How to Measure Your Blog’s Statistics Using Google Analytics

How to Measure Your Blog’s Statistics Using Google Analytics

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Accurate site statistics is one of the essential features to track the growth of any startup website. Knowing your site’s traffic stats is the best way to learn about your audience. Thankfully, this is exactly what Google Analytics provides us, and for FREE! In this article, we shall see why it is important to have Google Analytics, and how you can easily set it up on your WordPress blog.

Note: This feature is only supported on Self-Hosted blogs using WordPress.org. Free sites hosted on WordPress.com are not allowed to make use of Google Analytics as such.

Why is Google Analytics a must-have for Bloggers?

As most of you would have probably guessed by now, what Google Analytics does most of the time is Tracking. It is known to track the following measures:

Who just came in?

This section speaks most needed info about your audience. For example, it answers questions like,

  • Which geographical region are your readers located in?
  • Which all browsers are used to view your site?
  • What Operating System are they using?
  • Screen Resolution, Flash and JavaScript support

 This data can be extremely useful while implementing design upgrades and such to your site. It helps your design decisions by ensuring compatibility with most of your users. For instance, you would think twice about implementing a Flash element to your website, if you came to know that most of your users don’t have Adobe Flash. Also, screen resolution too plays a vital part in how viewers will be able to enjoy your site in the best possible way.

How they spend time on your site?

Won’t it be great if you could track your visitors to see what they are doing on your site? In this section, you can find out answers to the questions like:

  • How long do they stay on your website?
  • What all pages do they like most?
  • What percent of users exit on their first visit?

 Knowing these things, one can try and reduce the bounce-rates by enhancing readability and better structured posts. Increasing the stay times essentially involves better user engagement with the site contents.

When do they like to check your website?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could track the hottest hours of the day for your site? This gives you the edge to pick the best time to publish your new posts. Even if that time zone doesn’t make you happy, you can always schedule you posts to the exact hour.

How on earth did they find your site?

From a Webmaster’s point of view, this is the most important metric, to analyze the source/s of your blog’s traffic. This could be anything like: Search Engines, Links from external sites, Social Networks, etc. You can see the fraction of users coming from each of these sources, as Google Analytics breaks down these results into respective categories to give you the clearer picture.

Even within the Search Engines category, you can see for which all keywords got you the most traffic and those which were used by most of your visitors. This allows you to improve upon those keywords for better positions in the search results.

In-depth analysis of sites linking to you (referral sites) and social networks show you where you need to work more. Most of all, here you can see the results of all your backlink-building efforts.

How well they interact with your site?

This section deals with the metrics about how well your site content was able to interact with your readers. Now, interactions essentially mean clicks. Why on earth would we track that?

This gives a whole new insight into how internal as well as external links in your website are performing. It lets you see what fraction of users followed which link, and which are the ones getting ignored. You can work your way to boost your content by better placement of links and tweaks in the design.

Now that we have seen all the WHY’s, we can get on with the HOW.

#1 Signup for Google Analytics

Like any other web service, Google Analytics requires that you signup and create an account. Just visit Google Analytics homepage for the same.

Note: You can use your favorite Gmail or Google account for signing in or if you don’t have one, you will have to create one for yourself. Just as the page says – It’s easy and free!!

When you sign-in using your Gmail Account, you will be asked to signup for Google Analytics. Click Sign Up. The next page would require you to enter different information about your site like Website URL, Admin Name, Time Zone, etc.

You would be also asked for some contact information like Name and Country of residence for some personalization. Agree to their terms and click to finish.

Here comes an important part of the signup process, you will now receive a code segment which needs to be copy-pasted into your site. Save this code in a text file and keep it safe as we would need this soon.

#2 Installing Analytics in WordPress

There are atleast 3 different ways to install Analytics tracking to your WordPress blog, each having its own good or bad. Anyways, we shall discuss all three of them and let you decide which one’s the best for you:

Direct Method

Locate your theme’s footer.php and open it for editing. Now copy that tracking code you have saved previously and paste it inside your footer.php, just above the </body> tag. That’s all!

Functions Method

You can embed your tracking code inside your theme’s functions.php file. For this, just add the following code segment to your functions.php.

[code]
<?php
add_action(‘wp_footer’, ‘add_googleanalytics’);
function add_googleanalytics() { ?>
// Paste your Google Analytics code from Step 6 here
<?php } ?>
[/code]

 

Note: Don’t forget to replace with your tracking code here. It’s silly actually, but people tend to forget this. Sigh!

Plugin Method

There are innumerable amount of WordPress plugins which can get Analytics running on your site. But we recommend its best to use this simple plugin: Insert Header and Footer

Once you have the plugin installed, just paste your Google Analytics code there in the plugin settings page. We are done!

There you have it! Now that you have completed setting up Google Analytics on your site, there is nothing better than firing it up and checking your site’s analytics rightaway!

 As you can see, your site status is currently denoted by an exclamation sign. This means that Google hasn’t started getting analytics data from your website, or in other words, it hasn’t yet realized that you have added the code. It could take anywhere between 12-18 hours before it can provide you with the statistics you would love to check. So in the end, we were able to find the answers to all those pesky questions related to the statistics of our site using Google Analytics.

Now its time to put those answers to action, by focusing on improving those strategies that do great for your site and eliminating  or reworking those strategies that failed. To all those people who are stuck on WordPress.com blogs with no Analytics to help them, maybe it’s the perfect time to move your blog from WordPress.com to Self-Hosted WordPress. Have a look at our affordable WordPress Blog Setup program.

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