One of the first things I do behind-the-scenes after starting a new site is to setup an analytic tool to help me keep track, monitor and measure visitors to the blog. It is important to make sense of the visitor data so you can identify the best strategies and put them in place.
My favourite tool for this is Google Analytics. It is amazing and it is free. Google Analytics just got dramatically improved and real-time stats monitoring has been introduced, so it was about time for me to show you how I use Google Analytics to grow my site.
You need a Google account to sign up for Google Analytics. It is a very quick process to setup your website in Google Analytics. Google Analytics for WordPress is the easy way to integrate Google Analytics onto your site.
What metrics are important?
In Visitors I look at the overview of visitors to my blog. I place emphasis on the number of unique visitors, number of pages people look at per visit and the amount of time people spend on site. I aim to have 2+ pages per visit and 1.30+ minutes spent on site per visit.
Tip: You can install mobile app like Simple Analytics Widget on Android for quick overview on your phone home screen
In Visitors – Demographics you can see the geographical breakdown of your visitors. This may be important if your blog focuses on some specific demographics. My blog is born global so I like traffic from anywhere.
In Visitors – Behaviour look at the percentage of new visitors vs returning visitors. My blog has a large number of new visitors from search engines with different “make a blog” keyword phrases so I tend to focus most of the front page and content on this target demographic.
In Visitors – Technology take a look at browsers your visitors use. Make sure to test that your blog looks and functions properly in the browsers that most of your visitors use.
In Visitors – Mobile you can see how many of your visitors surf with mobile devices. In my case it is around 5%. In case your blog gets a lot of mobile visitors it is advisable to get a mobile blog design.
In Traffic Sources I look at where the visitors are coming from. I find answers to questions like are my blog posts keywords optimized for SEO, what keyword phrases people type to find my blog and what blog posts rank well in search engines.
Tip: Limit the time you spend on analytics. Focus on important tasks like writing blog posts and promoting your blog.
In Content I see which blog posts and pages get the most traffic. I also see individual breakdown over how interesting my posts are i.e. how long time people spend on them. Analyse which posts are more sticky and try to replicate the features of those posts in the posts you will be writing in the future.
For a bit more advanced analytics, dig deeper into Content – In-Page Analytics. This actually shows you which links on your site visitors are clicking on and calculates the percentages of clicks on different parts of the site. For example in my case on the front page of my blog some 70% of clicks happen around the header / navigation area.
Time for you to take action
Time for you to take some action, review your analytics and see what they teach you about your content and visitors.
Which Google Analytics metrics do you focus on and why?