Welcome to the second part of my series on how to understand and interpret analytics. Last week, we checked out the granddaddy of all analytics, Google. Today, we’re going to focus on analytics for bloggers, specifically bloggers who use WordPress.
You have two options for tracking your stats on WordPress.
- If you have a WordPress-hosted blog, you’ll find your stats under Dashboard–>Site Stats. If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, you’ll need to install the Jetpack plugin.
Once you start tracking your WordPress site stats, you need to give it at least a month to start to collect data to get a good picture of what’s going on.
Here is what WordPress site stats has to offer:
A snapshot of your overall traffic for the last month: you’ll notice that there are two different coloured bars, here. The light blue one is your page views, and the dark blue one are your unique visitors. Knowing your overall pageviews or hits is really important, but so is knowing your unique visitors. People who come to your site may look at more than one page, and that creates a slightly elevated statistic, so if you are planning on monetizing, most businesses that will be interested in working with you will want to know your unique visitors stats. WordPress is not good at suppling you readily with this information. They will tell you how many hits a month you’re getting, but uniques are bit more difficult to tease out.
Who’s reading your blog? WordPress gives you a handy-dandy map that tells you which countries your readers are coming from.
Top Posts and Pages: What are the most popular posts and pages on your blog? You can see this either in the short term or the long term. I like to look at the long term. Once I know what the most popular posts are, I’ll look to create connections between them. Do they share something in common? I need to write more about that topic. Understanding what posts are most popular is a clear indication you need to write more about that topic, and it will drive more traffic to your blog.
Referrers: Where is your traffic coming from? If the bulk of it is coming from organic search, that’s a good sign that you are SEO optimizing your posts. If the bulk of it is coming from social media, that probably means you’ve done a good job promoting your posts via social media. This particular stat is most useful to show you what you should be doing more of–for example, if you’re getting lots of traffic from Facebook, keep posting to Facebook. If very little of your traffic is coming from Google+, either drop it, or try something different.
Search Engine Terms: This is WordPress’ version of Keywords. They are the search engine terms that people put into google that made them end up at your blog. What can you learn from this? First off, some of them are wacky! Secondly, if you know your top search engine terms, you can use them and feed them back into your blog posts to make your posts more searchable.
Next week, we’ll have a look at Facebook’s Insights.