How To Use Google Analytics // The Basics

How To Use Google Analytics

On my February Stats and Income round up, Zoe from Styling the Chapters asked me this question in the comments:

Hey! I was wondering if you had a blog post on how to use google analytics as this post made me realise how much I don’t understand it or use it correctly, and I’m pretty sure I can’t rely on Blogger stats. If you did I’d love if you could link me to it, if not – do you have any tips on how to use it?

I don’t have a post on Google Analytics, but thought this would be a great way to look into it and see how I analyse my own stats.

How To Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a fantastic tool to check the progress for your blog and there’s so much information you can find on there to track certain things. You can even go as far as tracking landing pages, e-mail sign ups etc to track what pages convert the best. But I’m not going to go into that much detail here. Partly because I want to discuss the basics today, and partly because although I’ve read a lot of about the more detailed stuff, I’ve not ever felt the need to sit down and have a play for myself. Maybe some day!

Why you can’t rely on Blogger stats.

First of all, less address why you can’t rely on Blogger stats.

Blogger tracks ALL traffic coming to your site, including bots and spam. Google Analytics just tracks human traffic. This means your Blogger stats can be extremely inflated. When I was on Blogger, I’d often hit 1000 page views a day. In reality, those numbers were only around 200-300 views a day. A massive difference.

How To Use Google Analytics

Let’s get set up.

It’s pretty simple to get set up once you sign up. You can either put the tracking code in your <body> tag in your blogs template or if you’re on Blogger, under Settings > Other, there is an option to put your Analytics Web Property ID from Google Analytics in it.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 11.21.21

WordPress also has Plugins that let you add your Analytics Web Property ID to start tracking.

Both your tracking code and Analytics Web Property ID can be found in your Admin tab at the top of GA under Tracking Info.

Real Time Stats

One thing I love looking at is my real time stats. I generally stick on the main overview page.

How To Use Google Analytics

This shows me how many people are on my blog right now. It also shows whether they’re using a desktop, mobile or tablet device.

If you scroll down slightly, you can see what post they’re reading, how they have come to your blog (eg by search, social media or another site) and where in the world they are.

How To Use Google Analytics

I generally look at this page if I’m getting a lot of retweets on Twitter, or if I get a spike or traffic to see where it’s coming from.

Checking your stats. 

The Audience Overview main page is where I spend most of my time on GA. Using the drop down menu, you can pick a date range and see where you are tracking monthly, weekly, daily or however long you want to track for.

How To Use Google Analytics

How To Use Google Analytics

Here’s what each thing means.

Sessions: A session is when someone visits your website. They may view one page, or they may view 10 pages.

Users: This is how many people have been on your site in your defined time frame. It’s common to have repeat visitor, especially if you are quite active in the community, you may have some people visit several times a month or week.

Pageviews: This is the amount of times a page on your blog has been viewed.

Pages/Sessions: This is how many pages people look at during one session on average.

Avg. Session duration: The amount of time that someone stays on your site on average.

Bounce Rate: This is calculated based on how many people just view one page, then leave. The lower the percentage, the better. But if you get a lot of people viewing a single post from Bloglovin’ or Twitter, then leaving, it’s going to be quite high unless they click through to further posts.

% New Sessions: This is how many sessions are from people that have never been on your site before.

Comparing Your Statistics 

How To Use Google Analytics Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 12.06.48

Comparing your stats is easy. Go to the tab where you enter the date and click ‘compare to’. Then you can set two dates to compare stats too.

As you can see, if you compare my January stats to my February stats – sessions, users and pageviews were down where as pages per session, session duration and bounce rate were up. It’s also important to remember that February has less days than January, which did impact the monthly stats a bit!

How To Use Google Analytics

So that should be the basics covered off for you.

If anyone has any other questions about Google Analytics that they’d like met to go through in a follow up post, then just leave me a comment or shoot me a tweet!

See the second post on this series: How To Use Google Analytics 2 – Your Audience

See the third post: How To Use Google Analytics 3 – Technology Your Audience Uses

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33 Comments

  1. March 31, 2016 / 8:09 am

    I’ve always wondered why my Google Analytics and Blogger stats were so different. This clears things up a lot. I’ve used Analytics but it’s quite confusing at first glance and overwhelming as well. I think you nailed everything in this post! Thanks so much Corrine!

    Sally – DiagonSally
    Sally. recently posted…Easter WeekendMy Profile

    • March 31, 2016 / 8:10 am

      Ahhh *Corinne sorry – Auto correct sucks! X

  2. Jude
    March 31, 2016 / 9:07 am

    Thank you for explaining this, GA has always been a complete mystery to me but I am going to now make an effort to get my head around it 🙂

  3. March 31, 2016 / 9:31 am

    I recently was learning how to use google analytics, it was pretty hard to use, thank you for share this!

  4. Candice
    March 31, 2016 / 10:32 am

    I only use Analytics for my stats they are more accurate

    Beauty Candy Loves

  5. Montse
    March 31, 2016 / 10:43 am

    This was so helpful, thank you so much! A bit annoying that I had been tracking my views with blogger for over four months tho because now I know they’re not real views! I set up GA a couple of months ago so I guess I will have to start from scratch!

  6. Laura Gale
    March 31, 2016 / 11:01 am

    Great post; this was really useful. I’ve had some success with Google Analytics in reducing my bounce rate, but I’m struggling to up my pageviews (according to the reports) massively!xx

    Laura | Lala London: Beauty & Lifestyle

  7. March 31, 2016 / 11:31 am

    This was really helpful! I have been blogging around 18 months and Google Analytics is still a huge blur!
    Emmy | Emmys Beauty Cave | Bloglovin

  8. March 31, 2016 / 1:39 pm

    Thank you for this very informative post ! I am going to have a look at this !
    Alexandra recently posted…The book tag :My Profile

  9. March 31, 2016 / 4:31 pm

    This has helped me understand Analytics in a way I hadn’t before 🙂 I didn’t realise you could compare monthly stats (although I’ve only been using it for a month, but I know next month I’ll give it a go!! 😀 x
    Holly Shannon recently posted…Our garden renovation | Part twoMy Profile

  10. March 31, 2016 / 8:27 pm

    When I first started checking google analytics, I had no idea what to look for. WordPress and google analytics still show different numbers, but not that much difference tho. I still don’t know how to evaluate the results, I should spend some time to check through them properly 🙂 x
    Ela recently posted…Glossy Lips with Smashbox Be Legendary Lip GlossMy Profile

  11. March 31, 2016 / 8:40 pm

    I’ve recently started using Google Analytics and was horrified at the difference between my stats there and the ones on Blogger, but now I only look at them on GA so I know they’re accurate

    Steph – http://nourishmeclean.blogspot.com

  12. April 1, 2016 / 9:52 am

    I never use the real time section because it’s sad, haha. I always check where my audience is from (audience/geo), how they got there (acquisition overview), and what the most popular posts are (behavior overview). I use that information to guide future content and promotion.

  13. April 2, 2016 / 4:01 am

    Honestly speaking, I prefer the Google Analytics years ago, where it’s simpler. I just began using Google Analytics recently again and it’s a bit intimidating. The terms are also somewhat confusing.

    I am pretty sure some of my traffic came from facebook, but I don’t see any “Facebook” from my listed referrals or source/medium.I also saw google as source/medium and if some visitors are from google, I hope they keywords they used are also included.

    I know there are these instruction at the top of the page but I hope it would be easier to navigate around the site without having to read through them.

  14. April 7, 2016 / 11:57 pm

    Thanks for this Corinne! SSOO useful! Am looking at my analytics right now and understanding them a bit more now and seeing that actually, the numbers aren’t too bad actually and hey, is that an improvement!?!? I *think* I may understand them!!! haha! #amazing xoxoxo

  15. April 25, 2016 / 6:17 pm

    Very helpful! THANK YOU!!

  16. May 10, 2016 / 4:48 pm

    Im now starting to get my head around Google Analytics and am loving it. I find the app easier than the webpage because it is more graphic based, might be best way for newbies to test it out 🙂

  17. May 11, 2016 / 7:17 pm

    I am also starting to understand Analytics and I do really find your blog very informative. You have explained it so clearly, I wish I had been able to read this blog post 7 years ago when I started blogging. Thank you very much x

  18. May 17, 2016 / 10:59 am

    So glad I found this post. I have been struggling to understand what everything meant.

    Jasmine x

  19. June 22, 2016 / 8:36 pm

    This is so useful as I know nothing about google analytics- I have always found it so confusing. Thank for this post! x

  20. July 28, 2016 / 3:28 pm

    OMG !!! GA makes a lot more sense now, at least the basics do. Thanks Corrine! You are such a HUGE help 🙂

  21. Jennifer
    July 28, 2016 / 4:34 pm

    Thank you so much for introducing me to Analytics. Great post and great help!

    Jen / Velvet Spring x

  22. July 29, 2016 / 10:07 pm

    OMG thanks for this! I never really understood GA and so this explaination has literally saved my life!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

  23. August 12, 2016 / 9:38 am

    Such a helpful post!I’m always quite confused when i visit Google Analytics,mainly because there are so many numbers and i don’t know where to look first haha I wonder if you know a way or maybe if you even did a post about it,how to clear up your references from ”fake” sites!I don’t know from where my traffic is coming because of that,it’s all about those robot sites ^_^

    xx Aphrodite ~ BubblyBeauty
    Aphrodite recently posted…How To Stay Motivated To Achieve Your GoalsMy Profile

  24. Rhiannon
    September 4, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been struggling to understand everything on analytics so this has really helped xo

    http://www.studentpaperie.co.uk

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