Tracking Author Statistics for Bloggers

As part of the recent upgrade of DevCentral, we moved blogging platforms to "inside" the core CMS of DevCentral. Previously it had been a standalone application that was integrated by aesthetic means only. The advantage of incorporating a blogger platform inside the CMS is that we can now take advantage of content sharing, personalization, global taxonomy and UI usability that were extremely difficult to do before.

Some bloggers have mentioned they used statistics inside the older blogging platform which are no longer available directly inside DevCentral. However, it is possible to retrieve this information in Google Analytics (the preferred single repository for this type of information).

Similar to the way we are describing content better to Google in the form of Author Rich Snippets, we are also logging more information about the content in Google Analytics. The first stage is the automatically logging of "author" information associated with any content (we use a mechanism called Custom Variables for those interested).

What this means is that we can go into Google Analytics and pull up a list of traffic by author (this currently spans across Tech-Tips & Blogs but will be expanded over time):

If you don't have Google Analytics access, send a request to

To find this report, go to Audience -> Custom -> Custom Variables -> Custom Variable (key 2) -> click on Author (in grid)

What about individual content?

You may have noticed that if you click on an author name it didn't really provide you with information on individual content. So, if you want to see a list of articles by an author that are popular, we need to use this another method. This method is called Advanced Segments. They allow you to view the traffic of a website based on particular parameters. In this case, we want to view content by the "author" custom variable we have set.

To setup an advanced segment, click on the advanced segments section that is on the top of every screen in Google Analytics.

This allows you to choose from default segments (the ones Analytics provides) and custom segments (the ones you create). In our case, we want to create a New Custom Segment and we want to view the traffic of the content by Joe Pruitt. In the case below, I've set the segment to use Custom Variable (Value 02) equal to Joe Pruitt

When you are done, you can click Save Segment.

Now that Joe's Advanced Segment has been setup, the site will automatically be filtered by that variable (you can tell when an advanced segment is enabled at the top of the page):

To enable or disable a custom segment, click on advanced segments again and check/uncheck specific custom segments:

Tracking Content by Blogger

By this stage, you should have a custom segment setup and the site filtered it. To view your most popular blogs, go to Content -> Site Content -> All Pages. These are all the pages that someone who has viewed your content visited:

From the above screenshot, we can learn a lot about Joe's content. Firstly, his blog entry from 2009 on powershell parameters is his most popular article, followed by the first 2 parts of the iRules series.

You may notice the homepage (/) and irules (/irules) in the list. This is because it's every page that the user touches, or if they came in on the homepage and clicked on Joe's articles. We can exclude this by filtering down on a specific section in the results as follows:

Wrapping it up

Google Analytics offers a lot more flexibility in tracking website usage. We can look at the content by author, content type and later, by category (e.g. show me all content on DevCentral that was tagged "Access" by "Lori MacVittie"). From this point, we could also setup a custom dashboard or email out the results on a weekly or monthly basis.

If this is a little daunting at first, please contact us ( and we can help you set these up.

Published Dec 24, 2012
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