Almost every kind of blogging activity be it personal blogging, business or corporate blogging, hobby blogging or affiliate blogging etc, have at least some degree of expectations on Return on Investment (ROI) front and every blogger likes to see the outcomes of his / her blog to be aligned towards his desired goals of blogging. How does a blogger identify that the efforts being put are in the right directions? What is going right and most importantly what needs to be corrected? Understanding their blog analytics will give important insights into such questions of utmost importance, without which all the blogging efforts could go in vain and ultimately lead to frustration.
First of all what is blog analytics and how do we get the data? Blog analytics basically consists of data on visitor that come to a blog, what pages he visited, where and how did he come from, how much time he spent, which links he clicked & where did he exited from the blog. There are many free as well as paid tools which provide these data. Google Analytics, Stat Counter, Get Clicky etc. are some of the popular tools and provide sufficient data for a blogger to gain such insights. These analytics software require a small software code to be inserted into the blogs’ page and that’s all, you start getting the data.
7 Important Analytics Metrics:
Though there is no limitations on the depth and understanding of the data provided by analytics software but keeping in mind the time available with the blogger these 7 blog analytics metrics should be looked upon on a regular basis and analyzed and used to direct the blogging efforts towards its desired goals.
1. Traffic and Page views: The first thing to see is whether the analytics program is showing any traffic/ pageviews at all or not? If this is the case check whether the tracking code is installed properly or not and if the blog is up? If the tracking code is installed properly, the blog is up and running but the analytics program is still not showing any visitor traffic / pageviews. It’s time to ramp up your blogging efforts and create more unique and well researched keyword rich content so that it makes great fodder for the search engines and ranks high enough to attract traffic
2. Traffic Sources:If the blog is receiving traffic the analytics program will show whether the traffic is coming with from the search engines, referring websites, direct or other campaigns (newsletter, paid etc.). Depending on the sources the blogger has targeted for his blog. This data can provide valuable insight whether the desired channel is working as expected or not. The referral traffic tells what other blogs/websites are sending traffic to his/her blog and accordingly such sources can be given preferable treatment.
3. Keywords: Keyword analysis is one of the first step towards creating content and promoting it on search engines. The analytics data on keywords gives ample information on whether the traffic coming to the blog is coming from the right keywords and their derivatives or not? If the keywords you’ve written content for and the keywords in analytics reports resemble, there is a reason to rejoice as the efforts are going in the right direction else there is a warning sign that there is a mismatch and more work is needed on the front.
4. Time Spent on Page:Okay the visitors have found the blog through search queries, landed on a page and now what? Do they spend some time there to read all the good things you’ve written on that topic or simply fly away? The analytics shows this data and it helps you to introspect whether the content is enticing enough to keep visitor glued to your blog or provides a satisfactory solution to the query. It can also point towards other problematic issues with your blog like blog page load time, usability on the blog, excessive advertisements, faulty navigation etc. If the time spent on a blog page is very low or closing to zero its time to seriously look into the matter, weed out the distractions and correct things so that people stay.
5. Popular and Non Popular pages:The pages which bring most traffic to your blog are pages vital to existence of your blog. What about the other pages that do not attract traffic or people just exit from there. Every blogger needs to list such pages and do a SWOT analysis on such pages. Changes to navigation can be done so that the traffic stream is diverted in such a manner that it visits the most popular pages on the blog. Pages which are not performing should be analyzed on various ROI metrics and improvements must be incorporated via other methods such as A/B and multivariate testing.
6. Conversion Data:Every link clicked, every sale made, every affiliate referred to and every desired action taken is a goal and every blogger dreams of maximum conversions. Such conversions can be tracked via analytics programs and goals and funnels can be set. Every goal / funnel analysis leading to conversion can show where the users are dropping off and which links, call to actions are giving maximum conversions. Again A/B and multivariate testing on various such page elements can used to improve conversions and hence increase the profitability of the blogger.
7. Geographical Analysis: Analytics report tells the geographical source of a visitor. This data is very valuable in case a blogger wants to provide behavioral targeting to its audience. Relevant content, targeted ads, improved revenue streams all can be implemented on the blog if the blogger is able to comprehend and use the visitor’s geographical data to his/her advantage.
The amount of insights an analytics program can provide depends on what the blogger wants to extract from it. However these basic metrics should be analyzed by every blogger on a regular basis and more importantly a dashboard should be created so that it is accessible in a very user friendly and intelligible way. This marketing intelligence when evaluated regularly along with other blogging initiatives can lead to great success.