Whether you’re just starting out as a blogger or have been managing a website for years, knowing and being able to understand your Google Analytics is essential. As the industry standard for measuring your sites stats, reach and audience, make sure you have Google Analytics set up on your blog. You can check out our favorite plugins as well to find the one we recommend to make reading your analytics even easier. Once that’s done, you now need to interpret the data.
There are many facets of Google Analytics but today, we’re going to go over the basics for what you need to know, breaking it down into the four main sections. If you’re on your GA homepage, you’ll see a gray bar to the lefthand side. Under the “reports” section, you will see listed out: Real Time, Audience, Acquisition, and Behavior. Here’s what each of those sections means and what information they provide to you:
This is a section that shows you real time what’s happening on your blog. How many people are on it, and from which device. We don’t typically really look at this section much.
This is where we spend a bulk of our time and check frequently. Here you’ll be able to see a basic overview of your traffic from your pageviews, sessions, average session duration and bounce rate. These are often common analytics that potential collaborators will want to know before working with your brand. To get more details on what each of these mean, head to this post to see our definitions of common blog terms.
You can also filter this and view by day, week or month. In addition, in the top right corner, you can also compare it to the month prior, or last year at the same time. This is a great way to see your growth, changes and any red flags you may want to review.
This tab will show you how people are getting to your blog. The overview section will give you a general idea of where your traffic is coming from. Whether it’s social, direct, and so on. To dive more into your stats though, we recommend to select All Traffic and then Source/Medium. This will help to get a better idea of specific platforms that are referring traffic your way. So instead of just seeing 20% is coming from social on the overview tab, the Source/Medium will tell you the exact pageviews and sessions that are coming from specific social platforms.
One of our favorite parts of this section is to see where people are landing and also exiting off your site. Select Site Content and then Landing Pages to see where people are landing on your site. The same goes for Exit Pages to see where people are clicking off from. This is a great place to look to make sure these posts are up to date with great widgets, good images and so on. Sometimes a reader may end up on a page that isn’t looking right so they leave.
For some who have viral pins, or a few links around the web that are getting tons of traffic, you may see that the url to those posts are at the top of Landing Pages and Exit Pages. This results in a high bounce rate and your goal should be to try to keep people on your site and clicking through to more content. There’s no real secret to this, but we just recommend to make sure your blog has lots of great opportunities to link to other posts. You can do this by having a related posts plugin at the bottom, internal linking, and creating great content that keeps readers engaged.