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As Tay and I write this, it’s Cinco de Mayo and we’re lacking in margaritas and tacos – you feel our pain? Instead, we’re about to get down and jiggy with one of our favorite tools as bloggers – Google Analytics. **Ooooooh, Aaaaaaah**
No but seriously, take a sip of something and get excited people.
We’re breaking it down for you threefold: Basic definitions that you’ve gotta know now (but you likely already do, because you’re just good like that), the three most usable tabs for data you absolutely need, and then a bonus tip to explore a new analytic within each.
First things first – put this post side-by-side with your own Google Analytics report for last month. It’s time to do some digging.
Now, here are a few definitions you need to know:
Session: A period of time when a user is actively engaged with your website (if they leave and come back, that’s two sessions!)
Pageviews: Total number of pages viewed – repeated views of a single page are counted.
Bounce rate: The percentage of single-page visits (visits in which the reader left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).
Unique visitors: The number of distinct website users, regardless of how often they visit. Visits refers to the number of times a site is visited, no matter how many visitors make up those visits.
Now, let’s dive into the three main tabs to track yo’self on the reg…
Let’s start with the Audience tab over on the left. The overview’s got a lot of what you need to know. For a given time period you can find your sessions, users, pageviews, and lots of other good stuff. If we had five minutes while in line at Starbucks to check Analytics, this is where we would start.
Further down on the screen, you can see the breakdown of your audience by demographics, browser type, and even mobile operating system – pretty intense, right? While this might not all be super-actionable to you (what are you going to do to change up your blog based on who’s using what internet service provider? Nothing, that’s what.) this is the best place to get an idea of exactly who your readers are.
Next, head to the subtitle of Behavior, and then under that, New vs Returning. This shows – pretty intuitively – how many of your visitors within the given time period were new and how many have stopped by before. Especially if your pageviews have been growing, it’s helpful to see whether or not you’re retaining your old readers as you gain more…or similarly, if you’re retaining new readers as they come versus having a crowd of diehard oldie-but-goodie readers.
BONUS TIP: Head down to Mobile, then click Overview. This report shows you how many people are accessing your site on mobile vs. desktop, and on tablets too. With people basically living off their iPhones, we can guess mobile’s gonna be your winner. If we’re right, this means you should make sure your mobile site is loading quickly, looking good, and easy to access! ***Want tips on optimizing your site to fit Google’s new and improved mobile standards? Become a VIP – our next eBook (we’ve got 4!) is gonna have the details you need to boost your SEO and get mobile friendly!
Acquisition’s up next. If you head to the Acquisition tab and click Overview, you’ll see how your readers got to your blog. It’s broken down into four main categories: Social (that’s social media, not through chatting it up over coffee), direct (they’ve gotcha bookmarked!), referral (you were linked to by someone else), and organic search (they found you via search engine).
From there, click on the subheader All Traffic, then “Source/Medium.” This breaks down the top sites/mediums that users visited to get to your blog. This can be especially useful if you had a boost in traffic but aren’t sure why – it might be that someone’s linked to your blog!
BONUS TIP: Under the subheader of “Social,” go to “Overview.” This report sums up your social presence and shows you which social networks are driving the most traffic, which can be super helpful if you’re looking to improve your social media presence.
Finally, let’s talk behavior basics. The “overview” tab gives you the same basic stats as on the Audience overview, but with an important addition: how those pageviews are distributed. You can see which pages were viewed and how many views they got.
Let’s dig a little deeper. Under Behavior, go to Landing Pages. This report shows you the pages that people FIRST arrived at on your site, and can give you an idea of how people are getting there. If you know you upped your Pinterest game on your latest recipe post and you see that most readers were finding your site through that page, you know to keep doing what you’re doing.
BONUS TIP: If you wanna get visual with it, click on Behavior Flow. This looks a little scary but bear with us. This visual shows you first what landing pages people end up at when they visit your blog, then the flow of which pages they visit from there, as well as how many people drop off after each page view. If you click on any of the boxes that show page titles, you can find the options to ”view only this segment” or “highlight traffic through here” which can help you see, for example, where people are heading after they read your latest post. Are they heading to the old posts you linked to or to somewhere else?
Now we’ve gotta mention it…you should become a VIP. We love our VIPs, and they get extra perks (as in 4 eBooks for 2015, secret social media groups, discount codes, exclusive content, consultations…the works) for just the price of 4 lattes. Starbucks Frappy Hour ends on the 10th, so in our totally unbiased opinion, we think you should let New Year, New Blog fill your frappe fix. And by frappe, we mean blog knowledge. Join us?
I’m feeling sentimental, because T & I won’t be seeing each other for a few months as we intern at opposite coasts. But fear not – we’ve got a jam-packed NYNB schedule comin’ atcha for the summer, and we’re SUPER STOKED about it.
You know what else I’m super stoked about?
The possibility that one of you might win 250 bucks in cold. hard. cash.
And this mug. Obviously.
HAVE A BEAUTIFUL WEEKEND. Make someone smile. Smile a lot. Go on an adventure. Let yourself think. Let yourself relax. Let yourself have fun. Seize the days, make them count, and catch ya on the flip side (Monday…ick), coffee in hand.