6 Metrics to Follow on Your Blog

We covered the reasons why you need Google Analytics on your blog – to, basically, improve based on this measurable data. It’s true that some of the most important things can’t be measured (like for example, how your readers feel after reading your post, is there a smile on their faces), but the numbers behind the behavior of your visitor when landing on your blog can give you valuable insights and help you manage better.

Closely monitor your blog's stats...

Closely monitor your blog’s stats…

Now we can look at some of the basic information Google Analytics provides for you. By combining this data you are getting deeper understanding of your audience wants and needs, and what you can do to serve them better. Check Google’s Get started with Analytics to set up your account.

Visitors

This is probably the one metric you are constantly checking – how many people are visiting your blog. It helps you see if your traffic is increasing over time, is there (hopefully) a repeating growth every week. You want to build a loyal following, but you also want to grow and expand your presence, and this means bringing new people to your blog too. To attract more first-time visitors and get the most exposure you should focus on your target keywords, improve your SEO, get active on social media, produce quality and promote your content.

Traffic Sources

Your traffic sources tell you where your readers come from. Knowing this helps you select the best platforms to reach out to your audience. Here’s what the terms mean:

Organic Search includes people who landed on your blog by clicking a link in search results after they’ve looked up certain keywords. You can modify your blog’s keyword strategy and SEO based on these numbers. Sadly, in September last year Google started redirecting all traffic to encrypted (protected) searches using https which meant no more organic keyword data in Google Analytics for bloggers and website owners. For more details and better understanding of the background read this SearchEngineWatch post.

Direct is the traffic from the people who directly typed your URL in the browser.

Referral traffic comes from searchers who clicked links to your blog on other blogs and websites.

Social traffic includes the visitors who came to your blog through social media.

Landing Pages

Landing is the page your readers first visited. Look at your top landing pages and see if you can optimize them to include calls-to-action and encourage visitors to interact further with your blog. Also you can build your content around these interests of your visitors.

Another important metric here is the Bounce Rate that shows the percentage of your blog visitors who viewed just one of your pages (the landing page), and left afterwards. Read the tips how to keep readers on your site and reduce the bounce rate.

Download the Google Analytics app to get access to your blog's data from your phone.

Download the Google Analytics app to get access to your blog’s data from your phone.

Average Time On Site

It’s important to know how much time your visitors spend on your blog. In most cases you want readers to stay longer, engaging with the content and going from one page to another, except for websites which provide short and fast services, where readers come, get the information they need, and leave quickly (grammar services or online banking).

Looking at this data you can also determine whether those who visit your pages actually read the content. If your post of around 700 words was viewed by 1000 people, but the average time they spent on the page is below 10 seconds, you can be certain most of them have not read what you’ve written. The reason can be your slow loading time, or maybe the starting paragraphs are poor and you need to tweak them to intrigue visitors into reading further.

Content

Here’s where you determine what content works best for your audience. Check which pages get the most views, how long people stay on those pages, and what are the bounce rates. If your visitors don’t bounce off but read and click through, then your most popular content is not only interesting, but also encourages them to explore other pages on your blog. Consider these numbers next time you need ideas for blog posts.

Exit Pages and Exit Rates

Exit Page is the last page searchers visit on your blog before they leave, and after viewing multiple pages, or just reading that one. The Exit Rate measures the percentage of visitors who exit your blog through a particular page. This metrics help us identify whether our visitors find the information they look for and if they are satisfied. If your landing page data matches closely with the exit pages, it may indicate that the people who land on your blog are not satisfied with the content provided, so they leave having no reason to return.

When analyzing and combining the information gathered from your blog’s Google Analytics make sure to put all numbers into their context to get accurate results, and don’t forget that these metrics are not generic for all types of blogs and websites, but you must decide for yourself which ones are the most important to you based on the goals you want to achieve.

Do you use Google Analytics? What metrics do you find valuable? Tell us in the comments.

Comments

  1. ashlene says

    O was not aware that Google Analytics is now an app. I will check this out on Google store so I now have easy access to my blog stats.

  2. Marielle P. says

    I actually didn’t know about Exit Pages and Exit Rates. Thanks for sharing this info. Knowing the percentage of actual traffic through blog visits is something I would love to know.

  3. melissa says

    Google analytics have proven its worth to me with all the data it could accumulate. I am happy to use this tool as I monitor the traffic on my site.

  4. Georgina Matheson says

    With Google Analytics, I get results within minutes. This had been a really helpful tool. Glad to have installed it on my mobile.

  5. Amanda Kurry says

    I like your post about “blog post ideas”.. It made me realize that the contents of my blog need more enhancement so that the readers won’t just bounce on my site. The metrics you provided are easy to understand, thank you for this.

  6. Helga Fox says

    For me, I think, the Visitors and Content metrics are the most valuable metrics when using Google Analytics. Because when you check out the kind of people and location that your visitors you are coming from, you are encouraged to do more for your blog, thus making sure that the content would be more appropriate for them.

  7. Angelu says

    I am so thankful for this, Heidi, it means a lot that you are helping a lot of bloggers like me, mostly new ones. We can take a lot of pieces of advice from your site. THanks!

  8. Faye says

    Thanks for sharing with us those terms like traffic, organic search and landing pages, etc, I myself didn’t know about them. Your site is really helpful, Heidi!

  9. Heather Lynn says

    Thank you for breaking this down in a way that I (and pretty much everyone) can understand!

    I started using it a couple months ago, but really had no idea what I was looking at. I love all of the information you provide on here! :-)

    I signed my blog up for blogger babes, but I don’t think I was accepted. :-(
    Either way, you have a loyal reader here! :-)

    Love, Heather Lynn
    http://heatherstreasure.com/

    • Heidi says

      Hi Heather, thanks for being a reader. We are currently re-doing our membership package and we’ll be sure to inform you when this launches!

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