How to grow your blog with Google Analytics

Today’s post on web analytics is dedicated to all the new bloggers out there. As creative individuals, it can be challenging to get excited about words like analytics and data. I mean, it references lots of numbers, graph charts and analysis. And then to actually turn all that data into something actionable that will give your better insight into your blog audience… let’s just say it can get overwhelming.

If you’re an abstract, creative sort of person who digs beautiful photography and carefully crafted words, don’t run away just yet. This blog post will be helpful to help grow your blog traffic.

This post uses Google Analytics as its example – it is free, easy to use and highly supported by popular blogging platforms like WordPress, Kajabi, Wix, and Squarespace.

If you’re completely new to Google Analytics, these are 3 important basics to consider to start analysing your blog’s performance.

3 important Google Analytics for your blog (as you are starting out)

 

Visitors (Users and sessions)

In the past, it was very popular to only report on this metric due to limitations and convenience. A high number = yay, a low number = not so yay. Visitor traffic is still an important aspect to look at (to see if your blog is being visited). Traffic growth is one of the key things for blogs. The higher the number, the higher likelihood you could start monetizing your blog to be a publishing platform for advertisers. 

Sample view of visitor overview
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Gmail
  • Print Friendly
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook

What does it tell you?

That your blog is reaching an audience, however big or small. People (or sometimes, bots) are visiting your website and are interested in your content.

What else to look out for?

Pay attention to traffic trends, spikes and/or dips. This can easily be seen on the analytics graph on the Audience Overview page.

If you have been running your blog for a while, observe and make notes on recurring or unusual patterns. Some questions to get you started:

  • How do your readers (visitors) behave on weekdays vs weekends? Does it increase on a specific day or time? 
  • What about across seasons? Does the website traffic spike or dip over a big festive season like Christmas?
  • If there is an out of the ordinary spike in traffic, consider if this was due to any particular reason – did you send out a newsletter, or posted your first Facebook ad? Or maybe you left a comment on someone else’s blog that evoked a strong emotion from their readers. Whatever it is, try to find out why as thiw ill help determine what worked well (or didn’t) as a traffic driver. Leading me to my next point…

Traffic Source/Medium

You will find this under the Acquisition tab of the menu in Google Analytics. Click on Acquisition, then Overview, then Source/Medium.

  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Gmail
  • Print Friendly
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook

This will display the top 10 places your traffic came from. This is extremely handy to identify which channels are not just your strongest traffic drivers, but also deduce the quality of your traffic (readers). 

Acquisition > Overview > Source/Medium

What does it tell you?

How effective the channels you are investing in (Facebook boosted posts, Pinterest, partner websites etc) are, and how visitors from each channel behave on your blog site.

What else to look out for?

Consider the Behaviour metrics per Source/Medium like. For example, I can see from the chart above, that visitors who came directly to the site had a longer Page/ Session, with the average session lasting more than 13 minutes! On the other hand, visitors from Facebook appeared to only star for about one minute. As the site relies on Facebook a lot to push out content, this tells me I have much to do on improving the landing page experience when visitors from this channel lands on my site. Some other observations and actions from it are:

  • Investigate further on the strange 0% bounce rate that does not match the average time spent – why is it tracking this way? 
  • Leaving comments on other blogs seem to also help drive traffic but not necessarily interest – could this be improved?

Want more? Get my Getting Started with Google Analytics eBook guide – it’s FREE!

Site Content

You will find this under the Behavior tab of the menu in Google Analytics. Click on Behavior, then Site Content, then All Pages.

Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

Doing this will show your blog’s most popular content by Pageviews. The default view of this is by each content page’s URL (web address) but if you are having difficulty identifying the content by its URL, go ahead and click on Page Title.

This will automatically display the Page Name of your content page. This is a preference of course and if your blog is running on WordPress or Blogger, friendly URLs (based on your post title) becomes the default URL. 

What does it tell you?

Your most popular site content and other metrics such as behavior (as above) per page or post.

What else to look out for?

Seeing which are your most popular page or post can be handy as you can then start to determine:

  • Why was it popular? Was it written differently? Did it have more photos? Maybe it had a rich media (video, audio) component like a podcast to it – if the answer is yes, start testing this hypothesis out with another post in a similar format.

Sometimes the most unlikely page will rank the highest. Pat yourself on the back, pour yourself a glass of your favourite beverage before considering:

  • What is that page’s experience like? Are there ways you can capitalise on it? Consider things like having more internal links to relevant blog posts, or even external links to your Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest page.

So there you have it – the three most important basics to consider when analysing your blog’s performance. If you’re new to this, starting out can feel like it’s too much. 

It’s easy to get anxious and overwhelmed by the numbers and not know what to do with them. 

If you are starting to feel this way, here is my advice:

Start slowly.

Stay focused!

Do not get distracted by the other pretty numbers (return later to fulfill that curiosity). 

Be clear with the reason you are going into the rabbit hole of Google Analytics and you will surface alive,  breathing, and with loads of actionable insights! 

Want more? Get my Getting Started with Google Analytics eBook guide – it’s FREE!

Hi, I'm Michelle

Hi, I'm Michelle

I’m a former corporate suit wearer turned creator and entrepreneur. I traded suits for smiles in 2020, and now help small business owners, and everyday people with a dream achieve success online. Sign up to my mailing list to receive unlimited access to my resource library. Also, let’s be friends 🙂

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