I used to love Google Analytics annotations; they were a great reference point for when posts went live, and I could put in major events like when Mashable picked up an infographic of mine or when I got retweeted by Rand.
And then I realized that I had to enter my events manually every time.
I went looking around for a solution; maybe there was an API that would let me enter them outside of GA? Nope. Maybe there was some sort of product Google offered that could add them based on triggers? No dice.
Google Analytics annotations could be awesome, but they’re just so… inconvenient.
IFTTT lets you set up events that trigger when another event occurs. It’s just as flexible as it sounds. You can set this to send you a text message if Apple stock jumps above $1000/share, or you can automatically tweet “I’m on the phone!” when you get a phone call. You can set up tasks through any one of their 42 channels, including Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Weather reports, Stock reports, and RSS feeds.
The possibilities it opened up were seemingly endless. At first, I set about doing random things, like telling it to text my wife whenever the Jazz beat the Lakers. But then one day, I read a post about archiving tweets in a Google spreadsheet.
And the eyes of mine understanding were opened.
IFTTT could be the site archive that I was looking for! By creating tasks that created Google Calendar events, I could cache pretty much anything I wanted. It was a glorious day. And I’m here to share it with you.
The following is a list of the recipes (as IFTTT calls them) that I find most useful/enlightening. You can then export your Google calendar with all of your archived tastiness and convert it to an XLS/CSV file and analyze it to your heart’s content (I’d love a tool that did this automagically, but yknow…).
In the future, I’ll make a spreadsheet that divides the whole thing up automatically, giving you backlink counts from Linkstant, showing increases in branded tweet concentration, and all sorts of beautiful data segmentation. For now, though, here’s a list of the IFTTT recipes I’m currently using to keep tabs on my site’s performance over time. If you want them for yourself, simply follow the link and copy the recipe!
Ultimately, this post is largely unfinished, because there simply isn’t enough time to cover all of the ways IFTTT is amazing. And so, I place the burden on you; tell me all of the fantastic ways you’re using IFTTT in the comments. Let’s build the ultimate site archive with IFTTT!