Of Google Analytics

The Google Analytics web tool on analytics.google.com gives a lot more insightful data than the simplified stats you will get on your WordPress blog.

Google Analytics Home
Google Analytics

But the Google Analytics page can be overwhelming, to the uninitiated requiring a bit of a learning curve to be able to interpret. I took up the challenge to learn a new skill during lockdown and undertook a short course on Google Analytics For Beginners from The Google Analytics Academy; which I have just completed.

Beaton succesfully completed Google Analytics For Beginners
https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/

As a blogger its always important to not fall into the trap of ego-metrics where you constantly obsess over your stats but understanding the analytics of your audience can help optimise your content and site.

Analytics reports can answer the following questions:

  • Where is my audience?
  • How many visits do I get per day?
  • What’s devices are used to access my site?
  • How do users find my site?
  • Which are the most popular pages of my site?
  • Which pages do people see first (landing pages) when they visit my site?
  • How many people are viewing my web site right now?
  • What time of the day I receive the most visits?

Where your readers are located?

Audience Reports

This is important to know since you must remember that not everyone who visits your blog is in your country or understands some of the references you may make and you may want to include translations where possible or a brief explanation of a reference you make, from the type of currency you use, to the timezone you are in when referring to time.

traffic by continent

*interesting to note that have low local traffic which is partly due to a culture of blogging still a unappreciated and the unaffordability of internet, when we had a series of internet price hikes I noticed a dip in my stats.

The type of devices and browsers people use

Audiences>devices

device types
57% on mobile device

Articles can look very different on a computer and on a phone, especially when you have multimedia, i.e. pictures, video, or embedded streaming sites, which may not work properly on some devices. Of course WordPress does try to optimise sites for mobile browsing but some things may not end up as you wish and sometimes you may have to add a note to visit site via desktop where necessary.

Sources of your traffic

Acquisition>overview

You can even track traffic from social media sites

Acquisition>All Traffic>Channels

You can even overlay secondary dimensions to your reports to breakdown some specifics on your data

e.g to see relation between device and the source and medium.

Device category source/medium

How people behave on your site

Behaviour Reports give insights on your top pages and the landing pages visitors click on and how long they spend on a page

what are your site's landing pages and the top pages people visit

Additionally if you have Google Search Console you can get analytics on the search terms people are using to end up on your website

google search console

Although analytics is more suited for businesses who want to track effectiveness of their adverts and marketing campaigns with such goals as where conversion is when a site visitor completes a purchase or signs up for a newsletter; to the casual blogger most of those metrics do not matter… this does not mean that a blogger will not learn interesting insights which may help, depending on the type of blog you have to producing content more streamlined for your audience or to see the more popular type of content that you may want to work on.

You can use analytics to measure the metrics of traffic, to see if anyone actually visits your blog via those notification newsletters or if you are just spamming people asking them to sign up or if the social media marketing is paying any dividents you might even be surprised to find that a social media site you are largely underutilising is the one unexpectedly bringing in a lot of traffic or vice versa you may need to spend less time on some platforms.

If there’s one thing I have learnt about blogging its that although having good content is important its not enough, you do not simply write a good post and expect it to perform well, simply because it’s a great post, which the whole world should read…

You will have to put in the work; putting yourself out there, sharing your links via social media with family and friends even… and you will also have to read other blogs and interact with fellow bloggers and try to build link back articles, such as guest articles, shoutouts and blog rolls….

A blog means community

~B

27 Comments

    1. You are welcome Sandra I hope this gave you some sort of useful pointers and not just looking at stats simply to see numbers but to find ways of interpreting it and finding even the best time and day to post content.
      ~B

      Like

      1. I think its all part of the blogging journey, initially I was very focused on the numbers wanting to know if anyone was reading me (which eventually got frustrating as I found to my dismay it seemed the world could not see me) Then actively started avoiding looking at the stats because after all I write mostly for me and dont care ( so I told myself) if anyone read or not….
        Anyhoo here I am now re-learning to not avoid stats all-together
        ~B

        Like

    1. haha its not like you just write….and they will come
      Its just that some people can pull it off so effortlessly it does not seem like they are working hard..
      I still think the interactions are the best part, I love expanding my circles
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe every hard work will have its results!
        Maybe for some people seems effortlessly but not sure it really is…it looks easy from the outside, but do you know the hard work that they’ve just put in?…difficult to say 🤪
        Definitely without interactions you don’t go anywhere 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great work on completing the course @beaton. ✌️✌️🤜

    Analytics has great insights for every blog. I find it especially useful for business blogs.

    For personal blogs as most of the ones on WordPress are, they’re mostly for sharing personal stories as opposed to building thought leadership or creating content in a specific niche. What link building and collaboration does is to improve the domain and page authority of the blog linking to another (usually of a higher domain authority) and that generally improves your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings.

    However, with the information about keywords used in finding your blog, bounce rates, pages with higher interactions, devices your blog is viewed from etc you can tweak your content a little.

    I’m not sure you can get Google Analytics integration for the free version of WordPress though. Or @beaton have you seen that? What I’ve seen is the Google Search Console integration. Which mainly crawls the pages on your website and gives you some data about keywords used in finding your blog. You can check the Tools>Marketing section in your blog admin to set that up. You’ll need to create a Google Console account though. Which you can do with your already existing Google account.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the very informative comment, sounds like you are quite well versed in this I might come visit for some questions that I have unanswered.

      You are right though analytics is tailored to be beneficial to business oriented sites, and I did feel there’s not enough resources with the blogger in mind. I am a firm believer that the potential of the “personal” blogs is being under-utilised mostly perceived as a space to tell personal stories but used correctly these spaces can do so much more than that, like being a hub for thought leadership and a valuable resource center which can potentially generate income even…. and who knows might even end up being the expert authorities on some subjects.

      On WordPress.com hosted sites you can only get Google Analytics integration when you are on a paid plan, I recently migrated to such a plan so I was able to try it out on my blog.
      I had already integrated my blog into the Google Search Console and have now additionally linked Search Console with Analytics.

      ~B

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, I am a Digital Marketing Strategist so it comes with the territory. 😄😄😄

        Yeah, personal blogs have a lot of potential. But most times it’ll need the blogger to go beyond only their personal stories or using the blog as a journal to more of a billboard if you like. Cause the thing with analytics and search console and Search Engine Optimisation in itself is the focus on niches. So you’ll have to determine to concentrate on a specific niche and work at that niche to build it into a thought leadership space.

        I have found that I prefer jumbling things up, so I wouldn’t use this blog for the purposes of thought leadership per se. But over the years, it’s what I’ve used as a portfolio to show clients my writing prowess and eventually got hired.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I understand what you say but then the metrics for the blogger are somewhat different and we should be not pushed into any sort of focus niche simply because thats what the algorithm prefers, maybe it should be the other way round the AI needs to relearn the messy kind of creativity where one day I can write about a movie I watched and the next day write about human rights violations then after that write an indepth technical piece on machine learning…

        Sure some do like to have a specific niche and work at it but most, like you mention prefer jumbling things up; now how do we tell the people at Google and other such institutions its high time they switched up some of their systems and become more accommodating.. after all one is the person the other the machine
        maybe we can reach some compromise and I can rank for sub-niches or something like that.

        Who knows maybe even one day when it does get its due recognition, blogging will have unions equipped with lobbying for global change for now it might some like an individual blogger writing about their personal insights but what about when you collectively build from each blogger’s insights to get the detailed full picture of whats happening in the world…. imagine such a world….

        I like to joke how a time in the distant future will come when blogs will have the same significance and impact as rock paintings had in helping people formulate life from way back then…..
        I have a dream ….
        ~B

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I love how you’re looking at it. It’ll definitely take some activists to get Google to start rankling personal blogs right.

        Perhaps you could start the revolution 😁😁

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I am high key one of those activists… 😍

        And the revolution has already started 😄

        One blogger at a time, we intend to shake things up….

        You think I joke when I say call me the Uncle of Bloggers (you can even google that)😂😂

        ~B

        Liked by 1 person

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