Breaking Down Your Blog’s Google Analytics:
I touched upon Google Analytics in a post recently, Step by Step Blogging #8, as a necessity of blogging. I couldn’t just leave you there wondering how to analyze your blog, right? So today we will go over some basic reports from Google Analytics. And review my own blog’s results from the last month.
First, for you…
-Sign up for Google Analytics. You will need a Google account. It’s all free.
-Be sure you have placed the tracking code into your blog. Again, it is a miracle I did this myself and I did mess it up. (See #3 below.) Remember that within the code snippet is your blog’s ID (
UA-XXXXX-X) be sure it is present.
-Then track for at least a month, if not longer. The longer you track the better the results.
Now on with my analysis…
This is my first site analysis and I wanted to share it with you. I am hoping for feedback to create a learning experience for both me and my readers.
If you have explored my blog you will notice that I have posts that date back to September 2010, why am I just doing an analysis now? I have 3 reasons. Today’s statistic are from February 5, 2011 to March 7, 2011.
- Before January 2011 I was not active socially online, meaning, I did not comment on other blogs, join forums or tweet often. I was working on content at the time so my focus was not to gain readers, it was to create great content.
- When first starting, blog statistics could be skewed by mistakes (I had a big one), flukes and just plain inexperience. This makes any statistics irrelevant for analyzing. So I waited until I had a marketing plan in place, which was January 2010 and great content to back up my plans and goals.
- In January 2011 I lost all my stats. Yes, I went to my Google Analytics page and everything read 0. Why? I updated my theme in mid-January and forgot to place the Analytics code back in. I was going to give you stats from the first of the year BUT could not.
So, on with the analysis.
1. Dashboard: Overview of your stats (March 30)
2. Visitors: How many? How long did they stay? How many new? Returning? (March 30)
3. Traffic Sources: Where did the visitors come from? (March 31)
4. Content: What did your visitors like? (April 2 with analysis conclusions)
This is the opening page when you log into your Google Analytics account. It is the basic information you use to evaluate how well your blog is doing. Each category in the left margin (image above) breaks down into more detailed reports. Also, the graph and date field are interactive so you can change ranges and segments to your needs. It’s a simple yet very powerful page.
I will be reviewing the reports in detail in the next 3 posts that are represented here. You should explore it a bit, become acquainted with the powerful, free tool in front of you.
I had 279 visitors in my time period mentioned. This number is very low, I have a much higher goal in mind and these reports help me to analyze what is necessary to do just that, get more visitors. BUT! You don’t just want visitors, you want readers, sticky readers, people that stay and come back often for more of your awesome writing! Let’s look at visitors.
What I Evaluate for Now:
Average Pageviews. This is how many pages on average a visitor clicked. My visitors read just over 2 pages on my blog. They liked a post and decided to read another and then left my blog.
Average time on site. Self explanatory, how long, on average a visitor stayed. The higher the number the better; this means they like what they read and want more. I have almost 4 minutes for time on site. Not bad, it takes about that amount of time to read a post. I want them to read more.
Bounce rate. This is the rate in which people leave my blog. Just over 60% of the time they leave to go somewhere else. This number seems to be average for most blogs but obviously the lower the better. I always picture people “bouncing off” my site to go somewhere else on the internet. It’s not a fun picture.
Other Factors for More Advanced Evaluation:
Absolute Unique Visitors. This is the people count in a 24 hour time span. A person can come to your site 4 times in a 24 hour period. This is 1 “absolute visit” but 4 “visits”. Both are important. At this stage, I just watch visits. Gotta figure if they came back, good for me.
Pageviews. I know what it is but I cannot explain it. I don’t use it.
New Visits. New visitors to my blog. At this point most visitors are new.
What I was doing with my blog at this time:
I didn’t do too bad for my first month of serious blogging. During this time period I began commenting about 10 times a week on blogs similar to mine with varying PageRank, I joined a couple of forums and was very active, I tweeted my posts 3-4 times a day while using pertinent hashtags about 5% of the time and I interacted with a few people on Twitter (retweets and Twitter conversations.) I also posted about 2-3 times a week which Google sees as fresh content. And I started to use basic SEO procedures using Google Adwords Keyword Tool.
Also at this time I wrote a series of posts called “Step by Step: Blog Beginners Series”. I think this helped keep my bounce rate lower because people were reading a few posts in the series before leaving.
My stats tell me that when people came to my blog they liked what they read but only read a couple of pages, I want them to stay longer and see me more as an authority in my field. When they do, my bounce rate will drop and pageviews will go up. I want them to need what I write not just like it.
What I can Improve On:
I will continue the same course as above but I may target forums specifically for who I need on my site: new bloggers, even more specific is WAHM bloggers.
I am going to continue using Twitter in the same manner but will attempt to join in scheduled conversations, such as #BlogChat on Sunday nights. This should help me find new bloggers.
And I am starting to find that I enjoy commenting to specific blogs. Commenting has turned into, for me, more of a learning experience than just link juice back to my blog. I love the discussions. So right now, any link juice back to my blog is a bonus. I think even if there was not link juice back to my blog I would still comment.
I have recently joined a tribe. This is a group of bloggers that support each other by commenting and spreading post links on social media for each other. The benefits, besides the educational, would be that you get exposure with their audience also. I am excited to see my results next month.
*I do believe I wrote good content that people needed. The few that came stayed for a while. I will continue to write about important topics in blogging and try to get my blog exposed more on the Internet.
These are the basics on analyzing your visitors and what they do while at your blog. Tomorrow I will be reviewing Traffic Sources. Where did my visitors come from? This will tell me if my backlinking and SEO efforts are paying off and if not, what should I change.
I have a list of relevant blogging terms where you can find more information. Check it out.
What is your take?
Is this just too confusing? Or is it easy?
How do you analyze visitors to your blog?
Did I miss anything a new blogger should know about visitors?
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