How Google Analytics Can Dramatically Help Your Blogging

Filed as Features on March 19, 2011 11:00 pm

Bloggers are always looking for ways to improve their content, site or profile. Bloggers, who were previously ruled off as nothing more than a hobbyists are now make a massive impact on the world around us opening us . There are always ways to improve your content and the best way to do so is through Google Analytics.

If you run your own site and don’t know what Google Analytics is, you’re missing out on vital information. The wealth of data Google tracks when visitors come to your site gives you a very accurate profile of your target demographic and what they’re looking for. Here’s how you can supercharge your Blogging by using Google Analytics.

Are Visitors Really Reading Your Content?

As Bloggers we love it when readers not only share content but well, read it. I’m not talking about lightly skimming through the post and picking out the most important pieces of information but actually reading it. When you log in to Google Analytics and select the dashboard for your site, you’ll notice the Content Overview box in the lower right hand corner. The information in the section shows the top performing content on your site.

Clicking on the top links — which are hopefully Blog posts — shows how long a visitor had that page displayed. You’ll have to estimate how long it would take you to read your post at a normal rate and see if it matches the time reported by Google Analytics. If it’s close (everyone reads at different speeds) then you’ll have a better idea of how your readers are interacting with your content.

Social Media Campaigns

One of the coolest tricks I learned while using Google Analytics on a daily basis was creating custom tracking links that can be used with a Social Media ‘Marketing’ strategy. This is the same tracking link you would build for a traditional Google Adwords run but can be condensed using bit.ly or your favorite URL shortening service.

Building a Google Tracking URL is extremely simple and will give you a better understanding of which Blog posts are the most popular in the social sphere.

Here’s how I set up my tracking URLs

Campaign Source: Where is the content originating from? Hint: It’s most likely your Blog
Campaign Medium: Where are you sending the content? Twitter, Facebook or just a general Social Network submission?
Campaign Term: Always left blank
Campaign Content: Short name of the Blog post.
Campaign Name: What major category would it fall under? Is it part of your campaign on tracking tutorial posts or opinion pieces?

The results are available for each site under Traffic Sources > Campaigns.

Using these links when posting on Facebook, Twitter or any network will give you a more accurate reading of how the Social Sphere responds to your content. When working with clients and using Google’s tracking URLs, it showed me which post categories were popular and how I should improve on them. Just as important, Google Analytics also showed which posts failed to capture attention and frankly turned off followers.

Google Analytics packs a treasure trove information about your site. When used in creative ways, it can reveal much more about your site, your brand and how it’s being perceived online. Combining Google Analytics with your existing analytical tools can energize any social strategy.

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