrals, but I like to get a little bit more detailed information like where (link) is my referral coming from and to where on my site is it pointed to. To get this, Under the Behavior tab, click on Site Content and then Landing page. In this instance, landing page means exactly that.. the page where the user is landing on. Now to get the referral link, under secondary dimension, select full referral.

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Now you’re page should look like this

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As you can see a lot of my referral for the past month was thanks to Heather. (Hay gurl thanks)

Another detailed overview of your referral activities can be found under Social (again under acquisition).

Network referrals lists all the social networks where links to your website have been broadcasted. By adding shared URL on the secondary dimension you can see in detail the link shared and the Social Network.

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Trackbacks are also a good thing to look at, but this one is a little bit self explanatory and probably the cleanest (less amount of data) way to look at where certain landing pages (unique urls of your blogposts) are being linked from.

For keywords, you can go about it two different ways. Under Acquisitions, you can choose keywords and organic (unless you are paying for adwords) and view all of the keywords that people are searching to land on your site. But of course, I like to get a little bit more analytical and I prefer to use the new SEO option under Acquisition. Under Search Engine Optimization (which is an integration of webmasters tools) I can get information like impression, clicks, and average position for keyword.

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In less geek talk what this means that for the first keyword (Love Lola).. it appeared in the search results 200 times and out of these 200 times 5 people clicked on it to get to my website.

One of the most important things to look at on GA is Technology & Mobile (both under Acquisitions). It’s important to see what platform users are using to view your blog and what browser as well. Sometimes themes aren’t tested throughout all browsers and you could potentially lose a lot of users because the browser they happen to use gives them an error or the styling is off. If a lot of users are coming to your site via mobile and tablet, it’s a good idea to have a mobile version of your website activated. These days, almost all blog themes have a responsive design integrated, but there are also a few good plugins that allow you to design a simple mobile/tablet design if your blog theme doesn’t have one.

Again, there is so much more that you can do with Google Analytics, like reporting and setting up goals (my fav) but this is just the basics and hopefully an insightful way to view traffic and keywords and understand where people that land on your blog are coming from.

Hammer Time

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If last weekend was about being active, this one was mostly staying indoors. After having my IUD put in, there was nothing I wanted to do except be in my wool socks, PJs, and in front of the TV with my cozy blanket binging on James Spader. I won’t go into details about the procedure because I don’t want to scare off any ladies looking to get it implanted. When I mean spending the weekend indoors, I really meant it. But being inside your house from friday to sunday has it’s advantages. Sewing sewing sewing!! I still can’t believe I managed to make 2 outfits, yes two. I might as well have been channeling Lauren. Lately my sewing mission has been to carefully construct garments, so it was a surprised that not only was I was able to finish 4 different pieces but that the insides looked exactly as I wanted them to. No mistakes here.

 

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The minute I saw the Hudson Pants, I knew that before I made them in to sweats, I absolutely needed to make these in woven. My first attempt was a no-go and this time around I realized exactly what went wrong. I NEVER READ INSTRUCTIONS. Had I paid attention and read the seam allowance was 3/8 instead of 5/8, there would’ve been a perfect pair of blush crepe de chine hudson pants on my body. My first pair I went up to a size 6 but felt like I really wanted to channel an 80′s feel so I went up about a gazillion sizes. Which I have to say scared me a bit before I put on the waistband because they looked clownish. Waistband later, I did end up taking in another 3/8ths and still debating if I should take in a smidgen more. The ankles aren’t as tapered as I’d like them to be. Given that I went up so many sizes I didn’t need to adjust the ankle as Kelly explains in her woven tutorial.

I think I’ve discussed more than once how much I needed a breton shirt in my wardrobe, especially since I’m starting to shape it into a more basics and lasting items. In the Gertie Sews Vintage Modern book, there’s a boatneck variation top that screamed make me now gurl! With no choice but to listen, I used up my striped fabric from Girl Charlee that I bought with the gift certificate from winning Heather’s Nettie Challenge.

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I really love the black and white ensemble with the gold wedge sneakers. I feel like an urban Audrey Hepburn back in the beatnik days. The cotton sateen had me a little worried since it wasn’t drapey enough, but it actually looks really good. The pocket details are pleather (even though you can’t totally notice). For the first time in history I finished off my hem on the t-shirt.

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Sweater Twopiecesetascular + Other Updates

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Over the weekend I was asked to be a fitness model for Nike’s Designed to move campaign. I have not slept all weekend and my body hurts. I don’t know why I decided to stay up so late friday and watch TV but then had to make it to Battery Park, where we were photographed doing running poses and stretches and casually pretending to chit-chat with our fitness buddies. I was asked to come back sunday at 6am to the Highline to do a few running shots, which took 3 hours. By the time I got home my Jawbone had informed me that I was well over my 10,000 daily steps and somewhere around 5miles. 5 MILES IN RUNNING OUTTAKES. Anyways, the photographer was amazing and apparently really good since he does stuff for Deadliest Catch and Nat Geo. I’ll get to see the pictures sometime soon, but apparently in a Nike agreement, he can only give us outtakes

When I got home, instead of sleeping, I decided to fuel up on coffee and sew myself a two piece setascular item in the spirit of Sophie. I’ve been seeing everyone’s amazing two sets and instead of opting for the trend of crop top and bottom, I decided to invert it and create a sweater skirt set. After all, it’s supposed to be winter. But someone please let New York know because the weather says we’ll be experiencing some low 80s.

I was contacted by Cat Morely, owner of http://www.cutoutandkeep.net, to be featured on their DIY Fashionista section, to which the sweater set would be a perfect item to display. Did you know that Google Adsense made a case study video of her and her partner. Pretty freaking amazeballs.

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For the sweater I chose the Lane Raglan by Hey June. I chose a size S and no alterations were done other than 3/4 sleeves. I probably should have taken about an inch in length so that it hit directly at my hip bone, but it’s really no big deal. I could’ve opted for the XS, but I like the loosey goosey feel of it. Having sewn the SJ tee and other raglans I didn’t bother to read instructions. However I was a little curious as to why there was no different sizing options for the neckband. Obviously my tired photoshoot self didn’t question this and then realized too late that the neck binding was a guestimation and I ended up one of those collars that bug the fuck out you because they decide they do what they want except lie flat. But then I was like well why didn’t I didn’t read the instructions. There’s a note on there about the binding. However, I wouldn’t mind it if instead of the neck binding there were calculations in the instruction that said if you’re a size S cut 34 inches, etc.  I’m just too lazy to have to figure this out on my own, although I get that every knit is different and their stretch capacity changes.  After furiously unpicking (about half an episode of The Black List), I measured the opening of my neck and cut a binding that was 10% less the circumference. Much happier now! Other than the neck binding rant, I really love the pattern and I have a royal blue sweatshirt material that is being made into another one of these.. perhaps in hip hugging form? Who knows.. I’m feeling risky. But I have to say that between the SJ and the Lane.. I’m rooting for the Lane

The knit skirt in the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book was a perfect compliment for my sweater. It’s high waisted and supposed to be below the knee, but I couldn’t picture myself in all this flower power realness. Plus I felt that a shorter length would balance out the high waistness of the skirt and obviously the top, whenever I chose to wear them both.. like today. I serged the waistband to the top, folded down and then top stitched it with my new top stitch needle. Not sure how I like it but whatever. I can always go back to an unpicking frenzy and then slip stitch it like I did the hem.

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Now let’s talk about reading depth of field when you’re trying to set your camera on timer. It’s awful. It’s the worst. My boyfriend suggested I use my dress form as I stand in while I setup, but now that I’m past feeling anxious about street takes, the last thing I need is to lug around a dress form and add to the circus act. I’ve tried extending my long-ass arms and then standing in, but my arms aren’t as long as I think they are. I’ve been looking at remotes for my T2i, but in the meantime you know how they say

Fake it til you make it?

Well guess what.. I’m faking my depth of field in Photoshop. I mean Beyonce fakes her thigh gap and Kim Kardashian makes her but bigger, so why not? If you have steady hands, which I don’t but 10 plus years of using the pen tool on PS and IL, have given me the gift of having steady hands only for that… you can use the lasso to cut the scenery around yourself up to at about 3/4 of where you end and then use the lens blur to create a soft background blur. It’s magic. You’re welcome.

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Cloud 9 & Sew Mama Sew Challenge: Bow Tie Blouse

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Nothing makes me happier than receiving beautiful fabric, especially before it’s release date to test out. When Kristin at SewMamaSew sent out a call for submissions I immediately jumped onboard and was more than excited about being chosen. Think of it as another early birthday gift. Cloud 9 released a new collection called Wildwood, a series of beautifully printed quilted weight cotton. I chose the Deco Petal print in Navy. I thought that it would be a great time to finally complete the bow tie blouse from my copy of Gertie’s book for better sewing patterns, seeming as for as long as I’ve had the book, finishing all the patterns was on my to do list. I went with a size 4 and made a few adjustments. It seems that the pattern is made for bustier types or there is just too much room on top and then tapers down, so I took off a good inch on each side from the sleeve tapering down to the bust dart. I chose to lengthen the blouse as well to be able to wear tucked out.

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The construction of the blouse was pretty easy and straight forward. The button band was interfaced with a heavier interfacing since the buttons are kind of big, but I absolutely love the buttons and thing they give the blouse a great vintagey feel. Deciding to step out of my comfort zone, these pictures were taken outside as opposed to my backyard. I still have to get over people looking by as I set up my tripod and automatic timer… I’m not sure if they think I’m vain but I just wanted to keep shouting out “I MADE THIS SO I NEED TO PHOTOGRAPH IT!!” this is not an OOTD kind of thing..

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Funny Story…..

Sometimes I like to leave things to the last minute, and of course this wasn’t an exception. It was thursday morning and as I went to hem the sleeves the needle on my machine broke and part of it fell inside. Since similar things have happened and my machine has been ok with it, I preceded to change the needle and continue on… well I guess the needle fell underneath the bobbin so the machine jammed up. Late for work I decided that I would continue it when I got home right before changing and heading out to my birthday dinner. My best friend in the whole wide world surprised me at work and took me out for a few pear martinis. Boy..by the time I get home, I’m drunk as a skunk trying my best to figure out what’s wrong with my machine. I panic and start taking the needle plate and bobbin cover thing out and since I don’t know what I’m doing and there’s alcohol in me I seriously thought I effed up my machine. I had to get a replacement off of craigslist (thank you craigslist, love you lots) and run to the Queens Center mall on my lunch break. By the time I got home friday, I was able to fix my machine in 2 minutes. Moral of the story.. don’t tinker with your machine when you’re drunk..k?

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Cloud 9 fabrics are going to be my go to fabric for cotton because of their wonderful designs and also being organic. I was introduced to the brand when I received a complimentary 2 yards of their Palos Verde collection. Now I just want to be their spokesperson brand ambassador. SEND ME MORE CLOUD 9!! SEND ME ALL THEEEE FABRICS!!

Obviously I wasn’t the only one to model and blog about this lovely fabric. So go ahead and please check out the other ladies who made some wonderful stuff as well

Kirsty Cleverly from Bonjour Quilts

Elizabeth Singler from Mamma Can Do It

Jennifer Waaraniemi from lea  & lars

Heidi Staples from fabric mutt

Ren Murphy from The Inspired Wren

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September Recap : Gertie’s New Book, Fall Wardrobe & Goodbye to my Twenties

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Whenever the weather seems to cool down and transition into fall, I find myself slowing down a bit more mentally as well as physically. It seems that I’m much more exhausted and it takes double the energy to produce something as opposed to the summer months and the hypomania that the warmth of the sun brings. With Fall however comes the possibility of transitioning into a new wardrobe. Today marks the final day of my twenties and I’ve been giving a lot of thought on style and staple pieces. The wonderful thing about sewing is that you have endless possibilities to shape your style and curate a closet to your liking. As I turn thirty, I’ve been interested in more somber colors, simple staples and structured silhouettes. My dining room table is stacked high with fabrics just waiting to become F/W staples. Getting my inspiration from Runway and RTW, I get ecstatic whenever I find sewing patterns that match what I have in mind.

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With a heavier weight heathered knit and the Hey June Lane Ranglan pattern, this Proenza Schuler cropped sweater is top of the recreating list.

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The McCall’s 6531 Utility Jacket is the perfect substitute for a $1K Burberry jacket (no shade Burberry, because if I had the money lying around I’d mop this up in a second)

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In the spirit of comfort I’ve been contemplating dropping the crotch on black staple trousers and I think the Suzy Pants by Tessuti would be the perfect pattern to adapt this to. I know the pattern calls for flowy fabric but I like pushing the norms and see if I can get away with this with a cotton sateen. After Kelli released her Hudson Pants pattern there’s been a flurry of trackpants as pants on the fashion world from Old Navy to Zara to Phillip Lam and you besta believe that I already have the pattern pieces cut up to do these in 3 variations. Crepe de Chine woven, of course in sweatpants, and as leather track shorts (the club can’t even handle me right now).

Nothing speaks to me more than a sweater dress, and since I don’t ever finish knitting and I recently discovered that you can buy sweater weight knit.. I will be cozying on up in a few variations of the sweater dress. My first thought was to use the coco pattern, but to be honest I’m not a fan of the flare of the dress and I guess I can trace my beloved HM sweater dress that I have lying around.   When Katy and Laney released their tap pattern, my mind instantly thought for the months ahead and how those pleats would werk it as longer pants. Well thank you Alexander McQueen for reaching into my brain and figuring it all out. Dark blue plaid maybe?

So expect more pieces popping up on here in grays, blacks, darks and neutrals.

 

Sometime around the beginning last year when I took the Portrait Blouse class by Gertie, she hinted that she was working on her book and I COULD NOT WAIT until it finally came out and I could get my hands on it. People I have been waiting 2 years for this. Immediately when Amazon allowed you to preorder it I did and it arrived yesterday just in time for my Birthday. I guess I could think of it as a early birthday gift from Gertie to Me.. or me to me.. whatever. The book is actually a lot better than the first one in my opinion. There’s chapters devoted to knits and also on pattern alteration. What I love the most is that the sewing patterns in the second one, as the name states, are more casual than Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. Now let’s all gag on the images in the book.

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What I’m really enjoying is all the variations of the original patterns as well as being able to mix-match the bodices with the bottom pieces.

 

Let it be known that I am more than excited to try out these two patterns. Cigarette Pants! Shift Dresses!!! This is all I need in my life.

While I personally hate cardigans, I love that she included a variation to it. I could probably see myself trying this out in boucle with a more boxy silhouette. My only complaint again is that the pattern pieces aren’t tissue, but as Gertie explained to us at the class, the cost to print the patterns in tissue paper would be more than substantial. Anyways Happy Birthday to me.

Lastly in the spirit of Birthday, I say goodbye to a decade of self discovery. Of a time to figure out who I was, what I wanted to be, and how to be me with a purpose.  My twenties have been a series of ups and downs and I am grateful for all 10 years of it. I have travelled the world and made lasting friendships. I’ve gotten my heart broken so many times that now my body and mind knows how to pick myself up and keep going. There have been unimaginable goals that I’ve attained like running for miles and climbing mountains. The endless party nights and strings of OKCupid dates. This is when I finally decided to take my daydream of sewing and turn it into something more than just a dream. I thought that I would be sad to turn 30, but I’m anticipating so many great things to come. I couldn’t possibly imagine ending my twenties on such a great note. A job that I’m comfortable in, finally settling into my own apartment, and having a partner that loves me and allows me to grow exponentially.. And as I make way into a more mature and stable decade, I can’t help but welcome my thirties and everything that will come with it.