As a blogger, the use of analytics tools is so important to driving traffic to my site and making connections within the blogging community. While most social media platforms have their own analytics dashboard for users to look at, I’m a big fan of Google Analytics. When I started blogging, I had set up Google Analytics and then really never gave it the time of day. I’d occasionally check in on it to see my page views and that’s about it. At the start of the year, I decided it was time to make some serious upgrades and changes around here and that included getting more acquainted with Google Analytics.
It wasn’t until I started doing more research and really taking the time to explore my dashboard that I realized just how beneficial it is for bloggers and business owners. Now, I check in on my dashboard on a weekly basis to see if there are any changes I need to be aware of. So what areas of your Google Analytics dashboard should you be looking at? Here are my top five areas you should be looking at in order to grow your blog with Google Analytics!
The first area you want to be checking is your audience overview (typically this is the first page you land on when you log into your Google Analytics account). This is where you’ll find your sessions, users, page views, bounce rate, pages per session, average session duration, etc. If you plan to work with brands and incorporate sponsored content on your site and social media channels, then this page is where you’ll be looking for your blog stats to add to your media kit. These statistics tend to be much more accurate than those found in your WordPress dashboard (or whichever blogging platform you’re using).
So how do these numbers help you? While numbers aren’t everything, it’s important to keep an eye on them to see your growth. This can also help you with pricing your sponsored content and gaining collaborations with brands as well. So it’s good to check in on this page on a weekly or monthly basis.
Knowing more about your audience is super important. If you don’t know your audience, then how can you market to them effectively? You can’t. For a blog, you want to be checking out your audience demographics located within your Google Analytics dashboard. This will tell you their ages and gender and if you play around with it a bit, you can even find information on their interests and behavior as well. For my own site, a good majority of you all are between the ages of 25 and 34 years old (this is a more recent transition for me! My site used to cater to the 18-24 age group) and 91% of you are female. A lot of you are also returning visitors as well which I love!
So how is this information helpful? With this information, you’re better able to target your specific audience both on your blog and on your various social media platforms (**check in on these analytics within your social media platforms as well for a more detailed look!). This is especially helpful when creating custom ad campaigns. Rather than marketing to everyone on Facebook or everyone on Twitter, you can instead narrow down the audience to cater to YOUR target audience. This will also end up saving you money in the long run too because you’re not wasting money marketing to those who aren’t interested in your site, products, and/or services.
This is another area within the audience section of your dashboard that can be super helpful. This section will tell you where your audience lives and what language they speak. For many of you, this will really just help even more in setting up your Facebook ads and finding new ways to market your site to your audience.
Not only are these two things helpful in creating ads, it’s also super helpful for those of you who speak multiple languages. I see this issue in blogging Facebook groups al the time. If you speak multiple languages, then what language should you blog in? Well your Google Analytics can be super helpful in helping you make this decision. If your audience is primarily in the United States, then it probably wouldn’t be as beneficial for you to blog in French as this isn’t a very popular language here in the United States. It would be more beneficial to write in English. Same with if your audience is located in Spain and you’re writing in German.
Of course, this is a personal decision depending on the blogger and there are tons of plugins out there that can help you translate your site as well. But if you’re in need of some additional insight and help in making that choice, then your Google Analytics dashboard is the place to go!
This one is HUGE. This is the are of my dashboard that has been a complete game-changer in my site this year. Your acquisition tab tells you where your traffic is coming from. So for example, the top source of traffic for my own site is Pinterest at 80%. Facebook comes in second at 15% and then the rest of my traffic is broken down between Twitter, Instagram, and Google.
Related: How to Grow Your Blog With Pinterest
So why does it matter where your traffic comes from? Well if you’re wasting all you time and energy on Twitter, but your audience is coming from Pinterest, then that’s just not going to be very beneficial for you or your site. Yes, it’s great to be well-rounded and be present on multiple platforms, BUT it’s just not possible to be everywhere and it can be extremely time-consuming to put that much time and energy into a platform that just isn’t doing much for you. And having less traffic from a particular platform isn’t a bad thing either and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to “up your game” in that area either (although learning more is always helpful!). If your audience just isn’t there, then it isn’t there. And that’s okay!
I use social media schedulers to help me stay consistent and present on all my various social media platforms, but since Pinterest is my top platform, that’s where I invest more of my money, time and energy. If you’re finding that a good majority of your traffic is coming from Facebook, then spend some time researching new ways to use it. Find new blogging and business groups to join and make connections in, invest in some Facebook ads, revamp your blog’s Facebook page. There’s always something you can be doing to improve so find the platform that works the best for you and rock it!
Lastly, you should be looking at your top pages. What types of blog posts are your readers landing on the most? This can help you in multiple ways.
First, this can help you determine which topics your readers tend to be most interested in. So for example, a lot of my readers love reading my more personal posts about my life and my most vulnerable posts tend to me the most popular of them all. Being a lifestyle blogger, these posts make it so much easier to directly connect with my audience because they’re better able to relate to me. Another hot topic of mine is anything blogging related. Bloggers love finding new ways to grow and improve their own sites so this tends to be a hot topic in the blogging world. Lastly, my readers seem to like wellness-related posts. So knowing what posts my audience loves the most makes it easier for me to know which topics to include more of in the future.
In addition to knowing what topics I should be writing about more often, this section also helps me to create series posts, products, helpful freebies and so much more. Again, it tells me what my audience is most interested in and what parts of my site see the most action. For the most part, I use this for freebies. So if I’m able to add in a great checklist or helpful download to enhance that post, then I will. And this also helps me build my email list as well!
The last point I want to make here is on blog updates. While it’s super important to update older posts every once in a while, I know it can be very time-consuming as well. But knowing what posts people tend to land on the most can help you determine where to start when you’re making those updates. Your top posts should be up to date and looking their best at all times.
How does Google Analytics help you grow your own blog or business?