How to Use Google Analytics Effectively to Grow Your Blogging Business?

How To Use Google Analytics Effectively To Grow Your Blogging Business

To sharpen your marketing strategy and get the maximum benefit from your blogging business you need to know how to use Google analytics. Here is a detailed guide.

To sharpen your marketing strategy and get the maximum benefit from your blogging business you need to know how to use Google analytics.

Google analytics is an excellent tool which you want to pay for. But the good news is, it’s completely free. Thanks to Google.

Most of the new bloggers install this on their blog. Because they hear something good about it from someone.

But they completely ignore it.

I would also ignore it once. The reason was I don’t love just some numbers, graphs and data. Who loves!

Once I learned how to use this amazing tool, I quickly became a fan of it.

I think you also ignore it because you don’t know the benefits of using it or you don’t know how to use it.

In this guide, I’ll share everything you need to know how to use Google Analytics to grow your blogging business. I promise I’ll make the thing as simple as possible.

To give you a quick review, I’ll share –

  • The benefits of using Google Analytics for your blogging business
  • How to set up a Google Analytics account
  • How to install Google Analytics to your WordPress blog
  • And finally, how to use various features of this tool as a blogger.

I assure you, once you finish reading this guide you’ll be a fan of Google Analytics.

Why Should You Use Google Analytics For Your Blog?

You’re trying heart and soul to make your blog profitable. But you aren’t getting any return.

Why?

Because you’re blogging in the dark.

You don’t know about your readers – their expectations, their pain points.

You don’t know what should be your blog marketing strategy.

You don’t know what should be your content strategy-the type of blog post you publish on your blog.

To help you get out of the darkness, the Google Analytics exists.

So, let’s see what can Google Analytics do for you?

Simply say, a lot.

You can see –

  • Where your readers are coming from
  • Where they are going
  • Which country you are getting most readers from
  • Their demographics
  • Number of visitors in a time block
  • Your most popular posts, etc.

What’s more?

Google Analytics is completely free to use. Love you Google.

But to get all of this information, you first need to set up Google Analytics to your blog.

How To Add Google Analytics To Your WordPress Blog?

As I’m a fan of WordPress blogging platform and recommend my readers to use self-hosted WordPress blogging platform, I’ll share how to add google analytics to your WordPress blog.

To install Google analytics to your WordPress blog, you need to complete the following three steps

  1. Setup a Google analytics account
  2. Copy the tracking ID of your account
  3. Install the code on your blog

Step 1: Setup A Google Analytics Account

To set up a Google analytics account, you’ll need a Gmail account.

I think you already have a Gmail account. If you don’t have, create one by clicking here. It won’t take much time.

Now go to Google Analytics and sign in using your Gmail.

Click on the Admin link in the left menubar and fill all the required information.

  • Account name: can be anything
  • Website name: your blog name
  • Website Url: your blog URL
  • Industry/category: should relevant to your blogging niche

Step2: Copy The Tracking Id For Your Account

Go to Admin > Property settings > Tracking info and then click on Tracking code. You’ll get the code. The code looks like UA-30685732-1.

Step3: Install The Code On Your Blog

There are two ways to install the tracking code on your blog – Manually or using a plugin.

As a newbie blogger, I won’t recommend you the first one. The second one is the most preferable way and it is easy.

So let’s discuss how to install Google analytics tracking code using a WordPress plugin.

First of all, install the Google Analytics plugin on your WordPress blog.

After successfully installed the plugin, go to your WordPress dashboard>Setting>google analytics and paste the tracking code which you get from your Google analytics account.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed Goggle analytics on your WordPress blog.

If you check your analytics account just now, you won’t get much data. You need to give it at least 24 hours to show you something.

What Metrics You Actually Need To Track On Google Analytics

You can get many types of data from Google analytics. Someone May uses these data. But as a blogger, you don’t need to track all kind of data.

At least, in the beginning, you won’t be able to use all these metrics. You just need to track some metrics which you can use in your favor.

So, which metrics you actually need to track from Google analytics?

Let’s see.

Your Most Popular Posts: When you know that which types of post your readers love most, you’ll rearrange your content strategy.

From the google analytics, you can know which of your posts are popular in a given time.

Which Country You Are Getting More Readers From: When you know that which country most of your readers reside in, it’ll help you to promote affiliate products effectively.

Landing Page: In Google analytics, when readers access your blog using a page, that is called landing page.

When you know that which page your readers are using most to access your blog, you can optimize that page for your benefits. Such as you can show your email signup form on that page.

Exit Page: When your readers leave your blog after reading a specific page, that page is call exit page in Google analytics.

From Google Analytics, you can know which is the most used exit page of your blog.

When your readers are leaving your blog using a particular page, there can be many reasons-either your readers don’t enjoy the post or they don’t know where they should go after reading that post.

You can link some of your best posts from that page. At least you can show them where they should go after reading the post.

Your Best Source Of Traffic: We use many marketing channels to promote our blog. Such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

We can’t know which channel actually send us more readers.

Google analytics can help you with this.

When you know, which channel is the best source of your blog readers, you can rearrange your marketing strategy.

The Google analytics can actually give you much more insights of your blog. But initially, you’ll be overwhelmed if I show all of them here in this post. And this can be a reason for not using Google analytics.

But if you want to be successful in the blogging business, you can’t ignore google analytics. And you need to learn how to use Google analytics.

As a beginner, you just need to start using it. Once you are proficient with it, you’ll be able to get many other metrics.

So, Let’s see how we can use Google analytics. To make the things easy for you, I’ve created a “Google Analytics Cheat Sheet” for you. You can download it free by clicking on the link below.

Download Google Analytics cheat sheet for free (Item#6).

How To Use Google Analytics As A Beginner Blogger?

Google analytics can provide you huge types of data and metric.

This huge types of data and metrics often make a blogger overwhelm.

You don’t need to track all types of data. You just need some specific types of data and metrics to make your blogging business successful.

I’ll discuss which specific types of data you actually need.

Let’s first explore Google analytics.

Google analytics has nine different options in the left side menubar. Those are-

  1. Home
  2. Customization
  3. Real-time
  4. Audience
  5. Acquisition
  6. Behavior
  7. Conversion
  8. Discover
  9. Admin

Once you start using this awesome free tool, you’ll find yourself most of the time on the Audience, Acquisition and Behavior options.

So, I’ll discuss those three options in details how you can use them to get more insight of your blog.

Let’s begin…

Audience – It Tells Who Is Reading Your Blog

The Audience option can give you –

  • Location and language of your readers
  • Device type your readers are using
  • Some behavioral data

Once you click on Audience option, you’ll find following sub-options under it.

Audience option can answer the following questions-

Q1: where do your readers live?

Q2: How are your readers accessing your blog?

Q3: How long are readers staying on your blog?

Q4: How many are returning visitors?

Let’s discuss how to find the answer to those questions and how to use them to boost your blogging business?

Q1: where do your readers live?

Understanding where your readers live is very important. Especially if you are targeting some specific countries.

For example, if you are targeting readers from Bangladesh but most of your blog readers are from the USA, that will not give you many benefits.

When you know that where your most visitors are coming from you can rearrange your marketing strategy.

To check where are you getting readers from, navigate to:

Audience>Geo>Location

Q2: How are your readers accessing your blog?

Once upon a time, when most of the visitors access to a blog or website using a computer.

Nowadays, various types of device are used. It is now obvious that most of the online readers use a mobile device to browse online.

So, you need to make sure your blog is performing well in all types of device.

But how do you know which device your readers are using most to access your blog?

Google analytics can help with this.

Go to: Audience>Mobile>Overview

With this, you get to know which device/brand your readers are using most to access your blog.

You need to check some metrics to know your blog is performing well in all types of device. Those are Bounce rate, Average session duration, and pages per session.

These metrics should be similar to all types of device. If these metrics vary in a particular device, there must be some problem.

You should find out the problem.

Your blog may not perform well on that particular device.

Q3: How long are readers staying on your blog?

It is said that reader engagement is essential to your blogging success. The more engaged your blog posts are, the more search engines love that post.

But there is no direct metric to know how engaged your blog posts are.

In Google analytics, there is a metric which is directly related to engagement – session duration. This will tell you how much time your readers are spending on your blog before bouncing away.

Go to: Audience>behavior>engagement

Here you can see the overall session duration data for your whole blog.

Keep in mind that most new visitors spend relatively less time on your blog – that is the nature of the web. But if you don’t have 10% of your sessions lasting at least 60 seconds, you may have a problem with your content in an engagement perspective.

Q4: How many are returning visitors?

Loyal readers are important for your blogging success. Loyal readers are those who visit your blog again and again.

As a blogger, you need to focus on keeping your old readers and promote your blog for more new readers.

The audience option of google analytics dashboard can help you know how many of your readers are new and how many are returning.

Go to: Audience>overview

Here you’ll see a pie chart showing new versus returning visitors.

If you want to see a more in-depth look at how visitors are using your blog, go to: Audience>Behavior>new vs returning.

Acquisition – It Tells How Readers Come To Your Blog

There are many ways readers can come to your blog.

For example, some come to your blog by searching on Google, some can find your blog on social media sites, some can visit your blog by typing your blog URL directly on the browser, etc.

The acquisition section tells you how readers came to your blog.

The good thing is that you’ll find how your blog performs on different channels.

So, let’s see which questions Acquisition section can answer for us.

Q1: What is the best source of your blog traffic?

Q2: What is your best performing content in each source

Q1: What is the best source of your blog traffic?

The acquisition section of Google analytics can tell how many readers you are getting from different sources (such as search engines, social media site, etc).

To find out this go to: Acquisition > all traffic > channels

As you can see in the image above, there are many types of traffic sources.

I would like to describe a little bit of each source –

Organic search: These are the visitors you get from search engines. Organic traffic tells you how much search engine loves your content.

Direct: This is the traffic when someone gets your blog by typing your blog URL directly on browser’s address bar or clicking on a bookmarked link. These are your loyal readers.

Referral: When someone gets to your blog by clicking on a link on another website, those visitors are called referral. This normally happens when someone links you back from his blog or when you guest blog on other blogs.

You’ll get an idea how much website owner or blog owner loves your content.

Social: These are the visitors who get to your blog by clicking on the link shared on social media. Social traffic tells you how much people love your content on social media.

Comparing all the traffic sources, you’ll be able to know which is your best traffic source.

You can also drill down further to get the insights of each traffic source.

Q2: What is your best performing content in each source

Not all of your content perform same in different channels. If one of your posts performs well in social media, it doesn’t necessary that the post will perform well in organic search.

From the acquisition section of Google analytics dashboard, you can see which posts perform well in different traffic channel.

Go to: Acquisition > all traffic > channels

And click on a traffic source (for example: Organic search).

You can see your best performing posts on that particular channel.

When you know about the best performing content in each traffic channel you can tweak your content strategy.

Behavior – It Tells How And Where Your Readers Are Spending Time On Your Blog.

The first two options of Google analytics I’ve discussed above – Audience and Acquisition – give you valuable insights about who read your blog and how they come there.

Now we’ll explore the third option- Behavior.

By analyzing behavior section you’ll find your best performing contents and the contents that aren’t performing well that you need to be rewritten or redesigned.

So, let’s see which questions Behavior option can answer.

Q1: Which content do readers love most?

Q2: Which contents are most likely to make readers bounce?

Q1: which content do readers love most?

Rather than analyzing your blog as a whole, it’s more beneficial to analyze your individual post.

Data like which of your post gets more pageviews and which of your post has best reader engagement can help you write more reader engaging posts.

Go to: Behavior > site content > all pages and sort the contents by pageviews (it’s sorted by default. If it isn’t, click on the pageviews column. The down arrow is visible if it’s sorted by that column).

From the pageviews column, you’ll know that which of your blog posts get more clicks.

As bloggers, we also need to focus on readers’ engagement. So, we need to find out which are our most engaging blog posts.

From this section, you can easily get the data.

Just sort the data by clicking on the “avrg time on page” column on the same page.

From the data of this column, you’ll know that which post your readers are spending their time most on. Based on this, you can write more similar posts.

Q2: Which contents are most likely to make readers bounce?

It’s normal that readers will leave your blog for one reason or another. You have to accept that.

But you need to make sure readers are not leaving your blog for unwanted reasons.

Readers leave your blog for both good and bad reasons.

When readers leave your blog after visiting your signup page or contact page, that is good sign.

But when visitors leave your blog after visiting one of your core posts, that is a bad sign. Either they don’t know where to go after visiting the post or the design of you blog make them to leave your blog.

In Google analytics, the last page a reader visit is called exit page. From Google Analytics, you can get the data of the exit rate of any specific page or post of your blog.

Go to:

Behavior > Site content > Exit pages

Sort the data by clicking on the “%exit” column. Now you can see which page of your blog has most exit rate.

Now the question is what percentage of exit rate is normal?

It is said that 50% exit rate is normal for any page. Anything below 50% is good. But the exit rate above 50% is a bad sign. You need to focus on the content which has the exit rate above 50%. You need to optimize the post.

Before optimizing the post, you may want to make sure the post has decent amount of pageviews.

So, what should you do to reduce the exit rate of the post?

  • You can include more internal links
  • You can insert your signup form
  • You can show where readers should go after reading the post.

Conclusion

If you want to grow your blog effectively, you have to analyze your blog’s analytical data. And Google Analytics is a free tool which can help you most on this.

Most of the time we don’t use Google analytics either we don’t know how to use it or the various types of data in it just make us overwhelmed.

Like anything else, the best way to learn using Google Analytics is just to start using it.

I’ve just shown you some common options in Google Analytics. Once you start using it you’ll discover many analytical data and reports in it which can help you to grow your blog effectively.

So, don’t blog in the dark. Start using Google Analytics to blog effectively.

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