I'm not going to lie - I look at my blog stats. So many people tell you to blog for yourself, and not worry about the numbers, but I find this a load of nonsense. Of course you need some idea of your blog stats to help guide you in the right direction in blogging, they help you determine who your content is attracting, discover which posts are most popular amongst your readers, and help you run your website or blog easily and efficiently.
For months I have been using the default Blogger stats, which are great as a starting point for anyone looking at blogging seriously. However I wanted more, and after reading lots of reviews online I decided to have a go with Google Analytics. Now, I have attempted to install Google Analytics quite a few times in the past (unsuccessfully, may I add) so I was a little wary. I signed myself up, set up the code and waited. It says it usually takes between 24 - 48 hours to set up on your website, but I found results at around 18 hours later.
Altogether I had to use about 10 tutorials to get the grips with Google Analytics, which is quite a lot considering it is meant to be easy to use. After that experience, I decided to make a short 3 step guide on how to use Google Analytics to help develop your blog.
DOWNLOADING GOOGLE ANALYTICS ONTO YOUR BLOG
This step isn't hard at all but it does include quite a bit of information to take in, so in that case I will direct you to this tutorial which will guide you through all of the steps of installing Google Analytics onto your blog. It is a excellent tutorial, and is the very one I used myself as it is very clear and easy to follow!
UNDERSTANDING THE DATA
One of the things I think people get most confused about when using Google Analytics is the amount of data that is available for your blog. There are several different features, each with a valuable contribution and a help to you when you look at your blog stats. As I mentioned before, Google Analytics says that data can take between 24 - 48 hours to appear, but it is different for everyone. There are lots of different features, but these are just a few of my favourites. Oh, and yes - these are screenshots of my own data, unlike others I don't really mind if you see them. Quite a bit of data is missing, as you can see as I only set this up on Sunday!
The audience overview is one of the most important features of Google Analytics. It includes so much data, and really helps you get to grips with the most essential parts of your blog.
Sessions - the period time a visitor is actively engaged with your website.
Users - visitors that have had at least one session within the selected date range. Includes both new and returning users.
Page Views - the total amount of times pages are viewed on your site.
Pages/Session - the average number of pages that users visited per session.
Avg. Session Duration- the average length of a session.
Bounce Rate - the percentage of users who only viewed one page before leaving your site.
If you can see, the little pie chart at the bottom shows the percentage of new and returning visitors. The green shows the percentage returning visitors I have, (who I am very happy to see) and the blue shows the number of new visitors coming to my blog. I am quite happy with this, as it means plenty of traffic is coming in but if I were to say one thing to improve on, I would like a slight increase in returning visitors. My bounce rate is okayish, but ideally I would like it to be below 45%. Factors that can reduce your bounce rate is things like Related Posts widgets and I plan to be adding one soon.
This is by far by favourite feature, and I think it is just because I am nosey! Whenever I publish a new post, I always like to watch the active users go up and see how long they spend on my blog. This helps because if they only spend 30 seconds on my blog then click off, the chances are that they didn't like the post and found it boring or not useful to them. However if they spend, lets say 5 minutes on my blog, then the content I have posted is obviously interesting and useful to that visitor.
The picture is a screenshot of Real Time in use. This was captured at around 8:00 last night, (hello, 8pm visitor!) and it tells me that, because only one person was browsing my site, 8 pm isn't really a very popular posting time - but lets flash back to that morning around 8am when 12 visitors were browsing and reading my latest post, that is the time to post!
This is also a really helpful feature, it shows a much more detailed graph than Blogger about where your site is being viewed and by how many people. This will help me focus my content onto certain areas that I may not be writing about in terms of language, celebrations etc, that could potentially gain me more visitors.
My Dashboard also shows which browser your site is being viewed in, which is great to know. Why? This means you should test out all of these browsers to view your website so you can make sure your design works well in all browsers, if you haven't already!
WHAT SHOULD YOU PAY ATTENTION TO?
As there is so much data available to you and your blog, I don't think anyone would blame you if you skipped half of it and just read your favourite features. However, these are the things I think you should pay attention to, just so you can maximise your blog stats development as much as possible.
On what day/s do you get the most pageviews?
What are readers searching for on your blog?
Has someone mentioned you somewhere on the internet?
What are your most popular posts?
Do they match your blog's theme? Did you enjoy writing them?
How many people return to your blog? Are they your vision of ideal readers?
Is your blog design compatible with all of the browsers?
Have you installed Google Analytics? Did this guide help you at all?
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