Have you ever tried to check your blog stats and gotten so overwhelmed with all the information and unfamiliar terms that you just decided you didn’t need to know?
Yeah, Google Analytics can be seriously overwhelming. Brands ask you for certain numbers, but when you go to get those numbers the terminology is different so you have no idea which number to give them.
Today I’m going to walk you through some of the basics of Google Analytics and explain some of the confusing terms so you can track the AMAZING growth on your blog!
Google Analytics Basics
Date Range – Once you log into GA, you’re going to want to set the date range first thing. It automatically gives you the last 30 days, but you can set it for the last year or two if you want…or just yesterday too. This is done on the top right hand corner.
Real Time – The next area of interest should be the Real Time –> Overview section. If you click on that, it will tell you how many people are on your site right now and what posts they are reading.
Audience – This section tells you basic background info on the people that visit your site. It can be helpful to check this quarterly to make sure that your Target Audience is still the same as you think. (You don’t want to be writing posts for 30-something moms when your main readers are really teenage boys!)
Acquisition – This section is very useful because it tell you how people get to your site.
I mainly use the Channels section. It will give you a breakdown of Social vs Direct vs Organic vs Referral. I like to then click on those sections so I can see exactly the breakdown of where my traffic is coming from…for instance, if you click on Social it will break it down among all of the social media sites. This way you know which is sending you the most traffic and where you should be concentrating your efforts.
I also use the Referrals section. This tells me exactly which sites are sending me traffic. I use this to tell me if it’s worth my time to do certain linkies. If I’ve been doing them for a couple months and I’m only getting 2 hits, then maybe it’s time to find a new one. If you click on the site, it will tell you exactly which posts on that site are sending you traffic.
Behavior – I spend most of my GA time in here. I visit the Overview page multiple times a day to check to see what my pageviews are and what posts are the top 10 for the day/month.
If you click on Site Content –> then All Pages you can check the top 100 or so posts on your site. This is good to do every month so you know what’s working and what’s not. This also gives you information about the Bounce Rate for each post. If it’s a high number that tells you that people are not reading the post…they’re probably just scanning it and bouncing away to another site. You want to try to reduce those rates so this can tell you which posts need to be reworked.
Some of the terms are a little confusing. I mainly look at Pageviews on a daily basis, but sometimes certain brands will ask you for your unique monthly views and you go to GA and that term isn’t there. It can be really confusing!
Pageviews – Still the same. That tells you how many views the pages of your blog have gotten. This is the biggest number…and since that makes me feel the best, I always stick with this number.
Users – This used to be Unique Visitors. So this is how many different people came to your site. Now they may have gone to 20 pages on your site, but it still counts as just one.
Sessions – This is the confusing one. It used to be Visits. This is actually time dependent…it’s what happens within 30 min of the last action. If someone comes to your site and leaves the page open and does nothing, then comes back an hour later and clicks on another page…that counts as two sessions. But if the person clicks around, but leaves the page open and comes back 29 minutes later…that counts as 1 session. (Clear as mud, right?)
Here’s a little 8 min video where I walk you through my dashboard: