Ever wondered if it’s worth it to track your blog traffic? Google Analytics makes it easy. If you are already a user, here is my list of the five most useful things to do with it. And if you are not, here are some reasons why maybe you should.
Substitute the word “blog” for “website” here if you wish. Because most of this, except for, perhaps, the bounce rate advice, applies equally to both
If you haven’t registered yet, just go to Google Analytics and follow the steps to install it on your site. It usually takes 24 hours for the data to start rolling in.
5 Ways to Use Google Analytics to Increase Your Blog Traffic
- Get the big picture with the dashboard overview. A quick view of how you’ve done in the last month: number of visits and pageviews; bounce rate (% of visitors who leave right away without going on to other pages); average time on site; traffic sources and content overviews. Useful for: Pinpointing the main problem areas and accessing data for improvements.
- Study your visitors. I look at new vs. returning visitors because one of my goals is to increase the number of returning visitors from month to month. To grow my readership, I also want a healthy number of new visitors. And I watch visitor loyalty, which counts first-time visitors, all the way up to the percentage who have visited 200 or more times. Useful for: Analyzing your content to see what types of posts are bringing readers back.
- Keep an eye on your traffic sources. Track where your visitors are coming from: direct (typed your blog URL directly in); referring sites (visitors coming to you from other sites); and search engines (people googling terms/keywords to find your post). The keywords section shows the top 10 terms people googled to get to your blog posts. Useful for: Analyzing your blog promotion (how many people are coming to you from other sites). Top keywords give you ideas for writing more posts on the topics people are searching for.
- Look at the popularity of your content. I love this section. It not only shows which posts were most popular (content by title), but which pages were viewed the most and the average visitor time on page for each. Also shows you the top landing pages and the page visitors most frequently left your blog from. Useful for: Determining reader interest. Sometimes an old post will be on the most popular content list and you might want to revise, add fresh content and repost.
- Set goals and track results. Create a goal and track your results. For instance, maybe you want to increase the number of subscribers to your e-newsletter. Name your goal “e-letter signup” and identify a URL for tracking, for instance, the thank-you page when someone signs up.
Google Analytics is coming out with some more sophisticated tools that are especially useful for measuring results for your website. But these five strategies will get you on your way to tracking good, basic information on your blog (or website).