As a blogger, you understand the importance of getting to know your audience. You know that it’s important to learn who they are, what they’re interested in, why they return to your blog and the information they’re expecting from you. It’s a simple matter of understanding basic target audience demographics. However, there may be information that’s even more important, information relating to how your readers find you in the first place. While frequently overlooked, using analytics may be critical to blogging in a way that attracts new readers on a regular, consistent basis.
From a basic standpoint, Google Analytics provides website managers, hosts and bloggers the ability to pull specific information about their visitors. By pasting a small piece of code from the program into the backend of a site – or blog – important information relating to page visits, keywords, traffic sources and even location can be viewed in an instant, categorized by date, time and more.
While it’s obvious that this is important for a traditional site, bloggers often rely on other demographics, which may prevent their blogs from reaching their full potential. Google Analytics offers valuable reports – hundreds of them – that should receive attention. Below are a few to get started.
Setting a goal is an important aspect of creating a blog. It’s likely you have critical pages you’d like readers to visit and your hope is that they spend time browsing your posts and learning about what you have to offer.
It’s easy to set up a goal, for bloggers, here are a few areas to focus on:
- Key page views
- Time spent on your site
- Total page views in a visit
As a blogger, it’s critical to understand which posts are receiving the most attention. This helps when considering the direction you’d like your blog to go and allows you to write blog posts that cater to a specific audience. Because of this, analyzing content performance is critical.
As an example, look at CNF Exchange, a capital and finance exchange who was looking to increase their blog traffic. Working with investors and those looking for financing, their audience was broad yet providing the right information to that audience was important. By analyzing the content performance of their blog, the company was able to calculate the average time a given visitor spends on a specific page, read their bounce rate and learn their page value for each post.
“Understanding targeted content performance values has helped us in targeting a specific market and has increased our average daily page visits exponentially,” explains the company’s marketing manager.
Social Media Analytics
Social sharing is an integral aspect of blog performance. Bloggers rely on social media to spread their posts and to increase visitors, but, it shouldn’t be a matter of throwing out content and hoping it sticks. It can be more methodical with the use of social media analytics.
Google Analytics’ social media report provides information relating to:
- How social media is driving visitors to a specific blog
- How visitors are interacting with social sharing buttons
- How Google pulls information from the Social Data Hub which provides information relating to partners including Google+, Allvoices, Echo, Reddit and more.
Understanding the way your posts are spreading across social media networks gives insight into how to craft future posts.
While hundreds of reports are available through Google Analytics, focusing on the areas mentioned above provide a solid starting point for analyzing your visitors, your traffic sources and the content that propels your blog forward.