Have you ever wondered what your website visitors are doing on your website?
Or where they came from? Or what they like best about your content?
Do you ever feel frustrated trying to figure out exactly what’s working? Or what’s not?
OK, so I know I’m slightly on the geeky side (not obsessive, no, no, no, just geeky) when it comes to data, but I can’t help be curious about how my web visitors found me, or where my email subscribers came from or which of my posts they enjoy and share the most.
I spend an inordinate amount of time on the Google Analytics app on my phone checking my stats – and so I know which ones are the most meaningful and useful reports.
I’m only interested in information that helps me do something.
So when I share a new blog post I want to know – where is it best received?
I post and share it everywhere, but I always want to go back after a week, or a month to find out where I received the most interest so I can do more of that:
- Did most my readers come from Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram most?
- Did posting it to Stumbleupon or Reddit or Quora send relevant readers over?
- Which other website referred visitors to my site?
- Were those visitors interested enough to read it all the way through?
- Or click onto another post? Or sign up to my email list?
One of the problems I hear from you is that you don’t know where to start with Google Analytics, it’s overwhelming, you’re not sure what to look at first, and you cant be sure you’re using it correctly.
So here’s are the two most useful reports that you can look at right now to get a good idea of what’s working and what’s not.
#1 Audience Overview:
First report to dive into – this one gives you an overview of how many visitors your site has, how many of them are new visitors (you want this to be over 70% ideally), how long people are spending on your site in minutes (anything over 1-minute is good), how many different pages they visit (more 1.5 is good) and the bounce rate.
I’ve seen bounce rates as low as 20% and as high as 80%. There is no hard and fast rule as it very much depends on what niche you’re in and what kind of website you have. I’m happy with 55% bounce rate.
#2 Acquisition by source/medium (bounce rate and avg. time on site)
Go to Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source/Medium.
This is my favourite report of all.
It’s the one that in just a single glance tells you which social network, or referrer or source has been sending visitors to your website.
But more importantly, you can see which is sending the right visitors to your site. See under ‘behaviour’ the colums for Bounce rate, pages/session and avg session duration?
These all show that whilst direct traffic is the most engaged in my content with a very low bounce rate, almost 4 pages per session are looked at in an average 1.32 minutes, the next best source of acquiring new visitors is via Instagram!
The numbers are still low (just 51 visits in the last 30 days) but the people who come via Instagram are more engaged than those who come via Pinterest.
So what can you now do with this data?
Now you know the basics. You know how many people are reading your posts and you know how they found you. Take a look at the report above:
- You can see that Pinterest is an important channel for me – the promoted pins that I ran have been sending relevant visitors to my site. So I’m going to continue to create, pin and promote all my blog posts there.
- I see that Google is not sending me many relevant visitors. I haven’t focused much on SEO, but I see that as an opportunity for the long term.
- And Instagram is an interesting channel for me. The audiences who find me there are very interested in my content, and whilst the numbers are still quite low (I have less than 2k followers) it’s something I can build on.
These two reports, if you look at them just once a month, will tell you where to focus your marketing efforts.
These are the guiding light, the compass to show you what’s working and what’s not.
Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg! There is much more you can find out with Google Analytics data.
Use these two simple reports to get started, take just one small step to understanding your website visitors and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find the information that will move your business forwards. And if you want to use my personal Google Analytics custom dashboard, you can download it for free here (a simple template combining the most meaningful reports for bloggers)