I've blogged before about the importance of a writer having a platform, what a platform is, and how to build one but I've never talked specifically about the value of Google+ for writers.
Many feel that Google+ was a good attempt to build a social networking platform but that it falls short. For instance, Chuck Wendig has written that he's underwhelmed and more than a little confused by it (Of Google-Plus And Circle Jerks).
It seems to me many people, perhaps most, share Chuck's assessment of Google+.
The question: is Google+ a graveyard?
How To Quantify The Popularity of your Google+ Feed
What I've wanted is a way to quantify how many views my Google+ account received. I've been more active in Google+ over the past month and I wanted to see if that increased activity resulted in increased views.
The problem: I didn't know how to get a listing of views for my Google+ account.
How To Measure Google+ Traffic Using Google Analytics
If you already have a Google Analytics account this is easy to do. If you don't, Google Analytics is free and easy to set up. A friend of mine who gleefully describes herself as a Luddite did it, by herself, in 5 minutes. (By the way, you have to wait a month or so after activating your account to get meaningful data.)
What we're going to do is measure Google+ traffic by measuring referral traffic to your main blogging site, or website.
For instance, say you have your blog on Wordpress or, like me, on Blogger. Go into Google Analytics and open up your blog's profile. Now go into:
Traffic sources > Sources > Referrals
Here you'll find a listing of which URL's send your blog the most traffic as well as the number of visits you receive from that URL each month.
The URL you're looking for is:
Click on that URL and you'll see a graph that depicts the number of visits from your Google+ account. (You can change it to measure pages per visit, average visit duration, percentage of new visits or the bounce rate, among other things.)
You can also compare how your current traffic compares to the traffic from a month ago (you can customize this feature).
For instance, I discovered that since I've been more active on Google+ that visits to my blog from my Google+ account have increased by 40%! That said, I still get 5 times more referrals from Twitter, although I do have about 12,000 Twitter followers while I have only about 550 people in my Google+ circles.
Is Google+ Worth The Time?
I find it's always a question of time, where one's time is best spent. Every person is different, but it's difficult to decide where to invest your precious time without some sort of objective guide.
My intention in writing this article was to show you a way to find objective measures that could help you decide what is right for you, where your time is best spent.
If you'd like to read more about how to get the most out of Google Analytics for Google+, click here: How to measure Google Plus with Analytics.
Do you use Google+? What social network (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and so on) do you use most?
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Photo credit: "U2:all because of you" by visualpanic under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.