blog tips

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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1. noun: a female blogger that writes about her own experiences, observations and opinions. 2. verb: to act like a complete idiot or to do something stupid. e.g: She did a Corinne.

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