Google analytics offers bloggers a real insight into who’s visiting their site and what they are doing. There’s a wealth of information available, but you can find yourself getting lost in the reports if you aren’t careful. Here’s five top tips from lifestyle blogger, Sally at Life Loving for what to look for when you are browsing through your Google Analytics data.

What posts are driving traffic?

Hidden under the behaviour drop down is a series of options for looking at your content. If you are looking at which posts are driving visitors to your site, take a look at the Landing Pages report.

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This will list the number of visits (sessions) to your site, broken down by each page. The page that is listed, is the first page that person visited. From here you can see how many other pages that visitor went on to look at during their visit. Interesting stuff.

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Who are your readers?

This useful set of reports lives under the Audience drop down.

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There are a number of fascinating insights here, but the one I use most enables me to look at the age and gender of my visitors. That way you can see who is visiting your site and make sure your posts are tailored for that audience.

Just remember this data is only as good as what Google knows about people. Google can’t identify the age or gender of all visitors, so it will only be a representation of who it does know.

How to set up goal pages

Goals can be useful if you want your blog visitors to do a particular action. For example, if you want to find out how many people sign up to your newsletter, you can set a goal up to see the volume of completions. If you want to see how many people play a video on a specific page, you can set this up too.

Goals are set up from the Admin screen. There are a number of pre-defined goals you can set up, but these are predominantly for ecommerce-based businesses. I find the custom goals much more useful.

It’s as simple as adding the criteria of what you want your visit to do and then Google Analytics will overlay any completed goals within the standard conversion reporting in most other Google Analytics reports.

Are your readers loyal?

This is one of easiest metrics to look at in Google Analytics. On the overview screen in the Audience section there is a wonderful pie chart which shows you the proportion of returning visitors vs new visitors.

You can adjust the date from the options on the top right and look at your visitor loyalty over time. You can even compare periods by using the date options here.

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What’s your most popular social media channel?

This is one of my most favourite reports in Google Analytics. You can easily see which social media network is driving visitors to your website. It will allow you to easily identify what social media is working for you and also which ones might have more potential within them.

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You access this report from the Audience drop down and it’s called ‘Network Referrals’.

I hope this overview was useful to helping you understand Google Analytics a bit better. I’d love to hear what reports you find most useful. Alternatievly, if you need any help with finding your way around, you can tweet me @lifelovingblog

This post was guest authored by Sally at Life Loving. Life Loving encourages readers to live by the motto ‘ketchup tomorrow, relish today’. It’s a positive lifestyle blog, specialising in travel and food.

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