Beginners Guide To Google Analytics For Bloggers

If you have a blog or a website, one of the most important things you can do is track your visitors.  One of the easiest ways to track visitors is with a tool called Google Analytics.  The best part about it is Google Analytics is a free tool.  You can use it quite passionately in terms of tracking blogs statistics, on checking out which posts get the most viewing, how well social media marketing is working and so much more. For beginners, it’s much more difficult to traverse the program, especially when you have no idea where to start.  Learn how with this beginners guide to google analytics for bloggers.

Google Analytics in the beginning is scary. So many options, so much information – what is a bounce rate?!  It’s all a little overwhelming, and if you don’t know where to start, you can either end up with a program installed on your blog that you don’t really know how to use, or really be missing out on some sweet information on your blog. To make things a little bit easier for Google analytic beginners, I’ve put together this super simple beginners guide to google analytics for bloggers.

Beginners Guide To Google Analytics For Bloggers

Beginners Guide To Google Analytics For Bloggers

To start, you’ll need a Google account.  If you already have one, you’ll just need to go to analytics.google.com and create a login for this particular tool.  Now, you’ll have to set up your website with Google Analytics, which requires a little bit of advanced technical skill, but we’ll do a segment on that, as well, to help you along.

Beginners Guide To Google Analytics For Bloggers

 

When looking at your homepage in Google Analytics, there are a number of different areas Google Analytics uses.  Here’s the rundown and what they mean:

Sessions  

Total number of Sessions within the date range. A session is the period time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. All usage data (Screen Views, Events, Ecommerce, etc.) is associated with a session.

Pageviews

The total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.

Users

Users that have had at least one session within the selected date range. Includes both new and returning users.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).

Average Session Duration

The average length of time that a visitor stays on your website. 

Pages/Sessions

The average number of pages viewed during a session. Repeated views of a single page are counted.

% New Sessions

An estimate of the percentage of first time visits.

AUDIENCE

Here, in the audience overview of Google Analytics, we’ll go over some of the common segments in the data reporting that you’ll want to utilize once you’re in there. 

New vs Returning 

This is a great place to understand how people who have been to your site before behave differently to those who are new to your website.  This feature is located under the Behavior tab.   You’ll see they have the metrics broken out here in sessions, percentage of new sessions, new users, and then a variety of these other metrics. 

Mobile

Another very important data set is the usage from devices.  Typically, you’ll only need to look in the overview here.  As we know, a lot of people are using mobile more than desktop and tablet these days because obviously, it’s convenient and we always have our cell phones on us.  If you take a look here, this is just going to show you the three primary devices where people are visiting the site from; mobile, desktop, and tablet.  Here again, we’ve got sessions, new users, and then a variety of these other metrics.

(Photo below of New vs. Returning Section)

Beginners Guide To Google Analytics For Bloggers

ACQUISITION

This is going to show you a lot of data in terms of where your visitors came from.  The overview in Acquisition is simply that, it’s just a very high level overview.  I don’t use or look at this very much.  You’ll find more information is going to be in channels. Channels break things out in a very broad level between social, direct, organic search, referrals, and then email.

Channels

Social  – Obviously, social is going to be social properties, people visiting your website from Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, et cetera.  Pretty self-explanatory.

Direct – This number refers to the number of people who simply type your URL into their browser and visit your site directly.

Organic Search – These are searches done in a search engine.  Your website can rank for certain keywords or phrases.  If a visitor comes to your website from one of these keywords, phrases or photos in a search, that is categorized under Organic Search.

Referrals – Any other website on the internet that links to your website and a visitor was able to find your website through that link.  

For example, if I had a link on my website to your blog or your website, and a visitor from mine clicked the link and landed on your website, in your analytics, Google would show a referral from my website in this source.  

Beginners Guide To Google Analytics For Bloggers

SITE CONTENT

Under site content, we’re going to want to look primarily at all pages and landing pages.  What this is going to tell us mostly is where people are arriving at on our website and which pages are visited the most.

All Pages – Your most popular page views.   If a user was to come in on your website or your blog for a post, let’s say about the Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Blog, and then that user clicked to another post to read about the DIY Nurse’s Survival Kit, that is going to be recorded as a page view because the user has viewed the page in some fashion.  Even though they didn’t land on that page, they viewed the page.

Landing Pages – This shows you which pages are greeting your website visitors.  These landing pages are oftentimes the first experience a visitor has with your website.

Between the 2 metrics, you can determine a couple things. What pages are most popular on your site (once they are on there) and what pages are most popular when entering from the outside for the first time.

Beginners Guide To Google Analytics For Bloggers

DASHBOARDS

The next thing I want to show you is this section called dashboards.  Dashboards are a little bit more advanced, but once you get the hang of using Google Analytics, it’s super convenient to have dashboards set up where you can keep data tables and different charts, and graphs of data that you want to look at on a regular basis.  It’ll save it in these dashboards and you can access it any time just to see a quick overview of different metrics.  

I’ll show you an example that we have set up here.  This dashboard features some generic widgets with a variety of different user metrics.  It’ll always keep your metrics in this nice, clean, easy view.  You’ll be able to change or modify those whenever you want to.  

DATE RANGE

You can always change your date range for the data set that you want to look at.  You’ll be able to go as far back as whenever you initiate your Google Analytics account and started tracking data.  We can go all the way back to the beginning of the year here up until yesterday.  You’ll see the metrics change and the graphs, and charts change.  

When you change the date, that date will continue to follow through any of the data sets that you look at down here again.  If we were to go to channel metrics, the date ranges stayed the same, but the metrics and our charts have adjusted.  

Beginners Guide To Google Analytics For Bloggers

 

CLAIM YOUR GOOGLE ANALYTICS DASHBOARD

Track & Analyze Your Blog’s Stats The Smart Way!

    • Overall Site Sessions
    • Top Referral Sources
    • Top Pageviews & Average Time on Page
    • Traffic From Social Networks
    • Traffic Via Device

 

Are you already using Google Analytics with your blog? What are some of your favorite features?

 

 

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37 Comments

  • Reply renalexis01 October 12, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Wow, this is very helpful and I really enjoyed reading it because it’s not very technical and it’s easy to understand. Thanks you so much, JJ and Nicole for sharing this one. And thank you for the free downloadable 😀

  • Reply Melanie October 14, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    This post is super helpful!! I am still trying to learn the ins-and-outs of tracking stats and sometimes it is all just so confusing!! Thank you for helping to make things a little more clear!

  • Reply Jamie October 14, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Great basic introduction to using Google Analytics. You did a great job of defining Google terms that seem confusing for those starting out and showing how to navigate to the important stuff.

  • Reply momknowsbest15 October 14, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for the info. It makes using the Analytics so much easier to understand and use.

  • Reply Sarah @ Foxy's Domestic Side October 14, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    This is great! Thanks! 🙂

  • Reply Niccole Jones October 15, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Great post! Thank you for sharing this information. I always heard about Google Analytics, however; I kind of glazed over at the thought of trying to incorporate something else! I’m going to take this information and move forward with implementing Google Analytics on my website.. Thanks again Nicole and JJ!

  • Reply gloriousmomblog October 15, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Ugh, I just started even though I’ve had my blog for a bit, because WordPress tracks my stats pretty well. But this affiliate site wanted a screenshot, and, well, analytics is still showing zero page views

  • Reply Rosario October 15, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Loved the post!

  • Reply Paige Strand October 15, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Great one, one of the few posts that really goes into detail on this.

  • Reply Bren | Virtual Bren October 15, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Fabulous tips! I know many bloggers that don’t understand Google Analytics nor how to best use them to our advantage. Passing it along.

  • Reply Jenna October 15, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    This is really useful, thank you! I generally sort of glance through it all with a vague idea of what it means and tell myself I should look into it more deeply *someday*. 🙂

  • Reply Amanda | My Gluten-Free Miami October 16, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you for this post. I am familiar with the analytics, but my VA is not. This explains the terms in an easy to understand format. Now when I talk about the various terms, she has a better understanding of what I’m talking about.

  • Reply Victoria Sponge Pease Pudding October 17, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Have been looking for a post like this, thanks very much for putting this together!

    http://victoriaspongepeasepudding.com/

  • Reply melissa velazquez October 17, 2016 at 10:43 am

    This is really helpful. I’ve had GA on my site for a few months but definitely learned a lot more than I was doing in the few minutes on this post!

  • Reply Lisa Sell October 17, 2016 at 10:47 am

    So timely! I was trying to figure it out earlier today. Thank you!

  • Reply Sarah Jean October 17, 2016 at 10:51 am

    I constantly feel overwhelmed by Google Analytics. Thanks for this post to reference!

  • Reply Lauren - Glitter & Grandeur October 17, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Great tips! I’ll be pinning this so I can come back for refreshers later on down the line. This is such a good resource!

  • Reply From the Penny Jar October 17, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Thank you for making it all clearer. It can be quite daunting when you first start a blog. There are so many things to learn and understand and Google Analytics is not the most new user friendly.

  • Reply Amber Harrop October 17, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Thank You I needed this post – Google Analytics scares me slightly !

  • Reply sandsunandmessybuns.com October 17, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    This is a very easy-to-understand explanation of Google Analytics. Thanks so much for sharing. Pinning it!
    xoxo, erin | sandsunandmessybuns.com

  • Reply Lovely Little Lives October 18, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Thanks for this helpful post. I have not used Google Analytics yet but I’m going to start now!

  • Reply JadoreLeDecor October 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    This is a really helpful article. I’m definitely going to bookmark it, and refer back often. Thank you for this!

    Ola | JadoreLeDecor.com

  • Reply WomenEmpowermentCoach October 18, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    This is a great post! I definitely didn’t know how to use Google Analytics before. This post is very helpful. Thank you so much!

  • Reply Lisa October 20, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Awesome post. Have been struggling with Google Analytics for awhile. This was super helpful. Thanks.

  • Reply Ashley October 24, 2016 at 4:58 am

    So helpful! I randomly log into my account, get overwhelmed and quickly exit before the anxiety can take hold This is going to ease that feeling quite a bit.

  • Reply Kelly Pierce December 21, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you for this helpful post! I actually linked it in my post about setting up a Google Analytics page ( http://www.theprocrastinatingnovelist.com/2016/11/07/5-steps-to-google-analytics/ ), and also used the dashboard you provided, which made things so much easier.

  • Reply Lisa February 21, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Amazing post that is very useful right now. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Marcella's Mind February 21, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Fantastic article, I wish that someone has written that post earlier. I have and enjoy it. It is very helpful for beginners!

  • Reply Amanda Middleton February 21, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks for the info! I do not look at mine enough, but now I will. This was very helpful! 🙂

  • Reply danay February 21, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    I live, eat and breathe GA, so I have to tell you that this is a very thorough and easy-to-understand guide for beginners. I’ll have to share this with a few peeps I know could use it.

  • Reply twoboysonepup February 21, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Needed this! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply featherflint February 21, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Bookmarking this – Google Analytics is so intimidating!

  • Reply Danielle February 21, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Thank you for this!! I am going to pin this and save if for the future so I can read it more in depth,

  • Reply An Organised Home February 21, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I have only recently started using Google Analytics, so any help is appreciated.

  • Reply Nandita February 22, 2017 at 2:05 am

    I have a Google Analytics login, but all the data and subcategories seemed to be really confusing. This article seems to be very helpful and I’ve bookmarked it to refer back once I set aside some time to tackle Google Analytics head on and make some sense out of it…thanks 🙂

  • Reply thatnoiseismine February 22, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Ah, this is very helpful. Thank you! My webmaster has just installed Google Analytics on my site but I had no idea what I was looking at. You’ve certainly cleared some things up 🙂

  • Reply Kate AL February 22, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Thank you so much for making this information so clear and accessible. As a fairly new blogger, I am still working on getting a good understanding of my analytics, and this absolutely will help a lot!

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