Your new blog has been your pride and joy for the past few weeks. Whether you’re making humorous commentary on the latest news articles or blogging about your trip through Europe last year, the content you’ve created shows your passions and your writing and photography talents.
Once bloggers get their basic blog page listed, they generally try to get as many people to start reading their content as it’s posted. After your friends and family get in on the action, you’ll need to start attracting strangers to your page. Your marketing plan may include reaching out to other bloggers, emailing your network, posting on your Facebook or other social media accounts and placing Google ads.
To ensure your marketing efforts are paying off, you’ll want to sign up for a Google Analytics account to track the number of people heading to your blog each day, discover the ways in which new visitors have found your blog, track the number of repeat visitors and new visitors you get each day and find out what information is most compelling. Google offers plenty of options for new and advanced bloggers. Read below to see how to setup Google Analytics.
- Go to http://www.googleanalytics.com. Once you get to the homepage, click on the type of account you’d like to start on the upper menu bar. Your choices are: standard, premium and mobile apps. For first-time blog users, choose the standard plan. Click “sign up for free” on the next page.
- If you already have an account with Google (through your Gmail usually), choose the account you’d like to attach to your analytics account and enter in your password. If you’d like to open a new Google account, you can choose to do so on this page too. On the next page click “sign up”.
- Your tracking code will show up on the next page. If you have a WordPress blog, this is the time to make a decision as to how you want to input this code into your blog. You can download a plug-in, chose a WordPress theme that allows you to enter the analytics code directly into your theme or add it into your header. Whichever method you chose, you’ll need to copy the tracking code and paste it into your WordPress page. To add the code into your header, from your dashboard, click: “appearance” then “editor”. Paste the code before the </head> tag. Blogger has an app that can be downloaded to manage analytics.
- Wait a few hours and head back to Google Analytics to check on your stats. You’ll know your analytics are working if you can see changes popping up on Analytics when you visit your blog.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up your account on Google Analytics…now what does this stuff all mean?
The first piece of information you should keep an eye on is “visits”. This is the total number of hits your blog has gotten from visitors who are checking out your awesome site. Note: if one person visits your blog 20 times a day, you will see 20 “visits” on your analytics page.
The next piece of information to check out is your “unique visitors”. This is the total number of people who have visited your page today. If one person looked at your blog 20 times, the total unique visitors will show up as one.
“Page views” are the way to see how many pages (and what pages) your visitors have checked out during their time visiting your blog.
Getting a little deeper will allow you to check out your “pages/visits”. This will show you how many pages visitors check out while visiting your blog; however, this will show you simply an average—not the specifics for each visitor.
Keeping people looking at your blog for longer amounts of time is an important way to keep your blog at the top of search results, so make sure to check out the “average visit duration” statistic. If you have 500 people visiting your blog ever day but are spending only 30 seconds looking at your content, you either need to change your content or market your blog more accurately.
“Percent of new visits” will show you how many new visitors out of your total number of visitors are new. It’s great to keep getting new visitors to your blog, but a low percent of new visits can also be a good thing; this tells you that people are checking back to see your content day after day—which shows you’re actually building a following!
The “bounce rate” will show you how many people are looking at your homepage or the page they found your blog through but not looking at other pages. The lower your bounce rate, the better. A low bounce rate is the result of visitors who look at several pages, which is important if you want to build a following. The longer people stay on your blog, the more pages they look at and the more they return shows a growing interest in your content.
Other tools that will help you reach your goals include a tool that helps you find out your visitor demographics and location. You can find ways to attract more of a certain demographic or target demographics you might not have reached. The mobile tool lets you know how many people are visiting you through a laptop or pc or a mobile device such as an iPad or mobile phone. You can find out about your most popular topics by visiting Google Analytics content page. Google can even help you stick to your traffic goals by helping you set up a goal page that shows your progress, successes and where you can grow your blog.
Creating a blog is a creative endeavor that can be exhausting and enjoyable. Setup Google Analytics to track your visitors to see just how well your blog reaches the masses.