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google analytics Four Incredibly Useful Metrics For Small Business Blogging : Blog Promotion

Congratulations for reading this post.

Most folks run in terror when they see the word “metrics”.  Ironically, metrics are critical for your blog’s success.  Getting comfortable with your blog’s “numbers” helps you diagnose problems and improve your performance.

As a business owner you should expect your blog to “pay its own way”.  Knowing your numbers will help you focus your efforts and achieve your objectives.

 

I wrote this post keeping two assumptions in mind:

1) You have little time to fiddle with your blog
2) You aren’t a statistical wunderkind that loves finding patterns in numbers

Every moment you spend on your blog is time taken from something else.  I get it.  That means my advice for you today is going to be straightforward, simple, and effective.

Pay Attention to These Four Numbers

Unique Visits:

How many people visit your blog every day? You want to see this number move up every month.  This number reflects on the performance of your blog promotion efforts.  If this number is flat or declining then you are not promoting your posts.

Takeaway:  Hope and faith are poor blog promotion strategies.  You almost always have to leave the cozy comforts of your blog to find new readers.  Many strategies can work, guest blogging, article writing, forum coaching, interviews,  and guerilla promotion to name a few.  Remember 99.99% of the world doesn’t know your blog exists – you have to bring your magic to the people.

Pages Per Visit:

This number shows how your blog’s stickiness.  The goal is to get readers to visit multiple posts.  While most visitors will read one post and leave, the ones that stick around are more likely to sign-up for email, contact you, comment, or purchase something.  High page per visits means that your content is relevant and on-target.

Takeaway: This number is hard to move for blogs.  You will need to brainstorm ways to get people to stick with your blog past the initial post.  Using “Related Posts” widgets will prompt visitors to check out other posts.  Interlinking, providing links to other blog content within your current post, is also an effective way to increase pages per visit.

% New Visitors:

How many brand new visitors come to your blog every day?  You want this number to hover around 60-70%.  The other 30% are your locals that are coming back to your blog because they love your content.  While the percentages can be argued, the point is to keep a steady flow of new readers arriving at your blog.

Your repeat visitors are valuable but a blog without a healthy number of new visitors will stagnate.  The comments section will be filled with the same voices and you’ll have fewer opportunities to share your content with a wider audience.

Takeaway: As your blog grows, your new visitors will offer fresh perspectives, feedback and word-of-mouth growth.  On the flip side 90% new visitors is a sign that you need to do more to attract readers back to your blog.  This is a balancing act that you’ll need to monitor as your blog grows.

Goal Completions:

This number is specific to Google Analytics.  In GA, Goal completions tracks how many people took an action identified as a goal.

In other words, how many of your readers took action.  This number shows if your investment in your blog is delivering results. Your goals can be email list sign-ups, content downloads, lead generation, or direct sales.

I suggest setting up a goal for your blog immediately.  Focusing on this number from the beginning will prevent you from relying on abstract goals like “increase engagement.” which sounds good but has zero practical value.

Takeaways: I believe that your blog needs to earn its place in your marketing plan.  Paying attention to your goal completions is the best way to turn your blog into a profit maker rather than a time stealer.  If you don’t want to hold your blog accountable then agree that your blog is a hobby and not a content marketing tool.

How to Find these Numbers

Sign up for Google Analytics and use the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin to install the right code in the right places.  This should take you all of 15 minutes.

Once installed, you will need to configure your goals.  This is much easier than you may think.  Google includes visual tutorials to walk you through the process.  The process is designed for “non-geeks” so you shouldn’t have any problems.

Note: If you are installing Google Analytics for the first time, you will need to wait for 24 hours to start getting information.

The rest of the numbers we discussed are available on the Visitor Overview screen.  You can slice and dice these numbers for additional insights when you get more comfortable with Google Analytics.

Here are a few sites that will turn you into an analytics ninja:

Occam’s Razor: Entertaining and incredibly useful articles that covers web analytics and social media measurement. I read this blog religiously.

Kissmetrics Marketing Blog:  Kissmetrics blog focuses on a variety of online marketing topics with a focus on measurement.

Google Analytics Blog:  Google’s blog is incredibly helpful and is a great jumping off point to more advanced information.

{Part of the Blogging for Business Series}

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  • http://www.blogaid.net MaAnna

    Nice post for folks getting started. I suggest a different plugin for my new site owner clients, which is Google Analyticator because it puts a module on their admin Dashboard where they can see most all of the metrics you mentioned. The numbers are 24 hours behind the real-time data, but it is a great way to keep metrics on their minds as they grow their site.

  • http://b2bdigital.net/ Eric Wittlake

    Good pointers. One more goal you may want to setup, that will make pages per visit easier to understand: page depth. You can set a goal based on a number of pages per visit.

    I have found this to be far more useful than average pages per visit, which on a blog is often a blend of a lot of one-page visits and a few that may go to 8, 10 or 20 pages. Also, when it is set as a goal, it can be included in more report views.

    By looking at the % of visits that see 2 pages or 3 pages, you get a better view of the sources that consistently deliver more engaged (multiple page view) traffic versus numbers that are so easily skewed by a couple individual visits.

  • http://www.vacuumspot.com.au Alec Nelson

    Hi Stanford, I actually have analytics running for my e-commerce site but have never actually considered running for my blog. I always double peoples stated setup time but even so half an hour for useful stats is worth it.

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  • http://[email protected] Sonia

    I really enjoyed these four business blogging matrix. I will definitley keep track
    of my blog matrix by down loading the Google Analytic plugin. Thank you!

  • http://www.warrenvilleparks.org Karey

    Thank you! Finally a no-nonsense, easy to understand article about metrics!

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