How to Dig Into Your Blog Statistics
Today’s episode is about how you can dig into your blog statistics to work out patterns in what’s working and what’s not working for your blog. The numbers might seem daunting at first, but I share how you can understand them and use them to uncover the secrets of how people are using your blog.
In this Episode
- What blog statistics really matter
- How to use Google Analytics to track traffic on your blog
- How to use Google Analytics to increase traffic on your blog
- How to use Google Analytics to create killer content
- 9 questions to ask yourself to improve your site content
- How to use Google Analytics to measure your blog progress in a meaningful way
Screen Shots from Todays Episode
As promised in the episode – here’s the process I went through to dig into these Google Analytics stats.
Note: I refer numerous times to a previously written post on the ProBlogger Blog in which I go into more depth on using Google Analytics. You can read that post at A Powerful Exercise inside Google Analytics to Set You Up for a Successful Year of Blogging.
Start by opening Google Analytics and clicking the Audience >> Overview menu item.
On the next page you’ll see your ‘sessions’ analytics like this (taken from my last month of blogging on Digital Photography School).
To get a ‘comparison’ of this month to last month go up to the date section and put in the two periods you want to compare. Make sure you check the ‘compare to’ check box as pictured below and then hit ‘apply’ and you’ll get a chart like this:
While you’re in this area of Google Analytics you can look at some of these areas of stats. If you click on each one you’ll be able to see a larger chart:
Also in the audience area there are a whole heap of other ares you can dig into in the sidebar menu.
Next we’re moving into the Acquisition area. Click Acquisition >> Overview menu item:
You’ll be given a good overview page but you can drill down further. Go ahead and click the ‘all traffic’ menu item and then ‘channels’ to show you the different areas that traffic is coming from for your blog.
Click on the different channels to drill down and see more detail in where the traffic came from. For example if you click the ‘social’ link you’ll see it broken down into the traffic coming from different social networks.
The last section we’ll look at is ‘behavior’. Click on Behavior >> Overview for the overview page:
Drill down further into the Site Content >> All Pages menu item.
Listed there will be 10 most viewed pages on your blog. Click the ‘show rows’ drop down menu to make it show 100 instead of 10 so you can see more.
This is where I’m asking these 9 questions:
- what posts you might want to reshare on social at some point? – if it did well once it might do well again (see above for an example of this).
- what types of posts/mediums get shared most? – for example I notice in our most popular posts this year were a number of cheat sheets and infographics. This gives us hints as to what kind of posts might do well in 2015.
- what topics are hot? – for example I noticed in our top 100 posts for social that we had a lot of posts on camera lenses that did well. This informs what we might do more of in 2015.
- what headlines did well? – I noticed in our top 100 posts that we saw a number of posts that talked about ‘mistakes‘ that photographers make doing well. While we don’t want to do these posts all the time they do do well on social so we’ll no doubt do a few more in 2015.
- what posts could you extend? – some posts that have done well might lend themselves to become a series. For example our post ‘the only three lenses you’ll need for Travel Photography‘ could easily be extended to feature lenses for other types of photography.
- what posts could be optimised? – if posts are getting decent long term traffic from search or social it can be worth thinking about how to update them either by adding new content or by optimising them for search or social traffic. For example I noticed that our post on ISO settings is ranking well in Google but was not in the top 2-3 results in searches for ISO – so I’ve tweaked the post hoping to help that.
- what posts that I expected to go well under performed? – a lot can be learned from posts that DIDN’T rank in the most visited post lists. Perhaps they had the wrong headline, perhaps they could be republished at a better time, perhaps they are just a signal that the topic isn’t of interest to your readers.
- what older posts that need updating are still getting traffic? – this year I’ve noticed a number of 7-8 year old posts still getting significant traffic from Google. While some of them have evergreen content that is still relevant today a couple are very dated and in real need of updating.
- what posts are generating a lot of extra page views? – some pages stimulate readers to view a lot of other pages. On dPS I’ve developed number of what I call ‘sneeze pages’ that propel readers deep within the site. For example this year I notice that anyone entering our blog on our Portrait Photography Tips page is going on to view over 5 other posts on the blog. These pages that ‘over perform’ are ones to consider adding to menus, side bars, ‘further reading’ on other posts and sharing more regularly on social media.
- A Powerful Exercise inside Google Analytics to Set You Up for a Successful Year of Blogging (includes screenshots)
- Filtering out Google Analytics Junk to Read Your Numbers Better
- My Five Favourite, But Often Ignored, Google Analytics Features
- Analytics: Moz
- The Beginners Guide to Blog Analytics: Mack Collier
- 10 Amazing Blogging Insight Your Analytics Can Tell You: Hubspot
How did you go with today’s challenge?
What new things have you learned about your blog after looking at your statistics? What are your 10 most popular blog posts?
I’d love to hear about your experience digging into your blog statistics in the comments below.
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