Like most bloggers, I’m sure you’ve logged into your Google Analytics dashboard once or twice and been totally confused by all the numbers, charts, and graphics. You can literally track EVERYTHING, but most bloggers don’t need to know every little movement their readers make.
Keeping an eye on your numbers is important to help you figure out what to post and where to promote, but which ones REALLY matter??
To simplify things, here are 5 items to track so you can create a strategy to grow your blog traffic without being overwhelmed by all the data.
How are people getting to your site? Are they finding you via Google search, typing your url straight into their browser, or clicking links on social media? And when they click links on social media, are most people coming from Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? LinkedIn?
This is one of the most important metrics to pay attention to. If you’re putting all your promotional effort into Facebook but stats say your traffic is coming from Pinterest (like mine…holy moly!), then it’s time to change up your strategy.
You’ll find this under Acquisition (click on Social to view the breakdown)
Average session duration
Once you know where your traffic is coming from it’s important to note how long users are staying on your site. (If it’s not very long, you can learn how to reduce your blog’s bounce rate over here.)
While only 5% of my traffic comes from Twitter, those users stay on my site an average of one minute longer than all of the other channels. One minute in blog reading time is essentially an eternity!
A whole extra minute means readers from Twitter are more likely to read an entire blog post and take action like subscribing, sharing, or making a purchase. I’ve been tweaking things to see if I can grow my Twitter game (hence last week’s blog post).
Through which blog posts and pages are most of your readers entering? These might be a reader’s first introduction to you so make sure they’re . . .
- Super valuable
- Easy to scan (add headings)
- Include a content upgrade
- Include related links within the post content (like that link up there ^^^)
Also check out those session durations and think about what you can add or update to keep readers reading longer.
You’ll find this under Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages
If most readers are showing up through an old post that doesn’t have anything to do with your current niche, it might be time to unpublish that sucker. For example, if your goal is to gain fitness coaching clients but most of your readers show up for a post on cake decorating, they aren’t going to stick around and they’re definitely not the ideal people to hire you. Yes, even if your frosting skills are seriously on point. It’s better to lose that traffic than have your stats thrown off by a random post!
Next, if you’re a SumoMe user, you can jump into your share stats (under clicks) and see which posts are doing the marketing work for you and generating the most shares.
You’ll likely start seeing a pattern of what’s popular, so take the time to go through at least your top 10 posts and make sure they’re in good shape.
Desktop vs Mobile
Lastly, it’s important to know what devices people are using to view your site. 52% of my audience reads my blog on their phone, which means my site MUST be optimized to make it easy for them to read long blog posts and find what they’re looking for.
When was the last time you checked your site on a phone or tablet to see what your readers are seeing?? If they’re struggling to read your posts or move through your site, you could be losing tons of traffic and potential subscribers, clients, or customers. No bueno!