Everybody is saying it
“You need to blog to bring visitors to your site”
But you must analyse what visitors are reading on your blog to maximise the return on your investment.
This article from Mark Hansen, the Founder and President of Megalytic , on the Google Analytics metrics and reports for Bloggers is worth a read.
TOP GOOGLE ANALYTICS METRICS & REPORTS FOR BLOGGERS
It’s no secret that blogging can improve your business. An up-to-date and relevant blog will attract visitors to your site, generate sales leads, increasing executive visibility and promote legitimacy in your industry. In fact, companies that blog receive 97% more links to their website, and B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that don’t. (source)
Having a blog, though, takes a lot of work. You have to develop an editorial calendar, find the time to write posts, and appropriately promote the content to make sure that you’re seeing an ROI from your effort. To help, Google Analytics offers a number of reports and metrics that can support your blogging from developing topic ideas to measuring engagement – all with the overarching goal of converting your blog traffic to customers or subscribers.
In this article we share three ways Google Analytics can help, whether you’re new to the blogging game or a seasoned veteran.
Develop Topic Ideas
If you knew that certain blog posts were better at capturing the interest of your readers, you would likely spend more time focusing on similar topics to keep visitors engaged. Within Google Analytics, you can use the Avg. Time on Page metric to see what content your visitors are actually taking the time to read.
You can find this metric in the Pages report, under Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. By clicking on the Avg. Time on Page column, you will sort the list in descending order to show the top performing pages according to this measurement.
Be sure to evaluate the other metrics in this report, though, to ensure that you’re getting an accurate read of how well these posts are performing. You may notice that a post has a high Avg. Time on Page stat, but isn’t receiving a ton of traffic. You can filter out low traffic pages by using Google Analytics’ Advanced Filters. Click on the “advanced” link at the top of the page, and create a filter for Pageviews that meet a minimum threshold.
In the example below, we see a list of pages filtered to those with at least 1,000 Pageviews, sorted with the highest Avg. Time on Page at the top.
Once you have an understanding of what blog posts your readers are dedicating their time to, you can use this information to develop an editorial calendar focused on topics that are proven to engage your visitors. In the example above, this blogger may want to include more articles relevant to juicers or juicing recipes, as the “Juicer Buying Guide” article appeared to perform the best with time spent reading it.
Promote Blog Content
Unless you’re a full-time blogger, you likely don’t have time to promote your blog around-the-clock on every social media site imaginable. With this in mind, you can use Google Analytics to determine what blog content is most valuable to promote via what social channel. Ultimately, you want to spend your time sharing content that is going to drive traffic to your blog.
Before getting started, you want to confirm that your links on social media are properly tagged and that Goals are set up to track conversions from social media referrals. If you need a step-by-step guide, you can check out this blog post on improving your social media strategy with Google Analytics. (source)
Once these items are set up, you can visit the Acquisition > Social > Conversions report to see which social network is sending you the most conversions. In the example below, we can see that Facebook drives by far the majority of conversions and should continue to be an area of emphasis for promoting content. However, Pinterest may also present an opportunity for increasing activity and increasing conversions.
Although traffic is incredibly important, bloggers should also be invested in how many visitors are reading the posts and taking a secondary action—like subscribing for more content. To measure this engagement, you will need to set up Goals in Google Analytics to track when a subscriber form has been completed. (source)
Within Google Analytics, select Conversions > Goals > Goal Flow to see the path that traffic is taking to reach a Goal Conversion. Here you can see whether your readers are finding and completing the subscriber form the way that you intended, or if you need to make any adjustments to this process to optimize signups.
In the example below, we see the most popular blog landing pages that resulted in newsletter signups. We can see that an article on “how to stop food cravings” drove the most subscriptions, so people interested in actionable tips such as this are likely to want to receive the newsletter. Using this information, the blogger may want to streamline the newsletter subscription process on similar posts, or tailor the newsletter to focus on these kinds of articles.
As you build your blog, be sure to regularly refer to the Google Analytics reports that can help you track performance. Here, I’ve provided a brief overview of some reports that can help. However, keep in mind that there is no “silver bullet” to blogging success that can be found by studying Google Analytics.
You’ll need to experiment with your content until you find the right formula to build the audience you seek. As you work on you blog, continually check your Google Analytics reports to find content that strikes the right balance of driving traffic, encouraging engagement, and increasing conversions. As you spend more time reviewing these reports, you will become more familiar with what approach will work best for your blog.