3 Actionable Tips to Improve Your Blog with Google Analytics

google analytics When was the last time you looked at the Google Analytics for your blog?

Last month? Last year? Never?

Now here’s another question for you, when’s the last time you looked at your Google Analytics and took action on something you saw in there?

Um, Never?

That’s where this post is going to come in and give you 3 easy actions to actually put all that great info to good use. So you can stop opening it up, looking at your pageviews and then going cross eyed before you close it again.

1. Improve Top Posts & Pages

Where to Look in Analytics

Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages

Why it’s Important

Your blog likely has a few posts that make up the lion’s share of your traffic. They’ve either been linked to by an influential website or they might have hit the search engine jackpot.

Whatever the reason, you want to optimize those posts a bit differently than the rest of your blog.

What to Do

First, update the post if it’s a bit out of date. Posts that pull in high traffic from search engines consistently are often a bit older and may need a touch up. You can add additional content making it a more thorough resource or just update what’s already there making sure it shows off your best stuff.

Second, add an email opt-in to the post to capture some of that traffic as an ongoing email subscriber. Traffic is great but if it comes and then leaves again, it’s not doing you any long term good. Email subscriptions ensure that you continue building relationships with your new readers.

2. Figure Out Visitor Flow

Behaviour FlowWhere to Look in Analytics

Behaviour > Behavior Flow

Why It’s Important

You no doubt spend a little time working on your blog design and layout. Switching up navigation, changing the sidebars around, and on and on it goes. Days can be lost to blog fiddling!

When you look objectively at what your visitors click on when they land on your homepage, you’ll get a crystal clear picture of what’s more important to them (and what never gets clicked on.)

What to Do

For this example, I’m going to take a look at just the traffic that lands on the homepage to see where people go from there. You can select any different number of entry pages, just click the one you want to look at in the chart.

When you land on Behavior Flow you’re going to see a chart that shows you have visitors are moving through your site. It’s going to look a bit like this:

behaviour flow

As you can see from the yellow circle in the upper left corner of the graphic, this chart is isolating the homepage landing traffic. It’s designating by the “/”. I can see from the chart that the majority of people go from the home page to WordPress Tutorials which is the blog, then Services, then the WordPress Blog Design Services page, etc.

Now that you know where people go, it’s time to ask yourself:

  1. Where do you want people to go from this particular page? How can you change your navigation, add a button, better link color, remove distractions, etc. to encourage the behavior you want.
  2. What items in your navigation/on the page are not being clicked on? If you have a lot of navigation items or clickable items that aren’t being used, it’s a good idea to cut remove the clutter and focus on a few, very important ones. When people have less choice they often click more because it’s not so overwhelming to choose. Make changes and see how that affects your visitor flow a month from now.

3. Focus on What Works

AcquisitionsWhere to Look in Analytics

Acquisition > All Traffic

Acquisition > All Referrals

Why It’s Important

Blindly focusing on building pageviews is not only frustrating but it’s also not the best way to grow traffic because all traffic isn’t created equal.

You can get a flood of traffic from Stumbleupon or another social media site but look at the time on site for that traffic.

It’s often much lower than your other traffic sources.

Traffic that comes and goes are not the folks who are signing up for your email subscriptions or becoming part of your community.

Take a look to see where most of your visitors are coming from, both sorted by Sessions (higher volume of visits)

referral sources copyand by Avg. Session Duration to see which sites are sending you traffic that are highly engaged with your content:

referral copy

Maybe at first glance 149 visitors might not seem like a lot but they had a very low bounce rate (meaning they looked at more than one page) and their time on site was way longer than average. I also have Google Goals set up for my email subscriptions so I know that those two traffic sources signed up for my email list at nearly 70%. To put this in perspective, more people signed up for my blog posts from 149 visitors than from the 6,229 Pinterest sent over.

Quality over quantity.

What to Do

After you see which traffic sources are doing well for you in terms of average session duration, pages per session etc. focus on curating more of those traffic sources instead of going after big flashy numbers. You’ll see more blog signups, more engagement and better community as a result.

Additional Resources

  1. How to install Google Analytics on a WordPress blog
  2. Creating Goals in Google Analytics
  3. Google Analytics Spreadsheet for Google Drive : let’s you see only the data you want in a simple to use spreadsheet.

Have you ever opened your Analytics just to have your eyes gloss over and close it again? I’d love to know how you use it to better your blog or maybe how you plan to use it now!

Comments

  1. says

    I am SO glad I finally made time to read this post. I have avoided Analytics because I never knew what I’d do once I had the info. This blog post is pure gold. I’m going to get my analytics on right now!!!!

    And then I’m going to optimize my post that I call “my lucky post” because SEO magically brings people to it all the time.

    Once again, Blog Genie saves the day. :)

  2. says

    Google analytics, numbers, visitors and stuff like that is absolutely OK!
    But in my opinion, posting and writing whatever you really enjoy and have fun with it is more important. Thinking of numbers becomes stressful, don’t you think?
    Anyway, thanks for one more interesting article!

  3. says

    So I’ve checked out my stats and find that most of my traffic comes in to read a specific post and then goes on their way. So now I’m left pondering the question of “where would I like them to go from the posts they are at?” What is my goal for their visit?

    Like so often happens when I’m working with blog genie stuff, now I’m having to put deep thought into my bigger picture. :)

    If you have any recommendations, strategies or tips, I think I see a future blog post in your future that would help me greatly!!

  4. says

    Great post Rita. I’m constantly trying to learn/understand more about analytics for both my personal sites as well as the one I maintain for work. As an extra measure of traffic and more specifically WHERE, some traffic is coming from, I use bitly links VERY frequently. For example to track where a click through on my site came from, I might create a banner in the side bar and instead of just linking to another pages URL, I create a bitly link so I know exactly how many times that banner was clicked. It helps me understand the flow and see which banners are grabbing peoples attention and which aren’t. I use it for home page sliders as well to see just how many people are clicking that home page banner etc. Thanks for the info!

  5. says

    Love this post! I do look at google analytics, but aside from just comparing numbers from month to month I never really gave much thought into viewer engagement. You’ve given me a new way to look at numbers and my site in general. Excellent, thank you so much!

  6. says

    Ive only been blogging for a little over a year. I downloaded Gaget for my phone and another app for my ipad. I use analytics for tracking referrers but not to the extent this post suggests. I realize it’s not brand new, but someone in my feed tweeted it today and I am glad they did. Very useful. Thank you.

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