Blogging 101

Why Hello Google Analytics… {Part One}

Why hello my little love bugs! I thought today I would share a little bit of insight into something all of us bloggers use, but sometimes it’s tough to understand.  I am tackling and chatting about the ever mysterious Google Analytics.

Now before I get fully underway with this post, let me share a few facts:

1.I am no Google Analytics expert, not in a long shot.
2.My experience comes from my day job in marketing plus my previous job where I managed social media outlets for a department of a university. (Twitter, Blog, Facebook, etc.)
There are modules and reports that I don’t even use for my clients, because they are not relevant.  {I will get to that later.}
3.I love Google.  I didn’t write that because I am hoping Google picks it up through SEO.  I really do.  I use all Google products: Chrome, Google Hangout, Gmail, etc. Heck, I have even visited the main Google campus.  {Where I learned something very interesting about Google Analytics first hand…keep on reading!}
4. Although I love Google, I am a WP girl through and through so please keep that in mind as I go through the explanation of Google Analytics for these posts.

When I asked Twitter the very simple question, “Thinking of doing a Google Analytics post.  What would like to know?” I was blown away by the response by bloggers of all different sizes from around the world.  Many just didn’t know where to start or how to measure success {big question there, right?} or what to look for.  A lot of bloggers I heard from were overwhelmed by the options, and all the technical jargon.  Because here is the thing: Us bloggers, we are writers.  Not SEO or Google Analytics experts.  But, if you have a blog you still need to know what the numbers mean, how to digest them and how to make adjustments to your blog. Hopefully, I can answer some of those questions for you in these upcoming posts.  I was recommended by Amanda and Bonnie to do a few parts to this idea to allow for me to dive deeper, so if you have questions for a future post don’t hesitate to ask!

With that, away we go!

Are you ready for what I learned at Google about Google Analytics?  The primary purpose of Google Analytics is to give users information about GoogleAd Words and in turn increase ad purchases to promote their site.  Google knows that information is power, and if someone can see the results from an AdWord campaign, then they are more likely to spend more money on AdWords.

Guess what? This isn’t relevant to bloggers at all, not in the slightest.  {Unless of course you have a crazy budget and are spending cash on Google AdWords, but let’s be honest not many bloggers are.}  The reason why I bring this point up is because it is important to understand why Google Analytics is around and what its primary purpose is for: Selling AdWords. Keep that in mind when we are going through these

Since I am going to do a few posts about the magic and power of Google Analytics, I am going to start with just a few of my favorite tools and elements I look for, have you go test them yourself and let me know your thoughts before my next in the series.  {Uh, oh… Did I just assign you homework? Scary stuff!}

When you log into Google Analytics, you will land in your Audience Overview by default which takes you to a page filled with graphs and numbers.  The three that I am always looking for are % New Visits, Avg Visit Duration and Bounce Rate, as below.  Google Analytics Overview

 Here is what those three numbers tell me:

1. % of New Visit: How many of my visits are new visitors? Am I getting my blog out to new readers, new markets? Is the SEO on the blog working, so I am recieving more organic search engine traffic?  44%, means that I am expanding my reader base into new areas. I am pretty happy with a 60/40 ratio.

2.  Avg Visit Duration: How long are they sticking around? Are they reading what I am putting out there?  Since I promote specific pages {direct URLs}  most of the time, rather than my direct URL, I look at this stat as an indicator for if guests are reading what I am writing.  {Sounds totally simple, I know.}  If you promote your blog URL: www.foundlovenowwhat.com, for example, you may look to the number of pages/visit since you are hoping your readers engage with your site.

Which leads me to…

3. Bounce Rate:  This is by far the most critical stat for me to watch. Bounce rate tells me how many people are “bouncing” away from the site without engaging with my content.  {Think clicking on another post, link, social media button, sponsor button, etc.}  This is telling me that 62% of my readers are not engaging with my site, which I am not too happy about.  {Really good bounce rate is about 60%, but I think blogs are different and typically have lower bounce rates.}  One of the reasons behind my 62%, I believe is my blog layout plus how I promote the blog.  Like I mentioned above, 90% of my promotion is to a direct post but the way that my blog is designed, older posts don’t show up below.  So between the length of visit and bounce rate, I can assume that visitors are landing on a post reading it, maybe going to another page and then leave.  I also believe that since I have 60% returning visitors, that group of visitors know what is going on with my blog, where to go and kind of know the drill rather than the 40% of the new visitors. Whew. I hope that makes sense…

Before I completly loose your interest, let’s talk a bit about location.  Blogging, especially for me as an expat blogger, is an international game welcoming readers from all corners of the globe to my little corner.  I love that! Now how is your blog being received by countries from around the world?  Here is how you can find out! Under Overview, Demographics you will find Location!

Location   Google AnalyticsV2

 

From there you will find a big map of the world, that shows the density of visitors from around the world.  Scroll down and look for this little gem:

Location   Google AnalyticsV1

This data will tell you the number of visits based on the geography plus the bounce rate! I love this, because it tells you how readers from around the world are engaging with your blog.  Isn’t that cool?

So these are just a few of my favorite indicators that I look at.  Next time, I am going to chat about in-page analytics which will totally change the way you look at your blog!  {No it really will!}

What do you think? Helpful or not? Too many details or not enough? Does it answer any questions at all? Should I even bother with another post? Feedback for this is welcomed, appreciated and totally needed!  I also realized doing this post would expose my blog and my little stats to the world, which is somewhat nerve-racking… please don’t judge little honey bees!

I look forward to hear what you think!

 

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  • i’m so glad that you decided to do posts about this! just from our short emails about it, you were a HUGE help in helping me understand the jargon and get to the important stuff! please keep going with this!

    • FoundLove_Blog

      I am so glad that you say that Chelsea! As I was writing it, I kept seconding guessing if it would be helpful or not. I am happy that I was able to answer some questions. I am inspired to write more! =)

  • Melanie Fontaine

    Hi Belinda,

    Thanks again for doing this post! I’ve had Analytics installed on my blog for a bit, but never really knew how to use it, so this is super helpful for me! One thing I was especially unsure about was what to make of the data. I just had a look at my front page with the bounce rate and such and for the first time I felt like I wasn’t just looking at random data. I’m looking forward to reading more posts about this topic! 🙂

    xx
    Melanie

    • FoundLove_Blog

      Awesome Melanie! I am glad that my ramblings could be of some help! It’s all about selecting certain data, and then applying it to the whole picture. Reading the data can be so overwhelming, that bit by bit it can be more approachable! Let me know if I can answer anything specifically!

  • AnotherCleanSlate

    Interesting. I have a WordPress site, but it sounds like I can still use GoogleAnalytics? Going to have to check into it. This was very helpful!

    • FoundLove_Blog

      Yes! There is a plug in you can add to your blog, install a code and then it runs. I use Google Analytics and Jet Pack for my stats… What do you currently use?

  • Thank you for doing this series. Google Analytics gets me all worked up into a frenzy. I don’t know if you’ll address this in the future, but I am wondering if it’s possible to view daily/weekly/monthly stats vs totals stats. I’m way confused about the time issue (as in, I’d like to monitor my growth, since my blog is still a baby).

    • FoundLove_Blog

      Good question Rachel! Are you trying to compare a set of time against the another? Say one month to another? If so, I can answer that next week for you! No probs!!

      • Yes, that’s what I need to know! I’d like to see how I grow month to month, especially as I make changes and sponsor other blogs. Again, so glad you are covering this. You rock! 🙂

        • FoundLove_Blog

          Perfect Rachel! Thanks for the clarification on what you are looking for! I will be sure to include it in the next post I do like this!

  • FoundLove_Blog

    Sarah Beth,

    That is such wonderful feedback! I will be sure to write a few more posts, if you have any questions feel free to e-mail me! Woo-hoo!

  • I found this really helpful! I tend not to really look at my stats because I get scared I’ll get super obsessed with numbers, but I also know that knowing this stuff could be helpful (like you said: it can help you to learn and adjust). I didn’t know anything about the bounce percentage or the duration — so interesting! Thanks Belinda!

    • FoundLove_Blog

      Hi Erika,

      I am glad that you found this helpful! I think many bloggers avoid looking at their stats similar to not looking at your bank account at the end of the month. {I kid, sort of.} I get obsessed with numbers too, but if you take it as part of the whole picture and not get too caught up…it can be a powerful tool. Let me know if there are any elements I can clarify! =)

  • Kayli Schattner

    Totally helpful! I’ve been trying to use Google Analytics because it’s what common (and probably most useful) in the blogging world and this really helped me unearth some newfound facts and stats to particularly look out for! Although I’ve been using Jetpack’s Site Stats (that I trust more for monitoring visitors than G.A. because G.A. isn’t able to track visitors who have Java-Script disabled) it’s so helpful to be able to tell important OTHER facts that Jetpack isn’t yet able to give.

    • FoundLove_Blog

      Hi Kayli! Thanks for your comment! I had not idea when I wrote this post, if it would be helpful or not. Glad that it has been! I use both Jetpack & GA for my numbers for exactly the same reason, the overlapping of data that they both can provide. The two together are really powerful!

  • Thank you for doing this series Belinda. I honestly open it up and I just stare at it. But now I’ll be able to really gage the growth, thank you! x

  • FoundLove_Blog

    Awesome feedback! Next post is set for next week! Keep your eyes peeled…

  • FoundLove_Blog

    Did I tell you that I was wearing a super hero cape when I wrote this post? {I kid!} I am glad it was helpful! Let me know if you have any specific questions to have answered….

  • FoundLove_Blog

    Will do! Anything specific you want me to try to answer?

  • FoundLove_Blog

    Hi Kelly!

    Sometimes it’s tough to get your head around all the data. Is there a certain part that I can clarify for you? I’d be happy answer it for you… =)

  • I don’t use Google Analytics but after reading this post now I know I obviously need to… thank you so much for postin this!

    • FoundLove_Blog

      Yes, get cracking on Google Analytics! There is so much data to dive into, it can be overwhelming but really powerful. Keep checking back, as I will be writing more. And submit questions if you have them! =)

  • max

    visiting from maxabella loves I pounced on your post as i dont ‘get’ analytics but i’d like to know whether to care or not so i shall be folowing your further posts with interest-thanks x

    • FoundLove_Blog

      That is wonderful to hear! I am so glad that this post was helpful to you! I am planning on doing another one early next week. Keep your eyes peeled!

  • Really interesting thank you. I’m a really new blogger and haven’t paid much attention to google analytics as yet. I’ve been using jetpack on wordpress which gives me some really simple and easy to understand stats. Funnily enough, a lifetime ago, I used to be a web metrics coordinator. Seems I need to get back into it. Thanks.

  • Stumbled upon you from Maxabella’s Rewind, Belina and oh so glad I did! Don’t you DARE stop this series – it’s a g-send and I especially like the nice little chunks of info. And you’re likewise an expat from Seattle too! GoodNESS, I do believe you’re my new bff!

    P.S. And when you’re done with GA – uh, if you could pretty-please likewise do Jetpack – that would be over-the-top super!

  • Hi 🙂 So helpful, thanks! Really just having fun with reading other blogs and writing mine to keep my friends and family back home up to date, but I love watching google analytics to see how other people from all over randomly stumble across it, and now it makes much more sense 🙂

  • Maxabella

    Really cool wrap up, Belinda. I’m definitely reading more of your Blogging 101 posts. I’m so glad you linked up today so I can meet you! x

  • Thanks for the clear explanation. Now I want to go check my numbers ;).

  • Toyota Smith

    Ok so I made an account and then it told me put the HTML in my site but I don’t know where I do this on Blogger, yes I am totally computer illiterate and need help with the easiest of things, please help me!

  • FoundLove_Blog

    Oh, I can look into that Selena and see if I can answer it in a future post. Good idea… =)

  • FoundLove_Blog

    Hi Toni!

    Your analyisis of the numbers is how I would read it to. If you are looking for readers to spend more time on your blog, look for adding elements like LinkWithin {featured at the end of a post to recommend others} or a way readers can access your favorite posts or recent posts? The easier you make it for readers to stick around…the more likely they will. I am excited to write more posts about this topic… If you have any other questions, just give me a shout!

  • Pingback: Why I Don’t Focus On SEO for My Blog {Google Analytics Part 2} | Found Love Now What()

  • I have never understood bounce rate. Thank you for taking a little time to explain things 🙂 You’re the best!

  • Confession – I didn’t even have a Google Analytic before this post! Thanks so much! I tweeted to you (@seductivemania) but my question is do I put the html on just my blog homepage or in each individual post?!

    Thanks!

    xo Becky