How To Set Up Google Analytics On Your Site [The Proper Way]
You started a blog!
With a new blog, there are things to focus on. But, building your foundation for growing your blog should be your primary focus.
For many of us, that means knowing our:
- Blog traffic number
- Number of email subscribers
- Number of sales per day
Knowing your numbers is probably the most important thing to know about your blog. If you don’t know how much viewers you’re getting per month or where your traffic is coming from, it will be hard to build your list and grow your business.
Let’s look at the #1 tool you need to gauge how your blog and business is doing.
It’s a free blogging tool also! Score.
It’s Google Analytics.
What Is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics allows you to track your blog’s analytics like who’s visiting your site, where your traffic is coming from and much more.
This information can help you make important decisions that could end up allowing you to grow your side hustle and sell products and more.
For example, many bloggers that do traffic reports will take a screenshot of their pageviews. They are using Google Analtyics for this. It’s a tool every blogger should have and know how to use.
How to Set Up Google Analytics on Your WordPress Blog
You have to create a new “identity” for your blog. This is a personal preference of mine – creating a new “identity” for each of my blogs and treating it as its own entity.
This usually means a separate Gmail account, a separate Google Analytics account with ONLY the one blog in it, a separate email service provider (like ConvertKit) account, separate ad network accounts, etc.
You might be wondering why this is a good idea.
For me, I see doing this means you don’t cross contaminate your business with your personal things, and you don’t cross contaminate one business/blog with your other businesses/blogs. Since my business focuses on creating niche blog sites, you have to create your own blog brand.
Also, if you ever decide to sell your blog/s someday, it’s much, much easier if you have everything self-contained.
One more thing, the video also prompts you to use a WordPress plugin, but you don’t have to (it just makes things super easier). I usually just sign in to Google Analytics from my browser.
Important Google Analytics Metrics for Bloggers
I’ll be the first to say that I don’t use the full capability of Google Analytics – But, that doesn’t mean I can’t glean some helpful and useful information from the website data Google Analytics tracks for me.
Note: if you installed Google Analytics on your blog, it will take a month or so to understand your data. That’s why it’s important to set up website data the proper way.
Also note that while you can view your Google Analytics in your WordPress backend and as an app on your phone, the information I’ll be showing you is from the Google Analytics website.
1. Your Pageviews
If you go to Audience > Overview, you will see data about your visitors.
The default data is set to monthly, but you can set the time frame however you want to. I particularly look at two metrics from here: total pageviews and sessions.
Pageviews are the number of pages users visit on your site. The data also includes repeated visits too.
Sessions include periods of time a user is actively engaged on your blog. So clicking on your blog, scrolling on your blog, reading your posts, etc… It’s just a “visit” that can consist of multiple pageviews and each view isn’t counted individually its considered a “session.”
The number of sessions is important if you want to display ads on your blog. The bottom tiered entry is 25k sessions.
Some bloggers pay attention to the bounce rate. This indicates if people are engaged on your site. So, having a higher bounce rate means the users are coming to your site and leaving quickly.
If your bounce rate is low, that means the users are coming to your site and staying on your blog longer.
In the beginning, your bounce rate will be high just because you don’t have a lot of content on your blog! Also, if Pinterest is your main traffic driver, your bounce rate may be high as well.
Note: Google Analytics gives you a definition of each term on the page.
2. Source of Traffic
Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium to view where your traffic is coming from.
Google, or organic, traffic doesn’t come into play until about a year after you start blogging (for some skilled bloggers, it can be much sooner).
- Create consistent blog posts
- Pin consistently
- Optimize your headline for search traffic
3. Your Popular Posts
This metric is good to look at when you’ve been blogging for at least three months. During this time you will have written a few blog posts, promote it on social and start an audience.
Typically look at your top three high-traffic posts to see what my audience really enjoys and wants from your blog.
So, why do you need to know this information?
Well, if you know what your audience is reading, then you can create more content around those ideas.
This can also help you if you have a lifestyle type of blog niche or if you're looking for the right niche.
Take Advantage of Your Popular Posts
One thing that you need to do is to place affiliate links to the old posts that are popular (as they didn’t have any affiliate links before).
So once you know your popular posts:
- Generate more blog topics from that list
- Place affiliate links in those popular posts
- Create your own freebies to grow your email list
- Create course or eBook content around that list
4. Who Is Linking to You
One of the best metrics for SEO is how valuable your blog content really is. Is it so valuable that others are referencing your site and blog post?
Are others linking to you?
This is called a backlink and something that you need to know to connect and grow your list.
In Google Analytics go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals.
For this metric, you need to click on the other pages to see what blogs are linking to you. Your first page will mostly be social, and if you’re lucky, popular sites (or sites that primarily feature your blog’s link).
You have to place the front end of the URL in your browser and then copy and paste the rest.
5. Your Real-Time View
You can watch your analytics live. This way you can analyze who is coming to your blog right now!
Go to Real-Time > Overview
For example, it’s Wednesday at 11 am and here is my live view:
This can give you a snapshot of what’s popular for that time, which post is trending or getting a boost in traffic and it can also help you identify the best times for traffic on your blog.
Some might say that’s a little geeky and over the top, but remember, your business relies on building and growing niche blogs as well as growing my credibility in this blogging world!
How to Remove YOU from Tracking in GA
I don’t know about you, but I like visiting my blogs a lot!
But, there’s one thing that happens when you set up Google Analytics – it starts tracking whenever you visit your blog!
This can skew your traffic numbers, so you have to exclude you from the analytics.
You can do this easily with the WordPress plugin I used in the video tutorial.
Go to Tracking Code > Exclude Tracking.
From here click on administrator (this is especially useful if you have guest posters on your site., make sure to tick the other boxes too!).
If you’re brand new to blogging, setting up Google Analytics is your best friend. Trust me; it will help you understand what your audience wants from you.
This information can help you plan your entire blogging strategy too!
Let me know in the comments how you use Google Analytics for your blog!