An Experiment Without Google Analytics

Nehemiah 13:30 "So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task."I’m disconnecting Google Analytics from my blog. I’m done analyzing this data.

Why? You might ask.

Simply, it’s a distraction.  I like new and shiny things.  Google Analytics (GA) provides a constant stream of data for me to play with.  And it provides a constant distraction from doing the important work of writing.

Don’t get me wrong; I love data.  It’s incredibly useful for large organizations to understand their web traffic, their users’ behavior, to analyze A/B tests, and so much more.  But it’s getting in the way.

You see, using GA (or any other analytics platform) only allows you to look backwards.  It only allows you to see what your visitors have done in the past.  It prevents me from writing new, useful content.

Have you ever let distractions get in the way of doing what you want most?

I bet you have.

Maybe it’s because you’re afraid you’ll fail; or that you’ll become successful, and so you subtly and innocently sabotage your best intentions.

When I get caught up looking at my stats in GA, I start to fantasize about how the next post will perform.  How many people will visit, how many will click-through to additional content, how many shares will it get, likes, etc  and on and on and on.  Instead of focusing on creating new content, I focus on how existing content will perform in the coming days.

I wrote a post recently that brought in a lot more traffic than I expected, and it felt really good.  The images weren’t mine, but I gave proper credit to the source.  The content was mine, all mine, though, and that was something to be proud of.

So I got to thinking:

  • Maybe I’m an awesome writer.
  • Nah, it’s just the pictures. They’re pretty cool, actually.
  • Search engines can’t analyze pictures, though; that’s what ‘meta description‘ tags are for.

But this light flurry of success had clouded my brain, and I couldn’t focus on the goal I had set for myself to write 100 posts over the course of a year.

Worse, I had lost my idea of what success means to me in relation to this blog. I decided to revisit my purpose, and rid myself of distractions.

I took some time talking this over with my wife, and praying about it on my own.  Here’s what I was directed to this morning:

“So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task.” – Nehemiah 13:30 (NIV)

The ‘foreign’ objects at this point are distractions (like all this data).  They keep me looking back over my shoulder, to see what it looks like behind me.  Maybe you’ve done this, too.

So one distraction I’m removing is the ability to see all this data.  I’m not actually going to remove GA; I’m just not going to look at it, because it really doesn’t matter. I am going to remove the analytics app from my iPhone, though.  That’s an easy win.

I’ll check it out after I reach my goal, but not before.

Here’s my challenge to you:  Write down 5 of your biggest distractions, and commit to removing at least one of them by week’s end.  

I double-dog dare you to post your results here.