Please take the time today to see the great amount of resources that Frances offers at her website. You might also want to check out her amazing eCourse she is gettingh ready to start. She personally shared here that she is dropping the costs of this eCourse for Black Friday. You can follow "The Blog Launch" at: the Blog Launch / Twitter .
So today, I would love to walk you through the steps that I take to get to the data that truly makes a difference when it comes down to planning and more
importantly tweaking the key messages that I end up blogging about.
Not only will I uncover how I use Google Analytics but also how I integrate the use of Google Webmaster Tools and the Google Adwords Keyword Tool into my 15 minute weekly blogging analytics ritual.
The tools required to follow this analytics ritual are a Google Account, Google Analytics & Google Webmaster Tools installed on your blog, and access to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. And don't worry, if you already have Google Analytics installed on your blog it's easy to activate Google Webmaster tools.
Are you ready? Great, let's do this...
Step 1: Review Your Basic Blog Dashboard
Download this handy, free Basic Blog Dashboard and install it onto your blogs profile in Google Analytics. Simply click the link and voila! Check out the amazing data that this customized dashboard gives you. Thank Justin Cutroni for this one!
Now, you will consistently be able to view the key data that bloggers seek each time you log into your Google Analytics to view your blogs activity. Smart, right?
Capturing all the key elements like visits, visitors, and % of new visits. Non branded keywords that drive traffic to your blog from Google (Organic baby!). Most popular pages - telling you the title of the posts that received the highest number of views for that period. Landing pages telling you which posts people are landing on most often when viewing your site. Audience location telling you where your readers are located. RSS subscription rate telling you how many people are subscribing to your RSS feed. Time on site conversion which drills down and tells you the average percentage of goal conversions compared with your total site visitors. Social source and action telling you where your posts are being shared and how many times. And finally socially shared content telling you which posts were shared and how many times.
Step 2: Review Your Google Analytics Goals
Are your goals being completed? If not, why not? If so, how many times?
Setting goals in your Analytics account is imperative. It helps you as a blogger to determine what you want people to do on your blog. And it provides you with the data you need to figure out if people are indeed following through and taking the actions that you envision.
Measuring the success rate of your goals and tracking the data to make the necessary changes, and tweaks is key.
Google provides a great step by step on how to set up goals.
Step 3: Measure Trends Month over Month To Determine If There Is An Increase or
Decrease In Unique Visitors
A steady flow of new traffic coming to your blog on a regular basis would be great to see. Even greater would be if that new traffic keeps increasing month over month. It's difficult to benchmark your success on just one viral blog post.
Drill down and find out how those unique visitors are finding your content. Where are they coming from. Is there one main referral source that is working really well? Are you able to really take charge and work this source even further? Perhaps there is one keyword in particular that is outperforming all the others by miles? Would you be able to create some really killer content focused on that word? A tutorial, screencast or ebook perhaps?
Step 4: Know Your Subscriber Numbers
Keep track of how many newsletter subscribers you are acquiring each month. If you are using an email marketing service such as Mailchimp, log into your account and take a look at your numbers. Open rates, click-through rates, new subscribers, un-subscribers, social shares, forwards to friends. Is there a particular day that out performed others? What message went out on that day? Perhaps your numbers are not increasing? Maybe you could do a poll to find out the key content that your readers really want
to see from you?
If you use an RSS feed optimizer like Feedburner, be sure to check your feed statistics as well. How many subscribers, new subscribers, subscribers by email and subscribers via RSS. Don't like the numbers you see? Try posting a quick article about how to use RSS to read blogs, perhaps your
audience just doesn't fully understand the point of it?
Step 5: Track The Conversations On Your Blog
Navigate to the comments section in your blog's dashboard. Go through the activity. Is there a specific topic that really grabbed a lot of attention? What did the readers have to say about it in the comments? Maybe a reader posted a great question asking for even more information about that subject? Wouldn't it be great if you could create a whole new post on the matter in an effort to create more buzz?
What if your comments are looking pretty lean? Now what should you do? Ignore it, and hope they will come after you post the next article? You know the old saying don't you? If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got...
Take action this time. Figure out what other bloggers are doing to combat the no comment battle.
Step 6: Backlinks
Figure out how many people are talking about your posts.
If you use WordPress you can do this easily by navigating back over to the comment section in your dashboard. Trackbacks are one way in which WordPress will notify you if someone else links to your post on their blog. It will be waiting for moderation in the comment queue just like any other comment. Once approved it will show up as a comment on that particular post. Smart way to build community.
Another great way to check your backlinks is through the data inside your Google Webmaster Tools account.
Simply navigate to Traffic, then click on Links To Your Site. This is a little golden nugget of nested data for you to analyze. Telling you who links most often, how your data is being linked to, and what your most linked content is.
Step 7: Social Media Mentions
How many people mentioned your blog throughout social media? It's an important figure to track and Google Analytics does this as well.
Click on the tab called traffic sources, and then click on social. Notice the options this leaves you with? You will be able to analyze which social networks are providing the most amount of engagement, goal conversions, as well as look at the traffic patterns on your blog associated with those social
Learn more about how to set up tracking of your Google +1's and Facebook Likes/Shares by using social plugin analytics.
Step 8: Keyword Analyzation
In order to determine the key message that will likely generate the most organic search traffic (new visitors) to your blog you can use a combination of data from both Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and then benchmark these search terms by typing them into the Google Adwords Keyword research tool.
Whew! Sounds a bit overwhelming perhaps but really, it's not. You must remember to write content about what people are already searching in relation to your blog's key messages. Would you rather write a post and hope someone searches for it or write a post that you know millions of people are already searching
Once in Webmaster tools, navigate to traffic sources, search queries. Here you will find another golden nugget waiting for you. Toggle the filter on the Impressions dimension. You want to sort the impressions to view the highest number first. Take note of the queries with the highest number of impressions. These are your "long tail keywords" that are getting found most often in the search results. Take note of the most popular, I'd say 10 queries is a good starting point. You can copy and past them in a spreadsheet in Google Docs. Or, you can even download the data and tell it to go right into Google Docs.
What is your most burning blog analytics question? I would love to discuss it with you in the comments below!