If you are reading this, most probably, you are already acquainted with all the challenges bloggers face, the most frequent one being keeping the spark of motivation burning.
The problem with motivation when it comes to blogging is that it is susceptible to external influence. So, if you don’t know how to measure your success, it is likely that all those people saying that “the blogosphere is too crowded,” or that “there’s nothing interesting and a new one can give to the audience” will get to you.
Usually, people put an equation sign between traffic and success. That’s why you can see so many bloggers are obsessing over their numbers as soon as they open their eyes in the morning. But what happens when a blog post does not reach your target audience, for some reason you are not aware of? Does that mean that no one cares about what you have to say anymore?
It doesn’t, but when you see those declining numbers, it’s easy to think that it’s the beginning of the end of your blogging career.
In fact, you’d be surprised to know how many bloggers give up way too early!
That’s why we decided to bust the myths that surround blogging and list the eight most important Google Analytics metrics you need to be aware of, in order to be able to make an informed conclusion about where you stand.
The first thing you need to look at is the overview report that shows your blog’s page views, the bounce rate, and sessions and their duration – all that presented in graphs, and for a certain time window. Note that this overview report shows the traffic to your site, and it only makes sense to consider it as significant, if you’ve already set up a powerful funnel that is able to convert those visitors into subscribers.
Incoming Traffic Sources
Check the traffic sources to find out where the traffic is coming from.
There are three primary types of traffic sources: direct visitors, who come to your page by directly inserting the URL into the browser, search visitors, who find your website when searching for particular info, and referral visitors who land on your page through a mention on another website.
Understanding the traffic sources is crucial, as it will give you an overview of whether the efforts and money you’re pouring into a particular source pay off, and if there’s a better channel to invest into.
Number of Returning and Unique Visitors
The number of returning visitors shows if your content resonates with your readers, while the number of unique visitors shows how effective your growth strategy is, and how many people that have never heard of your blog before, discover your content for the first time.
Site Content Popularity
Another thing you need to analyse is the popularity of your content. Which are the posts that have received the most views and engagement, and which are the ones that do not perform so well? Try to find a pattern, and use those insights to create content that resonates better with your audience in the future.
Interactions and Value per Visit
Not only do you need to know the number of visitors on your page, but you also need to monitor their behavior. What are their doing once they have landed on your site, how much time do they spend there, and how does their journey look like? Understanding the customer behavior will make it easier for you to map a way to capture leads, as you will know how the visitors travel through the pages on your site, and what kind of content will most likely yield positive results.
Closely linked to the interactions, is the value your visitors create per visit. Each visitor increases your traffic, may turn into a subscriber, leave a comment, share the content, or purchase your product. To calculate the value per visit, divide the total number of traffic with the created value.
You can have thousands of people visiting your blog every day, but if you don’t get them to subscribe, they’re not worth that much.
Getting people to subscribe allows you to turn one-time visitors into raving fans and gives you the opportunity to market your products and services without spending money on paid ads.
The best way to get more subscribers is to create a valuable lead magnet that your target audience will not be able to resist downloading.
Of course, we must note that getting subscribers is not worth much if you don’t manage to keep those subscribers aboard – so make sure that you always share valuable content that will keep people interested and wanting for more, instead of clicking the dreaded unsubscribe button.
Cost per Conversion
It’s safe to say that this metric is one of the most important metrics of all, as your revenues depend directly upon it. If your lead generation costs are high, you won’t notice any revenue or even be in the negative. So, when trying to monetize your blog, apart from trying to increase your conversions, you need to keep the conversion costs low.
Having a powerful email marketing strategy will surely result in consistent traffic and revenue growth.
That’s why it is important to measure how effective your current strategy is by checking your email list’s subscribers and unsubscribes, the open rates and the click-through rates. These Google Analytics metrics will show you if your audience feels as you provide them with enough value, how powerful your content is, and how effective your subject lines are.
After you have analysed the email stats, you’ll know which parts of your email strategy can use some improvement, and thus you’ll be able to create better offers, that’ll ultimately increase your audience’s satisfaction and of course, your revenues.
To measure success, you must first be able to define it.
Well, this is just a stab in the dark, but I’ll go ahead and suppose that since you read this far, you want to monetize your blog, and one day, maybe even become a full-time blogger.
Sure, you might have started it because you had a knack for writing and figured “why not,” but your blog is ultimately your business – and you should treat it as one. This means that instead of looking at vanity metrics, you need to care about metrics that lead to specific outcomes – conversions. A conversion can be anything you define it to be, whether it’s a first-time visitor turning subscriber, or getting someone to purchase your product.
So, to make sense of the numbers, first you need to define your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Where do you picture yourself to be in a year from now?
Only when you define what you’re striving to achieve, will you be able to give those Google Analytics metrics a real meaning, as the ultimate goal of measuring success is to give you an idea of the things you can improve.