Being a blogger is tough, right? Anyone who doesn’t have a blog might feel like that statement is oozing with sarcasm…but it’s really not.
Blogging takes time, energy and heart and when you get to a level where you want to start measuring and analysing how your blog is doing, it only gets harder.
Google Analytics can be pretty scary to those who haven’t used it but want to start so that they can see how many visitors their blog is getting. It’s why I wrote this post for those just starting out with the platform – so give that a read if you’re just getting started and then pop back here once you’re all set up!
If you’ve been using Google Analytics for a little while now, you may be thinking “hey, this is pretty good…but there’s a lot to take in!”. Yup. There’s so much you can do with GA that it gets a bit…overwhelming.
So, instead of desperately trying to grasp everything there is to know, I’ve picked out four Google Analytics hacks that any blogger can do to make their lives easier.
Gather your PR stats in one place
If you’ve been blogging for a little while, you may be in contact with PR’s who are interested in working with you. Some of these PR’s may want to know some stats about your blog before working with you, such as how many Sessions your blog has had, or total pageviews. Maybe they want data on your demographics.
Instead of flitting between different reports, you can create these funky things called Dashboards that allow you to add ‘widgets’ to show whatever data you want in one place. It might not sound like a big deal, but if you have a Media Pack that you like to regularly update, or even if you’re just wanting to look at how your blog has grown for your own interest, a Dashboard is pretty aces.
Look at your most popular posts to get content ideas
Lost for what to write about? How about creating a follow up to a popular post?
Find out your most popular posts by setting a date range at the top right, and then going to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages. This will list your top posts by number of pageviews for the date range you set. Set a larger date range to see more data.
Wrote a review of a product that went down really well? Write another post if your opinion has changed, or feature the product in a post with other products that you like or dislike. Link back to the older post as well if you can, as ‘interlinking’ can be good for SEO!
Get rid of spammy traffic!
The difference between a good blogger and a blogger just interested in getting high stats is being honest with yourself about your stats. Sites get hit with spammy traffic all the time, and so your stats are probably not an honest reflection of how much valuable traffic your blog has had.
GA spam has got worse over the years since I’ve been using it, and so I try and keep on top of it as best I can by using filters to remove it from my data. I’m not interested in overinflated figures – I’m interested in an honest reflection of readers coming to my blog to actually read it – instead of ‘ghost’ traffic that bounces straight off again.
Turn on ‘Site search’ to view what people search for
I recently discovered that you can turn on a setting in GA that allows you to see data on what people are searching for on your blog. How good is that?
All you have to do is log in to GA and then click on Admin. Under the ‘View’ column (far right), you’ll see ‘View settings’. Click that and scroll down to the toggle bar that says ‘Site search Tracking’. Switch the toggle to ‘On’.
To find out what you need to add to the Query parameter box, go to your blog and conduct a search via your search box. When you’ve loaded up the search results, the URL should look something like below. In this example, I’ve searched on my blog for the keyword ‘blogging’:
In this example, the Query parameter is ‘s’. If yours is different and you’re not sure what it is, pop me a tweet and I’ll check it out!
Once you have added the Query parameter into the box, click Save.
Boom! Give it 24 hours and you have search query data at your fingertips! This again is really handy for blog post ideas. To find the Search query data, go to your GA reporting and click Behaviour > Site Search > Search terms.
Ta da! Four Google Analytics hacks for you to try out.
As always, if you have any questions or find something isn’t quite working, get in touch and I can do my best to help out.