I briefly wrote about using Google Analytics on Wednesday and today I am writing about one of the most powerful analytical tools GA has to offer; Visitors to your blog and what the numbers mean. I will use hypothetical numbers but you will get the picture.
The overview of the "Visitor" tab tells you the total number of visitors over a period of one month, however if you look closer there is so much more to see. Absolute Unique visitors are the total number of first time visits which are calculated as a percentage of the total. In the case of my hypothetical blog there are 733 visits (total) and 344 Unique; this equates to 41.4% new visits for the period. The visitor to this blog spent on average of 3.42 minutes on the site (reading) and 2.19 average page views. What this tells the Blogger is that their subject matter is interesting enough for the visitor to continue beyond the landing page. In this example there are 1608 total page views. The number that is the best indicator over time is the number of Unique Visitors because as that number increases (and bounce rate decreases) it tells the author that their blog is becoming increasingly more popular. If the average minutes on the site increases the bounce rate will decrease correspondingly.
Drilling down under the "Visitor" tab is a segment called "Page Views for All Visitors" and will show how many (both in real numbers and percentage of the total) what days were the most popular (GA will always be a complete day behind in the data provided). In my opinion these numbers give the blogger the best information as to which topic was the most successful and more importantly the ability to plan for future blog topics. As an example; if a blogger posts a treasury or a giveaway promotion and the "Page views for All Visitors" on that particular day is low, it tells the blogger that this may not be the most successful topic for their blog going forward. In my opinion this is the best number to use for planning future blog topics.
It is very important that the Blogger know what the GA numbers are telling them for future planning. To ignore "Page Views for all Visitors" is a common mistake and should not be taken lightly if a Blogger is in it for the long haul and potentially solicit sponsors for the blog. The Blog owner should control the content at all times especially when posting expert, interview or tutorial type posts. Not all content is commensurate with the goal of the Blog which is increased visits, visitor loyalty and low bounce rate. This is what is known as Future Value.
Many Bloggers profess not to look at Bounce Rate but in my opinion this is tantamount to ignoring a credit card balance. The Blogger wants to hold onto their visitors "especially" if they originated from a referring site versus organic visitors from search engines (while search engine visits are important, this is the number that will take the longest to obtain). Scrolling down on the GA opening dashboard will reveal the "Traffic Source Overview" and source of incoming Blog traffic.
To wrap up this tutorial, Google Analytics is a powerful tool that should be examined on a very regular basis, at the very least weekly. Plan for your Blog goals based on these numbers and your Blog will be very successful over the long haul and possibly generate income based on its popularity.
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