You Should Be Using Google Analytics!
When I blogged on Book Badger, I relied on Blogger Stats to monitor my blogs growth and viewing figures, after all, I was working with publishers almost every week, reading review copies almost every night, statistics were a big part in what kept be me in the running to do what I loved. Almost a year after I started, I decided to check out Google Analytics and see whether it would shed more light on my blog, and delve deeper into what was working and what wasn't. Once I'd installed it and waited a few days for the information to be collected, I checked out my results..
My Blogger Stats were wrong. I'd been lied to.
The truth of the matter is, my Blogger Stats weren't technically wrong, they were just feeding me the wrong information, at least, it wasn't the information I wanted. Where I turned to my Blogger Stats to see my visitors and pageviews, I assumed that my statistics were all human traffic. How wrong was I. Blogger Stats collect data from all the traffic coming and going from your blog, which does include human traffic, but also includes bots and spam, which, believe it or not, can be the reason why you're getting over 10,000 pageviews per month, and hardly any actual social interaction or comments on your blog.
Finding out this the hard way was heartbreaking. I was hit hard by the fact that I wasn't as established as I thought I was. The information I'd giving publishers was false. I was hurt that I'd believed I was well liked and appreciated in the community, and that that showed on my stats, but it didn't. That's when I knew that using Google Analytics, wherever I bloged, was a complete and utter must.
I've not been without GA since I made the move to Beautiful Bookish Butterflies, and before Nellie and Co. was even in the design stages, Google Analytics was up, running, working and monitoring my actual statistics, my real statistics, and I've never looked back. In fact, I can't remember the last time I looked at my Blogger Stats!
Did you know you can do more than just track traffic though?
I've learnt a lot about Google Analytics since I've started using it, and the super cool features it has that I'm almost certain other users won't be aware of, and a few that might just convert you, if being lied to isn't worthy enough.
You Can Track Your Blog and Posts 7 Different Ways
In the above snapshot, you can see that Google Analytics allows you can track your blog by the number of sessions that have taken place (the number of times one person has spent on your blog consistently in a short space of time), by the number of users (the amount of unique people visiting your site), the number of pageviews, the number of pages visited on average person session (the amount of roaming and checking out the rest of your blog people do), the average length of time each session lasts (the time spent on each page), the bounce rate (the percentage of users who follow one link, read that post, and click out rather than stay on your site and explore) and the percentage of new sessions.
Personally, when I consult Google Analytics, I tend to focus on the number of users, the number of pageviews and the bounce rate. On Nellie and Co. especially, I want people to explore our resources and archives and find the right advice to help them. I want users to want to find our hidden secrets and enjoy being on the site, and want to see more, and these are all things I work on through the three items I track.
Bounce Rate is the feature that a lot of bloggers are told not to worry about, as it's pretty common for blogs to have high bounce rates (usually between 70-90%) due to visitors following a link, reading the post connected to said link, and then clicking out. I believe that no matter the type of blog you run, whether your doing it as a hobby or as a business, your bounce rate is important. It's what keeps people on your site for longer, the site you run and maintain, the site your pour your everything into, why would you not want visitors to stay and explore more. I have a post coming up soon about easy ways you can help improve your bounce rate, and I do hope you check it out.
You can even check what posts people love most
In the above snapshot, you can see that Google Analytics allows you can track what posts people are loving most and checking out, with bells and whistles to boot. Not only can you keep an eye on the kids of posts people enjoy from you, but you can check out how many unique page views each post has received (the amount of individual IP addresses finding their way on said page), the average amount of time spent on each page, the amount of entrances (people entering your site through each page) and exits (people leaving your site through each page) and once again, your bounce rate.
This is the part of Google Analytics I personally spend the most time on and researching. By regularly looking at which posts get the most attention on Nellie and Co. I can work on creating more of that content, which is continue to bring in the readers, and hopefully, even more readers in the long run. I admit to obsessively checking my bounce rate (because as mentioned earlier, you should really consider it no matter what you're level of blogging experience is or what you blog about) and this section allows me to do that ten fold. It's also the section that enables me to give some of my lesser loved posts more love by sharing them more, linking them in upcoming posts, or even creating new content that is related so I can improve it's ranking in my analytic's results.
Its not over; use Webmaster Tools to track search terms!
I'm currently in the midst of learning more about this feature myself, but from the looks of things, it could very well become my joint favourite feature of Google Analytics! Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO as it is commonly known by) works by making the search engines work for you, when all your hard work is done and dusted, and you can check out this new feature with this tutorial on how to set up Webmaster Tools, or Search Console Data Sharing as it may be titled, and get all of the know how you need with this handy dandy tutorial from Melyssa at The Nectar Collective on how to utilise Search Engine Optimisation through Google Analytics for your blog or website!
Google Analytics is without a doubt my go-to when it comes to monitoring and checking on Nellie and Co. and I don't think I could blog as well as I do without it. Sure, it can get a little heavy when you're checking on it regularly, and it can be disappointing to find that a post you absolutely loved writing doesn't get the love you hoped for, but that's what Google Analytics does, it challenges you to be a better blogger, and shows you what's working and what isn't. It's the very blunt blogging best friend every blogging needs, and it puts Blogger Stats in their place. If you're still using Blogger Stats to monitor your blog, you're letting yourself down - get yourself onto Google Analytics and do it right.