Many bloggers are missing out on the power of Google Analytics. Whatever CMS you are using, you can integrate Google Analytics with it, provided that you have access to the HTML code of your website.
Today, I will show you the steps to use Google Analytics to track your website’s performance. On top of this, I will also discuss the key metrics, what they mean, and how you can use them to set your priorities straight as far as website performance is concerned.
Integrate Google Analytics with Your Website
The first thing to do is to sign up with Google Analytics. Once complete, you have to go to the bottom left side of your control panel, then click ADMIN, as shown below.
The next step is to click on CREATE PROPERTY.
Next, fill out the information required, choose from the tick boxes, click on the blue buttons that say “CONTINUE” until you come to this page. Then, select WEB.
The next step is to enter your URL. From here, Google will give you instructions on how to continue with the process. Essentially, Google will give you a code that you have to paste in your website’s HTML <HEAD>.
There is one alternative to this for WordPress. You can install the Google Analytics Plugin, and the system will do the integration for you. After that, you can check if it is properly installed. However, you must ensure that you have a Google Analytics account before you do it.
What Metrics Can I Track with Google Analytics?
You will see several metrics in your Google Analytics dashboard, which I will explain one by one below. I will also explain what kind of analysis you can get from them.
This metric refers to two things: new users and old ones. The number of users indicates the number of IPs or devices that visited your site. It can also be based on the ID feature of Google. Each user has a unique identifier, and Google can track that.
Your goal is to have as many users as you could. A high user count is an indication that your blog has more exposure. You also want to have a balance between returning and new users. Returning users is an indication that you have a loyal following.
A session refers to the period that a certain user spent on your website. A user is counted as having one session within 30 minutes of inactivity.
For example, John may have stayed on your site for 10 minutes. After 40 minutes, he came back. Those two instances are counted as two sessions because there is an interval of more than 30 minutes.
How does this help? The more sessions you have, the better it is. Sessions are indicative of how long people stay on your site. It also tells you if people are returning to it. If you have a low session count, people are not coming back, and there is something wrong with our site or content.
Number of Sessions Per User
This metric is a number that is expressed in decimal. What you want is a high number of sessions. The metric is indicative of how many times people came back to your website.
Based on some studies, anything higher than 1.6 puts you at the best 20% of websites out there. Anything less than 1.2 puts you at the bottom 10% of websites.
If several of your blog posts are getting to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), the same person will likely come back to your site without even realizing it. Or, it means that they are coming back to your site because they trust you.
This metric refers to the number of pages that people viewed. It is a measurement of the number of pages that people loaded in their browsers. The more page views you have, the more traffic you get.
With page views, you can check which of your pages are getting the most views. As such, you can analyze what makes that page so unique and replicate it. The same person can view your page twice, so you have to make sure that you are also checking unique page views.
Pages Per Session
This metric is the number of pages a user views in one session. It is an average, and what you want is a high number.
If a person visited several of your pages in one session, it could only mean one thing. It means that he likes your content.
It is an indication of your content quality. The more pages people read, the longer they stay on your website. It sends a signal to Google that your content is valuable. If you earn money via ads, you will earn more if you perform well on this metric.
Average Session Duration
This metric is a measurement of time. It is the average amount of time each person spent on your website. The longer it is, the better, especially for blogs.
You want people to read your entire blog. If they do, Google will think that you are providing valuable content, and then the algorithm may bump up your other content to the top of SERPs.
What you want is a low bounce rate. A bounce happens if the user exits on the same page he landed on. A high bounce rate can mean that your content is not good enough or your page load speed is slow.
If your bounce rate is high, it may affect how Google sees your website and rank down your pages in the SERPs. Aim for a high bounce rate.
These metrics pretty much tell you how your website is performing. Of course, they are equally important, but pageview is what you should be gunning for. The pageview is indicative of the traffic you get. As you know, traffic is where your revenue comes from.
What are the benefits of using Google Analytics?
So, why even bother? Why use Google Analytics on your website?
Here is a list of some benefits:
- Performance awareness – if you know how your website is performing, you can take appropriate action. If you see that there is a drop in your traffic, you can trace the cause and do something about it.
- Free to use – Google Analytics is completely free; there is no fee or membership of any kind.
- Traffic sources – Google Analytics shows you where your traffic is coming from. With this information, you can take action as to whether or not you should advertise in your target countries or not.
If you ask me, I can say without a doubt that Google should be a blogger’s best friend. All the things you need to gather data and see your site’s performance is in this tool. Best of all—it is free!
Summary: How to Use Google Analytics to Track Your Website’s Performance
Google Analytics is a powerful platform. If anything, you may not really need any other tool anymore if you just want to analyze your website’s performance.
What I like about Google Analytics is that you see data from Google itself. This means that the information you get is accurate, as far as the Google universe is concerned.
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