Updated January 4, 2018
How to Use Google Analytics as a Blogger
Google Analytics (GA) is definitely not the end-all-be-all, but it should be a large part of your life as a blogger.
Google Analytics tells you so many key insights into what your audience is doing.
It can be really confusing, but I’m going to simplify it into a few main elements that can really really add value to your content strategy.
Specifically, Google Analytics should be guiding your content strategy.
If you’re trying to be strategic about your blogging and turn it into a real side income or even possibly full-time, you should be looking at your user behavior in Google Analytics to guide your content.
1. What pages are getting the most views?
Audience –> Overview
This is the basic view of your Google Analytics.
The goal is to keep readers on-site and engaging with your pages.
This means you need enough content to keep them interested, and you need to be building on that content every week to keep them coming back.
Behavior –> Overview
Now, you can drill down to exactly how many pageviews individual pieces of content are getting.
Basically, your top performing content.
So, look at your highest performing content on site.
2. What pages are readers spending the most time on?
The above screenshot is breaking down where readers are on Slightly Savvy – basically, my top performing content.
Almost 80% of my blog traffic is from Pinterest – Pinterest has been AMAZING for growing my traffic + audience.
You can also see exactly what posts get the most engagement – and build related content off that specific topic.
Related Reading: How to Work with Brands as a Blogger: Roadmap + Checklist –> here
3. What pages are they exiting quickly?
Behavior –> Site Content –> All Pages
Exit values are on the far right of this screenshot.
4. What does your bounce rate look like overall?
Audience –> Overview
If your bounce rate is high, be aware of where you’re promoting your content.
It might not be the right place to reach your target audience.
For example, let’s talk interest group boards. I’m a huge fan of them. However, I think it’s important to be careful.
If you’re only pinning your pins to really general group board, chances are people are clicking on your content when they aren’t really your target audience.
Join some niche Pinterest group board.
For example, if you’re a self-care blogger, I’ve seen tons of self-care group boards, natural remedy group boards, essential oils group boards, etc.
These people are going to be WAY more interested in your targeted self-care content.
5. What does your user flow look like?
Behavior –> Behavior Flow
What are your users doing when they finish a blog post?
Are they leaving your blog?
Are they clicking on another page?
Are they going to your homepage?
Related Reading: 2 PR Ways to Growth Hack Your Audience –> here
6. Are your outbound links being clicked?
WordPress admin page –> Jetpack –> Site Stats –> Clicks (bottom right)
This is a great way to tell if your readers are really interested and if they see you as an authority on the subject. You can use bit.ly links to track clicks on your outbound links, or there’s a widget through WordPress that shows you.
Especially if you are using affiliate links to monetize your blog, you need to know if they’re working or not.
♡ tips for outbound links
1. People were definitely clicking the 3rd party, organic advice I was linking to – other fave bloggers, other posts on the topic, etc. – not only does this bring value to your readers, but it helps your own SEO ranking
2. For those outbound posts I was linking to, I decided to let the other bloggers know I was linking to their content….a quick email or twitter DM with the below message never hurts. 80% of the time, people are more happy to give you a quick retweet or shout out – especially if you are driving more traffic to THEIR blog (give them value FIRST, ask for something SECOND)
Hey girl! Loved your post on 25 smart ways to drive traffic via Pinterest – I tried out tip #3 and it really helped! I wrote a blog post about building your Pinterest following, and I linked out to your post. Would love if you wanted to share/retweet! <3 [link to your blog post]
7. Where are your users coming from?
Acquisition –> Overview
♡ your to do
1. Get down into your traffic acquisition – are users coming from Pinterest staying on site longer? Do people coming from Facebook bounce?
2. This can tell you how to allocate your time + energy as a blogger…
Is your Facebook traffic low-quality?
Then, make your FB posting automated via Hootsuite or Buffer, and spend time on your Pinterest traffic – following people, joining group boards, pinning from those boards, leaving comments on pins, etc.
For me, I have a Goal set up in GA for people who spend more than 5 min on site.
Readers coming from Pinterest were 9X more likely to spend more than 5 minutes on Slightly Savvy.
Other Key Stats From Google Analytics
♡ mobile vs desktop – Audience –> Mobile –> Overview
I believe in mobile-only, especially once I actually looked at my actual traffic breakdown.
♡ how to better format your posts for mobile
1. Pay attention to formatting – use bold, use big headers, short paragraphs, center text…make it easier for people to read on mobile.
2. Pay attention to photos – are most of your photos horizontal? If so, then you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage. Those photos are probably going to take up a ton of space on mobile and create a lot of white space for your reader
3. End of content – what is at the end of your blog post? On mobile, readers aren’t going to have a sidebar to look at.
Make an incredibly clear call to action + bold it in the center.
♡ Goals – Conversions –> Goals –> Overview
Goals are one of the best things on Google Analytics.
You can set up events you WANT people to do and track how many of them do it.
For me, my goal is longevity – I want people staying and engaging on my site for longer than average.
I can see what posts are encouraging people to spend that 4+ minutes on my blog.
♡ your to do
1. Set up a goal (5 min on site, sign up for a newsletter, follow you on Instagram, etc)
2. See exactly what posts are encouraging people to complete that goal – rinse and repeat on your other posts
Final Thoughts on Using Google Analytics to Guide Your Content
Sooo let’s wrap it up. Basically, peep your Google Analytics and focus on these categories.
Google Analytics can be overwhelming, but if you focus on HOW you are getting readers and WHAT they’re doing once they arrive, you can dumb it down.