Understanding Analytics #1: Google Analytics for Bloggers

For a really long time, I didn’t have Google Analytics installed on my blog. I just used JetPack’s Site Stats, and I was pretty happy with that. But about a year ago, I finally installed it on my blogs (with the assistance of Yoast’s Google Analytics for Bloggers plugin).

You might think it’s overkill to use both JetPack and Google Analytics to track what’s happening on your blog, but they are both great, and I get different kinds of information from each. Additionally, I think Google Analytics is more precise in terms of measurements, so when it doubt, go with that number.

Google analytics overview

Here’s what you need to know about Google Analytics for Bloggers:

1. Pageviews: this number is how many hits your website got in total in the reporting period

2. Users: this number is the amount of unique users who have come to your sit in the reporting period. So, for example, you may have 5,000 page views in a month, but only 3,000 people doing those page views, because they visited more than one page on their visit.

3. Bounce Rate: this tracks how long someone is on your blog before they click away. You want this number to be as low as possible, but bloggers naturally have higher bounce rates, because people come to our sites to read today’s post, and then often move on. Read more about bounce rates here.

5. Acquisitions: it’s really important to know where your traffic is coming from. It’s the only way of knowing if your marketing efforts and your SEO are working.

Google analytics acquisitions

The vast majority of my traffic comes from organic search. That’s a good thing–it means that I’m SEO optimizing my posts, and it’s working. My other top referral sources are social media and direct (which is traffic from RSS subscribers and the like).

You can further break down your acquisitions to see exactly which social networks are driving the most traffic, for example:

Google analytics social referrals

My top two social sources of traffic are Twitter and Facebook. Good to know–I need to keep on feeding those.

Those are the top stats that I like to pay attention to on my Google Analytics, but honestly, there is so much more to discover. For example, you can see which browsers or mobile devices people are using to read your blog,  You can also discover which keywords people are typing into Google to find your site.

So, make sure you install Google Analytics on your blog, and start tracking your stats today.

Next week, we’ll talk about WordPress’ Jetpack.

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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