6 Things to Do If Your Dog Goes Missing

This story has a happy ending – a fact that a friend of mine said I should be sure to point out right away after hearing it the first time. Nevertheless, I didn’t know it would when the story began. My lessons learned is at the bottom of the page if you are in a similar situation and looking for advice on what to do.

While my husband might disagree, I’m generally not a pessimist and don’t live my life waiting for the other shoe to drop – so needless to say I wasn’t expecting the events of Sunday afternoon to unfold quite the way they did. I had spent the weekend in Austin with some girlfriends from work and got home around 4:30pm. Normally my dogs are the first to realize when I’m home and run to the back door and start jumping up and down at the glass, but when I didn’t see them I assumed that they had been put in their kennels (probably for doing something they shouldn’t have) by my husband. So, it was disconcerting to me to walk in, see my husband on the couch, and the kennels open and empty.

“Where are the dogs?” I asked confusedly.

“I don’t know” my husband calmly responded.

Dobby

Dobby

“What do you mean you don’t know?” I replied, with a rapidly rising timbre as I processed what that could mean. He went on to explain that he had taken the dogs to his parent’s house north of town when he went to have dinner with them, and that after dinner they realized they hadn’t heard them in the backyard for a while (they usually come around to the backdoor to ask to be let in every 20 minutes or so). When they went outside they realized that they had somehow managed to escape from the confines of the yard and were nowhere to be found. My husband said that he and his parents spent several hours looking for them in the surrounding areas, but didn’t have any luck. They were gone.

The area in Cypress that my in-laws live is a mix of fenced in suburbs and large acreages with fields and trees and the occasional house (or cow). Based on what my husband had read online after he called off the search that night, the chances were likely that they had headed northwest across the street and cow pasture following the direction the wind was coming from (and smells). On Sunday morning he found several websites (including one called Pet Harbor) where he was able to send notifications to local shelters, groomers, vets, etc. about them, and he personally emailed all the vets and shelters in a 2 mile radius from his parents’ house.

Marty

Marty

Flash forward to my arrival home and he has broken the news to me (something I’m certain he was dreading for the past 18 hours). Once it had sunk it that they were missing and hadn’t been located … well, I lost it. I always thought it was really cheesy in TV shows and movies when someone drops to the floor in grief, but found myself sliding down the sliding glass door balling my eyes out (not without a small part of me thinking how cheesy I was being though). I don’t know how long I sat there weeping in anguish, muttering “no, no, no” and crying out to God just one word, “Please”… but it was a while. My husband was trying to explain all the things he had done and what he had looked up about where they could have gone, but it did little to console me. All I could think about what that they were lost, and like our previous dog Lando who had escaped the back patio a few years ago, we would never find them again. Cypress was so big, and they were so small. Dobby’s tags had come off a few months ago and I hadn’t replaced them yet – what if they didn’t stay together. The chances of us finding them both were low to begin with, but if they got split up? It didn’t help that their toys were sitting right in front of me on the carpet, as if they had just gone outside for a walk with the neighbor girls. To lose one dog is sad and horrible – but to have both torn away from me in an instant?

Slowly, my tears subsided and I became emotionally numb… enough to take my things upstairs anyways. Once I got upstairs to the bedroom though the tears began again – their beds are in the corner of the room. I tried to come back downstairs but ended up feeling like I had to escape but there was no room that didn’t remind me of them. Our small condo seemed so large and empty then. I walked back and forth across the living room a couple of times, torn between going to the couch but then being repelled by the memories of them cuddling with me there to go back upstairs but then being unable to face their empty beds. Finally I just collapsed on the floor in front of my desk and started crying again. Finally my husband told me to come sit next to him on the couch, and he put his arm around me and tried to calm me down. It worked enough for me to start thinking of what I could do to help.

My first move was to text several friends and family members to ask them to start praying for their “safe and speedy return”. One of my friends suggested that I post something to Facebook, as many of our friends from highschool lived in the Cypress area. I figured it was worth a shot and found all the pictures of the boys together and at their cutest, wrote up a quick blurb explaining what had happened, asking people to share the post with their friends and to contact us if they saw them, praying it went viral.

Adrianne_Stone

Normally, I wouldn’t message people to ask them to share something because I think that’s tacky, but I figured that in this case I didn’t really care if it was or not. I messaged everyone I could think of that was online who lived or used to live in the area asking them to share. Almost everyone said yes (no one said no, some people just didn’t respond… and that’s okay) and started sharing the post. At last count, it has been shared 91 times – which makes me tear up a little bit to think about how awesome my friends and friends of friends are. Most of those shares are from people I have never met, and probably never will – so in case you are one of those people and happen to read this, Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I can’t express how grateful I am to you for your help. Thousands of people (at least… I don’t have any analytics to back that up ha ha) saw my post over the course of the next few hours, and my notifications were quickly overwhelmed with updates about who had shared and comments on the post.

Despite the number of shares, I wasn’t optimistic about hearing anything that night and based on my husband’s reassurances that we would start to hear back from shelters and vets the next day, I resigned myself to a sad evening hoping they would be okay, that they weren’t hungry, and that they kept out of the streets. When my husband decided it was time to go get something to eat for dinner, I reluctantly agreed to join him. Once we were in the car, he asked if I wanted to go look for them again, and I said I did – even though I knew the chances of finding them randomly were low, I felt like I should be doing something.
By the time we arrived it was dark again, and I grew anxious at the lack of visibility and the amount of area to cover. We drove around the backstreets with the high beams on, scouring the darkness for any sign of movement, but not expecting much. Around 9pm we decided to call it a night, and turned for home. As we were driving towards Highway 290, I grew sad again at the prospect of not finding them, and said another silent prayer to God to return them to me. As we were stopped at the light I checked my facebook again, to see if anyone else had shared the post. It was around 9:20 pm. What I saw made me shriek and start crying all over again.
Not one, but THREE unrelated friends (and friends of friends) had messaged me within 5 minutes of each other with a screenshot of a woman’s post about two dogs they had found on Saturday night (with a picture). These friends had friends (again… unrelated to each other) who had seen my post and seen the other woman’s post and put the two together, and reached out to us. Around the same time, two different RANDOM people texted my husband saying that they saw the post from the woman who found the dogs and provided contact info – I say random because truly they were people we didn’t even know. My husband had submitted his information to a couple of websites, and one of them had posted his story and phone number on facebook to a couple of facebook pages. People on those pages saw his post and the other woman’s post and texted him.

One of my new favorite pictures of them!

Now, I kid you not when I say that all of this happened within a 10 minute timespan. What makes this story even more amazing (and I didn’t realize until the next day) was that the original post from the woman who found them was posted SATURDAY NIGHT at 9pm. I say it is amazing because 5 completely unrelated people in a ten minute timespan saw the posts and contacted us 24 hours after the original post was posted. To me, it couldn’t get any clearer that God was moving in this situation, and He wanted there to be no mistaking His handiwork!
Thanks to the assistance of all of these awesome individuals (and Facebook), we were able to quickly get in contact with the people who had held onto them for us and arrange to pick them up. Ironically, they were only a few houses down the street from my in-laws, and the man who greeted us told us he had been outside (with his own dog hanging out with him) when they came wandering up to the house. By the time my husband had realized they were missing he had already taken them inside and given them some food and water, and I’m so grateful that he didn’t leave them to wander further (and possibly get hit by a car) and that he took care of them!
I hope that something like this never happens to you, but from this experience I have SIX VALUABLE INSIGHTS
  1. Have your dogs microchipped and tagged (before they get lost)! More importantly, if you are in the position where you haven’t done this and your dog is missing – don’t give up hope! Neither of our pups were microchipped but we still recovered them. One of the friendly people who contacted me is family friends with the owners of a maltese that was missing for 7 years before a vet scanned his chip and returned him home!
  2. Post their (and your) information in as many places as possible! The more places you post the more likely someone will see it!
  3. Join your local neighborhood Facebook groups. We didn’t do this, but the people who found them had posted their photos there, and if we had thought of it we might have found them much sooner.
  4. Create a Facebook status providing the details, including a description of them AND many many pictures (preferably cute ones so people are more inclined to share)
  5. Don’t be shy asking your friends to share your post - I only asked less than 20 people but because of them 91 people eventually shared it and thousands more saw it!
  6. Pray! I’m convinced that God honored my prayers and those of my friends – specifically the “Safe and Speedy” portion! Don’t be shy to ask your friends and family to pray for this, and to pray specifically for it. There are many biblical examples showing that God answers specific prayers!

Wear a helmet!

My Guardian Angel was working overtime yesterday ya’ll. Abe and I went on a bike ride down some trails along the reservoir by our house and on the way back we were being silly and decided to race. Though he was being kind afterwards and said I was about to beat him… I wasn’t. I had already given up in fact and was in the process of slowing down (which might have saved my life) when a GIANT BIRD SIZED bug slammed into my face. Needless to say, I freaked out and jerked my wheel which at 15-ish mph is probably one of the worst things you can do.

I don’t really remember the actual fall, and as far as I know I wasn’t scared when it happened (which is for the best) but remember thinking “Oh crap, this is going to hurt”. The next thing I knew I was lying flat on my back gasping for air, and knew I had also hit my head and shoulder. Abe was at my side within an instant and I know it scared the crap out of him. He helped me sit up, told me to calm down and breath, that I was okay (I was still struggling to catch my breath) and tried to help me get out of the path but I couldn’t stand up just yet. I sat there for a few more minutes while my breath returned, trying to determine if I had broken any ribs or not. Abe went to get my bike out of the path and once I was able to focus on anything besides the pain I realized that my front wheel was perpendicular to the handlebars and the wheel… well let’s just say it imitates the shape of these rings:

Wavy Rings|HomegrownSilverStone (Etsy)

I would show you a picture of the wheel – but Abe tried to mold it back into a semblance of a normal wheel shape in order to walk it home. I’m planning on purchasing these rings (just as soon as I can hobble to my craft box to find my ring sizer) to remind myself how lucky I am.

Abe said that when he looked back (he heard me yelp when the bug hit my face) he saw me fly over the handlebars as the wheel turned sideways and the rest of the bike continued in the forward direction. In retrospect I wish I had a GoPro on – but then I would have had a helmet on and probably wouldn’t have had any of the (temporary) disorientation after the fact. Which brings me to my public service announcement – please for the love of God wear a helmet when you bike ride. I know, I know, everyone knows you are supposed to, but how many (non-professional bike riding) adults actually do? A shockingly low number. Myself included. I was super lucky to walk away from that with a bump to the noggin, road rash, and intense mid-back pain. It could have been much much worse.

Personally, I would love this inflating airbag option | Hövding

Personally, I would love this inflating airbag option | Hövding

Now I’m going to sit here on the couch for a few more days with an ice pack and wait for my back to stop spasming. Anyone have any good book/tv/movie recommendations?

The Linden Ring

My For The Makers subscription has been on hold for the past few months while we worked on renovations and such but it started up again with a bang yesterday! The June collection is called “Honey Nectar” which shows in the color pallet in the fabulous accessories and the luscious all-natural Wild Pollen lip balm (tinted with beet powder!).

I’m really excited to make all of the items in this kit, but I had to figure out where to start. As soon as I opened my box this morning I tweeted a photo and tagged my ladies at @Forthemakers and asked their advice on which to start with. Apparently, I share a common brainwave with them because we both agreed on the perfect place to start

This project was great – it didn’t require any fancy equipment and took less than 10 minutes to complete (plus drying time for the glue) and the stones are beautiful. It might be hard to tell from the picture but the large center stone is peach and the side baguettes are a very faint pink.
FTM Linden Ring 6x4.jpg

 

Check out the tutorial on the For the Makers site and snag your own Honey Nectar collection. Oh and insider hint – instead of using a stick I just grabbed the smaller stones with my chain nose pliers to apply the glue without getting it all over my fingers (#protip)

Linden Ring Tutorial | For the Makers

I think I’ll make the Marmalade Bracelet next, but in the meantime I think I’m going to pair this pretty thing with a date night with the hubby! Any suggestions where to go?

FTM Linden Ring 2

Our Little Home Remodel Part One: New Floors

When Abe and I purchased our home a few years ago, we knew we were going to have to purchase something in need of a little love to keep it in our price range. We found a townhouse in a nice area of town that was perfect for our budget, and structurally sound – but boy did it need some updating! Before we moved in we ripped up every inch of old, stained, carpet in the place… not to mention the low quality laminate stretching from the entryway into the (dark blue) kitchen.

Home RemodelHome Remodel

Beneath the carpet we found concrete (even on the second floor), and beneath the laminate we found…. vinyl. Old vinyl. Smelly old vinyl. As in, the original vinyl from when the house was built in 1970. The previous owners had clearly attempted to remove it, dumped some ammonia containing compound on the parts that were too well attached, then decided to lay the laminate over it. It was definitely contributing to the musty smell of the house, which I am quite thankful to report is now gone thanks to hours of scraping by my husband, parents, and I!

Home Remodel

You know how some people lust over the original flooring in old homes – yeah we aren’t in that boat.

We replaced almost all of the original flooring with new wide-plank dark espresso colored laminate from Lumber Liquidators which had a pad attached. It was relatively inexpensive – but still looked nice on the floor. I say almost all of the flooring, because when we got upstairs we realized the back bedroom would require some serious (as in whole room) leveling in order to lay the laminate due to the cantilevered rear wall which juts out above the patio. We have decided to replace the carpet in this room with new carpet, which will make this a luxurious master bedroom retreat. We have also decided to put in custom stained wood on the stairs, instead of trying to figure out the laminate there.

Home Remodel

Before

Home Remodel

During

Home Remodel

A Little Later During

Untitled

After (complete with pup!)

While we had the floors up we decided to go ahead and repaint the walls as well – we went with a nice neutral sand color for the whole house. Also note the exposed wiring to the fan in the before picture – my wonderful husband re-did the wiring to run it through the wall and also add a switch that controls the light and fan separately! Oh.. did I mention that I now know how to float and patch a wall? There was a lot of that to be done!

So what lessons did we learn from this phase?

  1. laying a floating laminate floor is much easier than gluing one down
  2. get a laminate with the padding attached if possible – one less install step
  3. you have to put down a moisture barrier first to prevent moisture from getting to your new floor
  4. don’t get a laminate with grooves between the planks – even if you put glue between the planks (highly recommended in wet areas) water can still penetrate the planks and make them bubble
  5. “self-leveling” compound is not really self-leveling. And damn difficult to work with over large areas.

Lumber Liquidators had a great selection of laminate in a variety of prices, so we were very happy with them. They no longer carry the exact laminate that we used (but if you want enough to do one room email me… I have lots leftover ha ha) but they have other great options, as well as the new vinyl planks that look like wood and real hardwoods. By the way – if you haven’t considered the vinyl planks, you should! They are not your grandma’s vinyl and they look awesome! My brother- and sister-in-law installed this in their home and it looks so good you would never know it is vinyl, plus it holds up really well. It’s also even easier than the floating laminate to install, requires no moisture barrier, and cuts with a box cutter instead of a saw! Seriously, if this option had been available when we were remodeling we would have bought it instead.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be filling you in on what else we have been up to including

  • The Kitchen
  • The Bathrooms
  • The Laundry Room
  • The Windows/Doors

So stay tuned!

HUGE Whimseybox Sale!

Hey guys and gals! I just heard about this and was so excited I wanted to let you know about it – Whimseybox is having a huge sale from now until Monday where all their kits and a lot of their exclusive crafting items (fun washi tape, jewelry making supplies, etc) are 40% OFF!  Whatttt! It’s such a good deal I didn’t want you to miss it. I grabbed a snapshot of some of the items available for your viewing pleasure below :)

Also, in case you are a procrastinator (like I usually am) and still are trying to figure out what to snag mom for Mother’s day (which is Sunday in case you missed all the ads everywhere..) they are offering $10 off a 3-month or longer subscription for Mom (or for yourself… shhh I wont tell) with the code MOMSROCK at checkout. This code expires on Sunday.

Re:Make 2014 ATX

This weekend my husband graciously agreed to join me in an adventure to attend Re:Make hosted by Brit+Co.

Hotels in Austin are crazy expensive so we opted to drive up Saturday morning early, which meant heading out of H-town around 8 am (after a quick stop at Whataburger of course – Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuit Sandwich awww yeah!). We got into town around 10:30 and headed straight to the Palmer Events Center to get the party started. Abe was such a good sport, but he couldn’t help but start laughing when he saw the copious amounts of tassels and giant balloons (by StudioMucci I learned!).

We weren’t exactly sure what to expect when we got into the exhibit hall so we were pleasantly surprised to find a good mix of vendors, DIY activities, and beverages (coffee and booze…. #daydrunk! j/k). I think Abe decided he was going to have a good time when he spotted one of the vendors by the door – Manready Mercantile – which specializes in beauty and grooming products that men would actually buy (probably because they package most of them in whiskey bottles?). By the way, they also sell a “Throne Spray” in citrus and forest scents – which is a “Poo-pouri” for dudes AND you can buy a 24K Gold Plated Axe for the man in your life who clearly already has everything else.

Our next stop was the TechShop table – where we got the chance to create 3D laser-cut chipboard Stag’s heads and an LED bracelet cut (with conductive thread!). Despite the relatively simplistic appearance of the stag head, you should under no circumstance consider it to be easy to be put together! But then again the 15 year old that sat down after us finished before us, so maybe we are just really bad at puzzles… In any case, mine will be painted and glittered when we get home – stay tuned for the final product. The LED bracelet was a fun usage of circuits and conductive thread (the same kind you can use to make DIY capactive touch gloves btw) and is going to make a great “Thanks for watching our dogs” gift for my 6-year-old niece.

ReMake Techshop.jpg

Crafty and handsome? Step back girls, he’s mine ;)

After our early crafting adventures, we decided to make the rounds of the event, and take a look at the vendors’ wares. There was a diverse selection of paper goods, textiles, jewelry, bath and body products, and foods. Epson was there with their label makers, and were letting attendees make customized party hats or postcards. Abe got into a lengthy discussion with one of the representatives, who told us that she usually works with the projectors and that she had recently attended CES. Abe was super interested in what she thought about CES and home projectors, and I thought it was awesome to hear a woman speak so authoritatively about technology – especially in an area that is usually dominated by men!

Austin Hackerspace also had a booth where they were showing off their 3D printer and their (handmade) desktop CNC mill - which they were using to custom engrave wooden keychains for everyone. Brit+Co also had their Replicators out making kid’s toys, planters, and other 3D-printed goodies to display next to the DIY laser cut wooden pendant necklace station. While I made my necklace Abe made the rounds again, and ended up buying the entire collection of Liber & Co drink elixers to take our cocktails to the next level.

Did I mention that I made some new friends? I got the chance to meet and talk to several Brit+Co staff members – including Cecelia (a fellow DG!), Sarah, and Kelly – and there may have been some silliness that occurred at one of the three (THREE!) photobooths. My friend Patricia subbed in for Abe when he decided it was nap time, and I think she looks particularly dapper in a monocle – don’t you think?

ReMake Photobooth.jpg

There was lots more fun to be had – and I came home with quite a selection of handcrafted goods from artisans like Curare Sweets, Eleventy-Five, Savvie Design Co, Michaels (who also had a photobooth), Esperos, Matter, Other Machine Co, Crafty Girl Austin, and Method (in addition to the stuff from Techshop, Hackerspace, and Liber & Co… not to mention Brit+Co!)

Re-Make Michaels

If you’re in Austin, Re:Make is going on again today from 11pm-6pm… if you aren’t you should definitely sign up for the San Francisco Re:Make in September! Word on the street is that it will be even bigger and better than Re:Make ATX (which is saying something because it was awesome!). I just might see you there :)

Canvas Tote: Matter; Wooden Keychain: ATX Hackerspace; Hand Sanitizer: Method; TX Earrings: Savvie Design Co.; 3D Stag: Abe + TechShop; Tassel Keychain: Michaels; Wood Pendant Necklace: Me + Brit+Co; Doll Bookmark: Crafty Girl Austin; Brass Pendant: Other Machine Co.; Pencil Bag: Esperos; Laser Cut Leather Earrings: Curare Sweets; LED Cuff: Me + Techshop; Flower Onesie: Eleventy-Five

Canvas Tote: Matter; Wooden Keychain: ATX Hackerspace; Hand Sanitizer: Method; TX Earrings: Savvie Design Co.; 3D Stag: Abe + TechShop; Tassel Keychain: Michaels; Wood Pendant Necklace: Me + Brit+Co; Doll Bookmark: Crafty Girl Austin; Brass Pendant: Other Machine Co.; Pencil Bag: Esperos; Laser Cut Leather Earrings: Curare Sweets; LED Cuff: Me + Techshop; Flower Onesie: Eleventy-Five

Reblog: The Real Dangers of Mercury

I’ve written some articles and gotten into some discussions lately on the safety and efficacy of vaccines on various internet sources. Vaccinations are a hot button issue for some people, and bringing up the issue can induce rage monsters in even the most levelheaded of individuals.

My most recent piece is a guest post on Starts with a Bang - a blog about science (mainly astronomy and astrophysics) run by Ethan Siegel. He asked me to write an article discussing the differences between different forms of mercury, how they affect the body, and what it means for you that some vaccine preservatives contain mercury compounds.

Check out the full story on Medium…

Guest Post: The Real Dangers of Mercury

DIY Gold and Suede Stacking Bracelet

It’s spring ya’ll! And spring means color – so in honor of the season I pulled out my pink and purple eco-suede lace and soft gold chain and made a couple of bracelets perfect for stacking! The best part is that it only takes about five minutes to make one.

bracelet stacks.jpg

All you are going to need is about an inch and a half of gold chain (I used a 6mm curb chain) and two 12 inch peices of suede lace.

Thread one piece of lace through the last link on each side, and split it evenly. Tie a knot on each side about half an inch down. Tie another knot at the end of each cord. Use an additional link to secure the two ends together – or you can create your own attachment by spiralling a bit of medium-gauge wire tightly between the two knots.

 

Stacking Bracelet Collage.jpg

I have also paired these with my double wrap bracelet – I’ll have a tutorial for that one up in a few days. So what do you think? What color would you make yours?
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DIY Curb Chain Ring in under a minute

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a lot of spare chain hanging around your house at any given moment. I hate to throw away scraps – it just feels wasteful to me and I think “there’s probably something I could with this!”

DIY Curb Chain Ring in under a minute!

December brought me an adorable For the Makers box – the Winter Solstice collection – which included this awesome chain “Icy Fringe” necklace.

For the Makers | Icy Fringe Necklace – Winter Solstice collection

 After putting together my necklace I had about 2 inches of chain left over. One day on Pinterest I spotted these super cute rings by A Splendid Assemblage:

Gwen Stefani Inspired DIY Curb Chain Ring | A Splendid Assemblage

But I didn’t have any ring blanks – so I thought.. hmmm I wonder if I could just make a ring with the chain itself? And sure enough – it worked! Let me show you what I did.

DIY Curb Chain Guide

Just a heads up – check your finger diameter before you cut – AND don’t forget to take into account the additional width of the jump ring. You could also bling this out by adding a gemstone where the jump ring is to make this fancy ;)

If you don’t have the supplies on hand, you can snag them from Whimseybox – pro members get free shipping, which is a pretty sweet deal!

Supplies

 

So what do you think? Would you ever wear or make a curb chain ring? Sound off in the comments! Oh and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to so you never miss a DIY!

Easy Blog Stats with Google Analytics

Easy blog statistics with Google Analytics - Yeah I made it!

Follow these simple steps to capture key data about your visitors to help make your blog more attractive to advertisers!

If you aren’t already using Google Analytics to keep track of the traffic on your blog, you really should start. I know that it may seem a little bit intimidating, but I promise you that it will be a good investment of your time because you will have specific data to provide to potential advertisers or ad networks about the quantity and quality of traffic your site receives. Not only will it provide you with critical statistics, but you will also be able to spot potential areas of growth or problems (I’ll explain more in a minute). In this post I’m going to take you through:

  • setting up your Analytics account
  • adding your tracking ID code to your blog
  • how to check your stats after installation
  • modifying your tracking code to allow advanced data collection
  • ways to use your data to improve your site

Each section is clearly labeled so feel free to skip around to the parts that are most useful to you!Ready? Let’s get started.

Analytics Account Setup

First of all you will need to create an account with Analytics – go ahead and click the link… i’ll wait….. –  which you should be able to do fairly easily with a google/gmail account. Next you will need to go to the admin section of your account where you will see a dropdown labeled “Account” and possibly a second dropdown labeled “Property”. If you do not have any accounts listed – that is your first step. Regardless of which option you choose, the next steps are practically identical. You can have multiple accounts on your profile, say for example if you are keeping track of several unrelated sites – or multiple sites on one account … but don’t worry about that too much for now.

You will be taken to a new page which will ask you to provide some basic information about your site and also your account (if in “create new account”). You are tracking a website so select it – and for purposes that will become clear in a minute choose “Classic Analytics”

Setting up your analytics account

Scroll down a bit more and here are where things might look different depending on if you went to “new account” or “new property”. I boxed everything that shows up when you select “new account” in the image below. Fill in all the information it asks for, and select whichever data settings make you most comfortable. Also, when it asks industry category – I just choose the one closest to what I blog about.

analytics_2-5

Final steps on account setup, hooray!

Click “Get Tracking ID” and you’ll be taken to another page which if you scroll down should have a tracking code that looks like this:Google_AnalyticsKeep this page open while we get your site ready to accept the code okay?! Onward!

Adding the code to your site

Ok those of you who use a genesis framework based theme raise your hands. You guys have it easy – just head over to “Genesis” –> “Theme Settings” –> scroll all the way to the bottom where there are the “header” and “footer” code boxes –> Paste your tracking code into the “header” section –> hit save. You’re done!

If you didn’t raise your hand I have two equally good solutions for you

  1. get yourself the genesis framework (it’s awesome to use, great for SEO, and very easy to customize, not to mention a developer favorite)
  2. use the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin by Yoast.

I strongly recommend that you think about investing in Genesis, because if you go the plugin route you will lose some of the tracking options due to not being able to make the code updates that are necessary for some of the features.

If you do decide to use the plugin (which I did for many months until I figured out the “header” trick) you will need to copy the “Tracking ID” which can be found at the top of the page that the script came from. It will be in large bold letters and in my case it starts with an UA followed by a string of numbers. In the plugin settings there is an box for you to add your tracking code – paste it there and hit save. There are a lot of other options which unless you are more comfortable with Analytics, I would leave them on the default settings.

Note: I do earn a small commission if you sign up for Genesis using my links – but I only recommend them because I use and love it and the rest is just a perk

Checking your Stats

Give Google about 24 hours to collect data before you start checking your stats – but once your results show up you’re going to be so happy! Home will show you a list of all the sites you are tracking, while Reporting will give you your actual statistics. There are lots of options but the most critical (at first anyways) are going to be the ones under “Audience”, “Behavior”, and “Acquisition” – click around and explore what information you can learn about your visitors! Audience will give you information about how many visitors you get, how long they stay, what OS or device they are visiting from, and – once you update your code – demographic and interest information. Acquisition will tell you how your visitors are finding you – searches, social media, etc, and Behavior will tell you what they are doing when they get there – are they clicking around, what is the general flow of traffic through your site, page speeds, etc.

Wait, how do I get demographics?!

Demographic information is a HUGE advantage when communicating with potential advertisers – they want to know that their target market is actually using your site when they invest. This is why I said you should enable Classic instead of Universal analytics at the beginning – unfortunately Universal doesn’t allow for the necessary code mods at this time to enable demographic tracking – AND why you need Genesis instead of the plugin! If you click on “demographics – overview” on the sidebar of the reports section you will get a message saying that you need to update your code.

Pop back over to your Theme Settings and scroll down to where you put your script code originally. Cmd+F (or Ctrl+F if you’re on a PC) to bring up the search and search for:

ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’;

and replace with:

ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://’ : ‘http://’) + ‘stats.g.doubleclick.net/dc.js’;

Then pop back over to your Analytics page and hit “Validate tracking code” – you’re done! Again it’s probably going to take at least 24 hours before you start seeing data from this. You may also see a message saying that some data isn’t showing because thresholds were applied – this means that so few people in a particular demographic visited that you would be able to infer the characteristics of a particular individual so Google doesn’t let you see that information. I actually think this is a good thing in terms of privacy protection, so I’m okay with it.

How to use this data to improve your site

Well, there you have it! We’ve set up your Analytics account, linked it to your blog, showed you how to modify your code to get demographic data, and all without losing our minds (hopefully). Now you might be wondering just what exactly you can do with this new-found information? I’m glad you asked.

Including demographics data will help your potential sponsors to see that your readers fit their target market! Help them help you!

  • Make sure your site is compatible across the most popular operating systems, browsers, and devices that are used to view your blog!

I had a situation about a year ago where my site was not working on safari but I didn’t realize it because I was using Chrome but I checked when I saw how many people where getting to my page through Safari. Needless to say I worked quickly to rectify the situation (I was using a free wordpress.org theme at the time, my site is mobile reponsive now thanks to my Genesis theme)

  • Determining your target market for yourself to help make your blog better (future post on specifics coming up – subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss it!!)

Easy Google Analytics for Bloggers

You can see quite a bit of information about what age groups and genders are frequenting your site, and from there drill down on what content they spend the most time with, where they are coming from, etc. This can be useful in planning what topics you want to focus on in the future.

There are lots of things you can learn from your Google Analytics data – how could you use this to make your blogging more effective? Also, what kind of blogging posts would you find most helpful or interesting in the future? Let me know!