Avoid Analytics Overload: Google Analytics Tips
As the session begins, both panelists express to use what what learning Google Analytics can do for you: you can use it to evaluate the effectiveness of what your are doing and how effective your blog is with your readers.
Keidra says "You can view what readers like and don't like about your blog. Google analytics gives you a tool to get inside your reader's head and find out what they are interested in on your site."
Andrew has been working on websites since 1997, and in an effort to talk about his true passion, food, he started eatingrules.com. He's also the author of blogtutor.com.
Keidra is a digital strategy consultant and writes at thelearnedgirl.com. She started working on analytics a few years ago by volunteering to help big companies figure out their analytics. Due to her high success rate, she was able to create a great paying consultant business from that.
While Google analytics is not actual SEO, it is a great tool to use to improve it. They can work hand in hand to increase your traffic and influence.
Getting started on Google Analytics
Step 1: Sign up!
Step 2: once you are signed in, go to the Admin tab
Step 3: add in your blog as an account
Step 4: your blog will be given a unique ID
Step 5: your blog will also get a tracking ID, which needed to be imbedded on your site
When using thesis in Word Press, you want to paste your entire code in the header, not the footer.
In Blogger, go to settings, then other, and you will see a section that says "Google analytics ID."
Keidra and Andrew say it's key to filter out your own visits on your blog. It may be a shock to see the number decrease, but it's good to give companies and brands an accurate amount of hits from visitors. There is a filter section right on Google Analytics.
Don't always rely on Google Analytics stats. Install another tracking system as well so you can make sure analytics numbers and trackings aren't off.
Quick Tip: If you are using wordpress.com instead of WordPress, Google analytics won't work for your site. Use wordpress.com stats in the jetpack plugin.
Getclicky.com is also a great resource for tracking and can track up to 3,000 views per day for free.
Visitors overview: The Basic Stats
Visitors are counted as readers that stay on your site for a lengthy period of time, then leave.
A "visit" is usually a session that is at most 30 minutes. It's re-set every 30 minutes, so if they stay on your site for longer, it may count as 2 visits.
A page view is when readers actually view certain posts or pages in their visit. A visitor can view multiple pages and an average reader looks at 2 to 3 pages per visit.
Average time is how long most of your readers stay on your site.
Bounce rate is how long a reader stays on our site then leaves to another site.
Quick Tip: By using the "slide show" option on your site, it will help to increase page views since they have to click on the picture in order to read the post.
Keidra and Andrew talked about avoiding data overload by identifying key metrics that tell you how your site is performing, and what agencies or advertisers ask for most.
Don't forget to focus on key words. Check out what your key words are doing and how high the bounce rate is. If a key word has a high bounce, that means most of your readers are coming to your site and not finding what they were looking for. Example: if you blog about food, and Mickey Mouse is a big key word for you, there probably is a problem. If the high bounce key word is "hamburger" then you are good to go.
Andrew expressed that each aspect of analytics has a place in each type of blog. If you are visual blogger, you'd want to have a low bounce rate, since you want your pictures or art viewed for a certain period of time. Content bloggers need to pay attention to key words for inspiration on posts.
Pay attention to your top referring websites. Check out what links are creating most traffic and figure out how your engagement on that site is increasing your readership. Example: If Facebook is your highest referral, focus more on your influence there.
Andrew also stated "Remember: your statistics are here to teach you. If you see a post that is doing mediocre, it's OK to go back and do a small amount of editing." While Andrew had this view, Keidra felt differently, saying that changing a picture, fixing typos can all help, but doing too much editing may effect your all around stats.
The panelists say that we should keep an eye on our exit pages. If you see lots of exits on your About Me page, maybe it needs to be restructured or condensed. But remember, the more popular you are, the more exit pages you may have, so don't get discouraged.
Audience Member: How do RSS feeds affect Google analytics?
Keidra: If they are reading the whole post through the RSS, then it is not counted on analytics. You should do excerpts and get the reader to actually come to the site.
When you are viewing your average visitor time, remember that the averages lie. Some may stay for a few seconds, while other will stay for half an hour. You'll want to break down your data and see how many stay for how long. Take note: if you see lots of readers leaving in 10 seconds, that may mean that you site is taking too long to load.
Lastly, the panelists shared with us that we can make an excel spreadsheet that will track your trends on your site. gaexcelplugin.tatvic.com is a great plugin that will create the spreadsheet for you, as well as excellentanalytics.com.
Resources for help
Andrew suggests using crazyegg.com for help with your analytics; for $10 a month, it will track where our readers go, scroll and click, including pictures! It even includes a scroll map to show you where your readers scroll, have the most activity on your page, and where they stop scrolling.
Check their slide share for more great Google analytics help links and resources.