If you’re not using Google Analytics for your blog then you definitely should be. All bloggers should use Google Analytics.
I’ve been quite surprised at how many bloggers I’ve spoken to who aren’t using Google Analytics – many of who I consider as much more experienced and successful bloggers than little me.
Without the stats you can get from Google Analytics you really are missing out on a whole lot of valuable information about your blog and it’s readers.
Here’s why Google Analytics should be every blogger’s best friend…
First of all, it’s important to know that you can only use Google Analytics if you self-host your blog. There’s a good article here on how to complete this process if it’s something you’re thinking about doing.
If you’re self hosting your blog already then you need to make sure that you have added the Google Analytics tracking code to your site before you can start to collect information. Follow the steps here if you’re unsure on how to do this.
Now here’s why Google Analytics is so important for bloggers…
How many people are visiting your blog?
You can see on the free WordPress stats how many people are visiting your blog, but not in quite so much detail as in Google Analytics.
Sessions will tell you how many visits in total you have received in a given time frame – if one person visits your site 5 times in 1 day it would be counted as 5 sessions. Users will tell you how many people have visited your blog – one person visiting 5 times in 1 day will only show as 1 user.
If you’ve worked really hard on a blog post but don’t get many visits this stat can be a bit deflating, however, I think it’s important to know how your blog is performing and it’s very satisfying when you see the stats shoot up!
Are people coming back to your blog?
We all want to get some loyal blog fans – those people who like what they read and keep on coming back when you publish a new post.
New vs. Returning Visitors will show you what percentage of your visitors have never been to your blog before against how many are returning visitors.
A high returning visitor percentage is great because this means the people reading your blog like what they see and are coming back for more. Equally, a high new visitor stat is a good sign because new people are finding your blog.
Where are your visitors coming from?
I don’t know about Blogger or Blogspot, but the stats in the free WordPress accounts are quite limited. You can find out how many people have visited your blog and what countries they’re from but much more useful than that is finding out how they have found your site.
In Google Analytics under Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium you can see which sources are sending traffic to your website – whether it’s organic Google searches, Facebook, Twitter, another blog, or somewhere else.
This is really important because it will tell you whether your SEO is working and where you should be promoting your blog posts.
If your organic Google traffic is very low then you need to focus on SEO and including better keywords within your blog posts to help your posts come up in searches.
If most of your traffic is coming from Twitter and not much at all from Facebook despite lots of posts there, then maybe you should focus your time on Twitter. Or, if you are joining lots of linkys it’s very handy to see which ones are sending visitors your way and which ones may not be worth your effort.
How many Blog Posts are your visitors Reading?
The number of Sessions (visitors) are obviously good to know so that you can tell how many people are coming to your blog in a given time period. However, the number of Pageviews can often be more important. This stat is pretty self explanatory, it tells you how many times pages on your site have been viewed.
A high number of pageviews will tell you that the people visiting your blog are having a good look around and reading multiple posts – this is after all what you’re aiming for.
The Pages/Session stat tells you the average number of pages a person looks at in one visit to your blog and the Average Session Duration will tell you how long people are spending on your blog. Sometimes a high session duration could mean that the visitor is searching the website and struggling to find something, but on a blog it’s usually a good thing.
Are people staying on your blog?
The Bounce Rate will tell you the percentage of people who have left your site after visiting just one page or who stayed for less than 10 seconds.
A low bounce rate is good because it means that your visitors are moving on to another blog post after the one that they have initially landed on.
If your bounce rate is high then your visitors are possibly not that interested in what they have found and leave your blog soon after.
If you have a very high bounce rate you might want to try linking to other pages of your blog within a post, or having a ‘related posts’ section at the end of a post if you don’t already – this will encourage your readers to stay on your site and have a further look around.
Which posts are the most popular?
If you have a look under Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages you can see a list of the most visited pages on your site. This will tell you which of your blog posts has been the most popular over a chosen date range.
You might see that a blog post you wrote several months ago is still getting lots of traffic. This is good information to know – you can make sure that you keep promoting these popular posts on social media, as well as knowing which type of blog posts you should be writing more of.
As you can see Google Analytics is really important for bloggers – there are a lot more complicated stats you can track and goals you can set up but the above metrics should provide you with plenty of valuable information to get going with. You can also download the Google Analytics app – but be warned it’s addictive!