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.
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.
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?
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.
*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
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
You can even track traffic from social media sites
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.
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
Additionally if you have Google Search Console you can get analytics on the search terms people are using to end up on your website
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