Talking numbers and analytics can be a very “dry” and dull subject. However, I personally find the analysis process of what drives traffic to our blog fascinating. You see, I want people to land on our site and stay awhile! As bloggers and creative people, don’t we all want to have readers visit us, stay awhile and come back again? While I don’t spend every single day analyzing our traffic numbers, I do analyze them once a month and write a monthly update on our blog. My intent on doing this is twofold: (1) to share our blog’s growing journey with our readership and (2) to help newer bloggers find their way in the jungle that is the blogging experience!
There are many reasons that people starts blogs:
- Personal online journal for family and friends
- Business website with a blog meant to attract and keep customers
- Blog connected to an Etsy store to attract and keep customers
- Blog with a particular focus based on a hobby or interest, such as crafting, cooking, fashion, etc.
But, if a blogger has created a blog that IS their business or a sideline to their main business (for example, an Etsy shop or a service provider, such as a graphics design company), it is important to understand what drives traffic to the site. Without traffic, a blog doesn’t grow or provide opportunities for new streams of revenue that only traffic can bring. This post is the first in a series meant to help the new blogger understand the importance of analyzing their Google Analytics account.
This post makes the following assumptions about you, the reader of this post:
- The reader has a blog
- The reader’s blog is a business
- The reader has installed Google Analytics
- The reader has limited experience in using Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a robust service provided by Google for free. Yes, that’s right; it costs nothing! And, the information available at the blogger’s fingertips is so diverse, that I’ve only scratched the surface of how I can use their tools to continue our blog’s upward climb in the rankings. Google Analytics is aimed toward “marketers” as opposed to “webmasters,” so you don’t need to have a technical background or know HTML to benefit from learning what drives your traffic. And, yes, you are a “marketer” if you have a blog because you are constantly marketing your blog whether you realize it or not! When you first log on to Google Analytics, on the left side of your screen you will notice a sidebar that includes “My Stuff” and “Standard Reports”.
We will cover the Standard Reports in upcoming posts in this series, so stay tuned!
Under “My Stuff” there are three areas:
- Intelligence Events
Shortcuts is a user-defined area, so I will let you explore that part on your own as you become more familiar with Google Analytics. Let’s take a look at my Dashboard:
The above photo was put together in PicMonkey as a collage to show you the main areas of the Dashboard. When you are viewing your Dashboard on your screen, the various areas will be in a slightly different order.
Key areas of importance to review:
- Unique Visitors – total number of unique visitors to your site
- Pageviews – total number of pages viewed on your site
- Pages / Visit – pages per visit is the average number of pages viewed per visit
- Visits by Traffic Type – tells you where your traffic came from whether referral, organic, direct, RSS, social
- Visits and Pageviews by Mobile (including Tablets) – tells you whether readers are accessing your site from a desktop or a mobile device
- Visits and Avg Visit Duration by Country / Territory – self-explanatory
We will discuss the importance of each of these in upcoming posts, but for now I just want you to see what is available on your Dashboard. The Intelligence Events report, below, is a quick overview of how your traffic has changed over the preceding 30-day time period You can see from the Intelligence Events Overview that our blog is down 13% in New Visits from All Traffic sources. While I might, initially, worry and fret and try to figure out why our traffic is down from all traffic sources, note two things: (1) this is a “Daily” report, so we are down 13% over the preceding day and (2) we have increased in all other areas of this report by huge percentages – talk about motivating!
When you click the word “Details” to the right of each of these parts of the Automatic Alerts of the Intelligence Events Overview, you will see the following report:
This report tells me the changes in our Pageviews from the previous month. In our case, our Pageviews are on a positive upward climb! That’s the thing about analyzing your Google Analytics account…it’s a huge motivational tool and as you see your traffic and readership grow, you’ll use the information provided by this resource to make your blog and business better and better!
Stay tuned for the rest of the series…
- Google Analytics: Standard Reports
- Google Analytics: Analyzing the Audience Report
- Google Analytics: Analyzing the Acquisition Report
- Google Analytics: Analyzing the Behavior Report
By: Carole, from Toot Sweet 4 Two