A great meter for how well you’re doing with composing interesting blog content and generating traffic to your blog is the science of measuring blog analytics. Analytics reports, generated by programs such as Google Analytics or Stat Tracker, that give a blog owner a concrete glimpse into how their blog is being utilized by their readership. These reports can measure your blog’s growth over a specified time, track which sites most frequently refer readers to your blog, determine the most popular types of content you are producing, and much more.
Basic analytics reports track unique visitors, page views, bounce rate, time spent on your blog site, and several other valuable pieces of information. Below is a breakdown of the basic types of analytics reports available, and how they can help you understand both your blog itself and the readers who pass through it, a little better.
Understanding Analytics Report Terms:
- Unique Visitors. A report of unique visitors shows you how many unique, individual visitors pass through your blog. If your blog was a busy coffee shop, this report would reveal how many individual customers visited your store, not how many customers came back twice in one day for a refill.
- Page Views. Page view reports show the number of times your blog has been viewed over a specific period. This number includes new visitors and returning readers alike.
- Visits. The visits report indicates every time that every reader has been to your blog’s website. This includes the new reader who found your blog on a message board and the three separate times a reader came back to your blog to refer to a single post.
- Bounce Rate. Your blog’s bounce rate refers to how many readers begin on your blog page and then click off to a different website, versus how many readers begin on one blog post and continue clicking on pages within your site. A low bounce rate indicates that people enjoy your content and are sticking around to read several posts when they visit.
- Time Spent on Site. The details of this report are simple – this statistic shows how much time people are spending on your blog website when they visit.
Making Analytics Work for You
- Measuring Blog Growth. Typically, analytics programs allow you to specify a certain period to display a graph charting the growth of your blog. This way, you can review the past three months, the past year, or the growth of your blog since its beginning – whatever information you need!
- Referral Tracking. Many bloggers enjoy viewing reports of which websites most refer readers to their blogs. These types of reports enable a blogger to see which search engines display their blog post information, determine if the time they are spending posting on message boards and leaving blog comments is paying off, and more. When it comes to generating blog traffic, a referral report is a fantastic asset for seeing what methods are worth investing your time in and which are better left to the wayside.
- Determining Popular Content. Since analytic reports show which blog posts receive the highest number of views, bloggers who spend time reviewing these reports can make wise decisions about the types of content they choose to publish most. For example, if a company that sells dietary supplements finds that a particular supplement they have been posting about is getting plenty of page views, they can plan for posts that include more content specifically about this supplement in hopes to provide their readers with more information and to draw in new readers who may be searching for information about the product as well.
- Keyword Search. Reports that show which keyword searches led readers to a particular site can be very informative. If a blogger notices certain web searches are routinely leading readers to the blog via search engine results, the blog owner can incorporate these keywords into blog posts more often in hopes of creating SEO paths that lead readers consistently to their blog website.
The first step in beginning to track your blog’s analytics is to research which analytics programs are most often used with your blog-hosting platform. Most analytic-tracking programs have detailed tutorials, and an internet search will turn up many blog posts and how-to guides on maximizing the tracking platform you choose.
Once a basic understanding of how to read analytics reports is mastered, the information contained in said reports can be invaluable to your blog’s growth and success. Consider analytics a personalized guide to what you’re doing well, what you need to improve upon, and what your readers want more of!