How to understand Google Analytics
Before I dive in to this post I feel I need to preface it by saying this won’t be the sexiest post you read today. It won’t be the most inspiring or maybe not even the most interesting. However, that said, it could be the most important post you read today. How to understand Google Analytics could help you find out information which can help you shape and grow your blog going forward. So you should definitely read on. I’m going to show you how to find the useful information within Google Analytics and explain what it means to you and your blog.
I will start by assuming you have Google Analytics set up on your blog. If you haven’t, jut google how to set it up and I will be right here when you get back. Otherwise head to Google Analytics and login.
What is Google Analytics?
It’s a free service run that allows you to track the amount of people that click onto your blog or website. Where they came from, how long they stay, where they live and countless other things.
When you’re in you will see the dashboard. This shows glimpses of some standard reports generated by Google Analytics.
You will also see a Site Usage section and this section gives you lots of useful stats, such as;
- Visits: The number of visits to your site over a specific period.
- Pageviews: The number of pages these visitors viewed.
- Pages/visit: The average visit in terms of page views.
- Bounce rate: The percentage of people who only visited one page on your site before they left.
- Avg. time on site: The average amount of time a visitor spends at your website.
- % of new visits: The percentage of new visitors to your site as compared to all visitors.
Google Analytics will automatically show you the last 30 days, but if you want to look at a different timescale just change the dates in the top right on the dashboard. You can also compare two time periods, for example, you may want to look at and compare the last two Christmas periods. Again the date section in the top right of the dashboard will allow you to make this comparison.
What can I learn from GA?
- How many individual people visit my website?
- Where do they live?
- Are they male or female? Their age? (Audience > Demographics > Overview)
- What websites send traffic to my website? (Acquisition > Overview)
- How I can improve my website’s speed?
- Do I need a mobile-friendly website?
- How long do people stay on your site? (Behavior > Overview > Avg. Time on Page)
- How many visitors have I converted into customers?
- What marketing tactics drive the most traffic to my website?
- Which pages are the most popular?
- Where did my converting visitors come from and go on my website?
- What blog content do my visitors like the most?
- Which is the best day to post?
- The best time for you to post?
- What is your bounce rate? (Audience > Overview > Bounce Rate)
- Trackbacks – Who has mentioned your blog on their site? (Acquisition > Social > Trackbacks)
So, as you can see if you are looking to expand your blog then this information gives you quite a lot to go on. It can help you shape your future site and the content you include.
Reports in more depth
Visitors Overview – This report gives you so much information. You can find out how much traffic your blog gets, number of views, length of time people spend on your site, where they go, etc.
Traffic Sources Overview – This one tells you where your traffic has gone from. This could be from search, from a social media platform or even another website or by directly typing in your blog’s name. You can use this report to learn which sources you need to improve and strengthen.
Keywords – This areas shows you which words your visitors typed into the search engine to find your site. You can find out how valuable each word is in terms of the effect on the traffic it brings, how long the people using those words stay, what they read and do they sign up to your mailing list and convert.
Top Content – What pages are the most viewed on your site?
In page analytics – This allows you to see which links people are clicking on each page of your site. How many people clicked to subscribe? Or to access a free printable? You can use this information to chance the things that aren;t working. You can also see exactly where your readers are located. So imagine lots of you readers come from Manchester, maybe you could go to an event there or find another way to reach them.
Do you need to use it?
Yes. O.k, so it might not be the most exciting way in the world to spend your time. However, if you want to grow your blog, then there isn’t anything out there which can inform you in the same way. So use Google Analytics and let it help you grow your blog.