Throughout January we will be running our 31 Day Blog Challenge: 31 days to clean up, grow and improve your blog. What better time than the start of a new year to get things sorted and ready to go for a brand new year of blogging?
We'll be sharing 31 tips, ideas, and strategies for you to get things in order and make blogging easier. This is Day 18.
If you have a blog, you should have a Google Analytics account and we know most of you probably do. Here's a few reasons why:
- If you want to work with brands, or anyone who wants to know your readership, Google Analytics is considered the standard for stats reporting
- Even if you don't want to work with brands, 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 we found an up to date tutorial that lays it all out nicely for you.
Dive Deeper Into Your Analytics
Virtually all of us who use Google Anlaytics can recite how many visitors 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 deeper than what we're going to point out!
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?
Goolge 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 rss/email subscribe notifications go out.
3. Where are they coming from?
You can see how many of your visitors find you from search engines, how many come from social media, how many come from referral sites and how many land directly on your site. You can even see how many come from your rss/email feeds (go to Acquisition ->Campaigns - then in the chart, click on the blue link so it opens to show how many come from your email feed, your rss feed etc)
4. What Social Networks Give the Most Bang For Your Buck?
We found this so useful here at FBC - we were able to determine which social media network sent us the most traffic. That was easy. But more interesting was, which network sent the most engaged readers. We found that our top three social networks were close in terms of how many people they sent our way but, readers from one particular network spent far more time on the site and visited far more pages than the other two. This can be invaluable in helping you decide which network to put the bulk of your effort into.
5. 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.
This is just a tiny handful of the information you can glean from your analytics - there's so much more, including demographics of your readers, setting and tracking goals, following the paths that readers take. It's a whole class on it's own.
But, 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!
Search Terms in Google Analytics
You can still view the search terms that readers use to get to your blog through search engines but it's not as useful as it used to be since Google turned everyone's search to private. The results you get are mainly from Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. But, there is still a way to access that google information and we'll be covering that in the coming days!
What are some of your favourite ways to use google analytics?