This is the kick off to our annual January Blog Challenge: 31 Days To Clean Up Your Blog. What better time than January to sit down and review your blog? Over the 31 days we'll be sharing 31 tips, ideas, and strategies for you to deal with all those pesky maintenance tasks, take steps to grow in the new year and make blogging easier. This is Day 18.
If you have a blog, we're pretty sure you have a Google Analytics account but bare with use for a second...
If you don't have a Google Analytics account here's why you need one:
- If you want to work with brands, write a book, appear on TV, or do anything where a decision maker needs to know your readership, Google Analytics is considered the standard for stats reporting
- Even if you don't want to work with brands, write a book, etc, it provides you with a vast wealth of information regarding who your readers are, what they're reading, when they're reading it and so much more.
It's easy to set up if you haven't already. You just need to create an account with google, follow their instructions and add a small snippet of code to your site. If you need more help Google always has an up to date tutorial that lays it all out for you.
Alright now let's dive in...
How to Dive Deeper Into Your Google Analytics
Virtually all of us who use Google Anlaytics can recite how many users, sessions and page views we get per month but there is so much more you can do. We're going to touch on just a tiny portion of what's possible but trust us, you can dig in even deepert!
1. Where Are Your Visitors Located?
You can start at the country level and dig right down to provinces, states and then to cities. We know of one cookbook author who plotted their book tour by digging down to the city level to see which cities had the biggest proportion of readers - that's smart use of analytics!
2. What Time Of Day Do They Visit?
Google Analytics lets you see how many visits you get by the hour. You can use this to plan everything from your social media, to what time your newsletters go out.
3. Where Are They Coming From?
You can see how many of your visitors find you from search engines, social media (split out by platform), how many come from referral sites (and which referral sites) and how many land directly on your site.
You can even see how many come from your individual newsletters, your Tailwind Tribe submissions, Tailwind smartloops, promoted pins, your social media tools like Social Pug or Meet Edgar (go to Acquisition ->Campaigns). That's all information you can use to help you determine whether certain activities you do are worth the time you put in.
4. What Social Networks Give the Most Bang For Your Buck?
You can use google analytics to help you determine which social media network sends you the most traffic. That's easy.
But, dig a little deeper and you can easily see, which network sends the most engaged readers by how long they spend on your site and how many pages they visit. You might be surprised by the results (we often are!). This can be invaluable in helping you decide which social network to put the bulk of your effort into.
GA also gives you lots of insight into your most popular Pinterst pins which can help you decide which ones to create new pins for, which to try out video pins on and which could use some refreshing as well as which ones to share in Pin share groups!
5. Site Search
You can find out what people are searching for while they're on your site. This is a really handy report to look at because these are people who are already on your site - they've come to you because they know you and now they're looking for something specific from you - the person they trust for content.
I review this report every few months just to see what people are looking for and to determine if there are any content ideas I've overlooked!
6. Use that Secondary Dimension Tab!
This little tab lets you add a whole new dimension to your reports. For instance, this report only showed our top landing pages. But when we used the secondary dimension tab and chose "Social Network" we could see the breakdown of where people were coming from for each of those landing pages. There are many, many ways you can add to your reports with that tab.
7. Create Goals In Your Reporting
One of the powerful tools we use in Google Analytics is goal reporting (if you need help with this check out this article on how to create GA Goals). One of our goals is to achieve 2 page views per visit because our focus is on engagement and community as opposed to traffic. So we track this in analytics and this allows us to get so much information.
I know we are far more likely to achieve at least 2 pages visits from people who are referred to us by another website (not a social platform) or who come through our newsletters. And we get our most page views from our newsletters that are shared via public mailchimp links (likely shared by our newsletter readers with friends). Very few people who arrive via social or organic search stick around long enough to click through to another page.
There's a lot of things I can consider from this one piece of information:
- do our search traffic visitors want quick answers to their questions?
- could I do a better job of showing search traffic related content?
- could I lay out our posts better?
- should I increase our newsletter frequency?
- should I search out collaboration opportunities with other websites?
- should I reach out to our biggest referral sites to thank them and ask how we can work together more?
- should I publish links to our public newsletters on social media or on our website?
All that to think about from just one goal!
This is just a tiny handful of the information you can glean from your analytics - there's so much more you can do with secondary dimensions, advanced queries and some filtering. You can also view real time visits (warning - it's addictive), use your reports to determine which content needs and SEO overhaul, which can be deleted and more!
It all depends on how curious you are and how deep you're willing to dive down. We encourage you to start clicking, adding dimensions, comparing time periods and poking about. You can't break anything and the information can be fascinating! If you're looking to go deeper we suggest checking out YouTube for lots of tutorials
What are some of your favourite ways to use google analytics?
- Google Analytics: The Valuable Metrics for Food Bloggers
- Google Analytics: Creating Goals and Reporting
- Create a Custom Google Analytics Report For Country Page Views