Getting to know Google Analytics is important for any blogger, regardless of blogging experience or niche. Utilizing Google Analytics reporting tools can give you and your team a better understanding of what is working for your blog, what readers are interested and engaging in, and where readers are finding you. When you know what areas you’re doing well in and what areas need improvement, you can change your blogging strategy to reach more and more readers.
It isn’t difficult to understand how to use Google Analytics, but it is important to know what you should be looking at. This guide can help you break down what areas of Google Analytics to examine and track, how to create a Google Analytics report, and overall how to get a better understanding of what your readers are looking for.
Getting to Know Google Analytics
Before you can begin doing any analytics tracking, you’ll need to set up your Google Analytics page for your blog if you haven’t already. Setting up your page is easy and the Google Analytics page will walk you through the necessary steps. Once you’re in Google Analytics, you’ll be met with a dashboard full of numbers, charts, graphics and more that explains who is looking at your profile, where those people are coming from, and how long they engage with your blog.
All the information you need is there, but you need to understand where to find it, which numbers are most important to developing a strong strategy for getting new followers, and which charts you should be tracking. Your goals will ultimately determine which areas you will use, but for bloggers, the most important sections are usually the same.
Areas to Track
Before you can begin a strategy to get more blog followers, you’ll need to figure out what you’re doing that is working and what you’re doing that isn’t working. This can be done by looking at a few key areas of your Google Analytics report.
But the very first step you need to take before jumping in to Google Analytics is to determine what your goals are. Growing readership looks different to every blogger and will largely depend on where your blog is currently and where you would like it to go. If you are just starting out, your goals will look much different than someone who has been blogging for years. Your goals will determine your area of focus.
Most Popular Pages
One of the many beneficial measurement tracking components of Google Analytics is page views and the time spent on each page. Seeing which posts are visited frequently and commonly read all the way through can give you an idea of the kinds of posts your audience enjoys.
To find which posts are your most popular, begin on the “Pages” section of Google Analytics. Along the sidebar, find “Behavior,” then select the subcategory “Site Content.” Finally, select the “All Pages” option.
This should pull up a grid detailing your most popular pages, including the number of visits to that page as well as the time spent on that page. There are a few things to consider in this area. If you post a variety of lengths in regards to your blog, the time spent on each page may be skewed. Longer posts obviously take longer time to read, so you shouldn’t confuse long page view times with popularity. You also should consider that certain pages, like a landing page, will probably have more views than other posts, but people usually leave these pages relatively quickly. Use both the time spent on the page and the number of views on the page in relation to each other to determine which posts have received the best response.
Another thing you will want to consider before starting your strategy is where your readers are coming from. This information will be crucial when understanding which social media platforms to target in your strategy to get new followers.
To find a detailed account of your readers, you’ll want to go the “Acquisition” section of the sidebar. Then select “Social.” This will give you an overview of where your social media pages are doing their job of turning posts into views to the website. It will also give you an idea of which social media pages your readers are engaging with and what pages might need an updated strategy.
How to Get Blog Followers
Now that you understand the most basic areas of Google Analytics you should be addressing, you can begin addressing your strategy. Your overall goals will determine what steps you should be taking to get more blog followers.
Create Great Content
The first step in getting more blog followers is to create posts that your readers want to see. This can be done by looking at your popular pages and determining what areas you were successful in. If most of your readers are interested in a particular topic, you should create similar posts in that niche. If a particular category of posts is getting little attention, you may want to consider dropping that topic from your blog.
This pathway is best advised for bloggers who are looking to increase their return readers, get more subscribers, and take blog visitors from occasional reader to part of the community.
Promote Your Blog
If you are looking to get entirely new or more followers and readers, you may want to consider promoting your blog on social media platforms. This pathway can go two different ways, depending on the information given to you from Google Analytics.
If you find that one of your social media platforms isn’t performing to the standards you were expecting, consider doing a promotional post on that website. For example, if you find that most of your social media acquisition comes from Facebook but very little comes from Twitter, consider promoting your blog on Twitter more.
On the other hand, you could promote more exclusively to the social media platform with the most engagements. This could better ensure that your loyal following is getting the most information and updates about your blog, again taking them from casual readers to dedicated followers.
To have a successful blog, you’ll also need to have great web design and make sure your website is mobile friendly, but using Google Analytics can give you a great understanding of where do your readers come from, who are they and what are they looking for.
Google Analytics is able to take the guessing game out of content creation and promotion, given you a clear indication of what content is resonating best with your followers and what social media pages are getting the most traffic. When you understand what is working for you and your blog, you can create a better strategy for targeting and attacking new followers.
To be successful in Google Analytics isn’t difficult. You just need to understand what your blogging goals are and what areas on Google Analytics to track. For starters, popular pages and acquisition are the most important. As you continue to understand your audience and readership, this information can be applied in a number of different ways to develop a more targeted promotional strategy.