So, if you happened to land on this blog post, you may be scratching your head just a tad.
For the month of February, I’ve dedicated a theme for my blog posts. It’s all about courting and loving your blog, as well as loving your tribe and, in turn, building a healthy relationship with Google. After all, we want to establish a long-term relationship with Google so it can trust our websites and send us traffic.
On today’s love, marriage and baby carriage, we need to address the not-so-fun part about dating: The in-law’s! Dum. Dum. Duummmm.
Maybe you’re lucky and you’re BFFs with your mother-in-law and haven’t had issues with your in-laws, but sometimes the in-laws can be nosy, drama-causing people that drive us crazy. It’s probably safe to say that at some point, all family can drive us berserk.
In this blog series, we’re talking about the dating stages of courting,flirting love, and ultimately falling in love.
Do you recall the first time you had to meet the parents of the person you were dating? …All those nerve-wracking feelings that made you anxious, wondering if they would like you? Will they think you’re good enough? Maybe you even thought about faking being sick just to postpone that dreaded meet-and-greet where you would be under the magnifying glass of scrutiny… No? Maybe it’s just me.
The relationship between our blogs, Google, and data analytics is similar to dating. A lot of bloggers avoid the relationship with Google and that awful, confusing term — analytics. But why is that? Fear… worry… feeling dumb. We are creatives! We don’t do numbers, graphs, and data. But let me tell you, if you want blogging success, you need to court your blog like you would your significant other. That means you have to learn how to have a relationship with the in-laws (Google Analytics ), even if they annoy you. If you want to have him put a ring on it, you have to suck it up, put up with mother- and father-in-law (analytics) and learn how to get along and play well with each other.
After all, in-laws, just like analytics, can give us insights into what our marriage is going to be like, what types of shenanigans our kids will pull, and they guide us on how we can change directions and break patterns that we don’t like that we see in our family members’ lives or our own. Let’s chat Google Analytics and what you need to know in order to know your blog reader’s profile, so you can blog for them better and make sure they love your content.
Google Analytics is not a scary place… I promise. It’s an important tool for you to visit and to get familiar with. Google Analytics gives you the scoop about your visitor’s experience on your website, as well as insights about who they are and where they came to you from. So, the first thing you need is to sign up to Google Analytics (GA). Visit here and sign up using your Gmail. Then you will need to connect your blog to GA in order for GA to start collecting your user data.
There are ways for you to add your UA code or meta tag to your blog/website in order to connect to Google Analytics, so check on your blog platform to discover the best way to do so. For WordPress, I prefer to use the Google Analytics dashboard WP plugin. Once you install the plugin, then you activate it… and last but not least, click on Settings, which will guide you to connect via an access code that you copy over and save the changes.
Your next step is to understand some vocabulary, and I’ve got you covered. Check out the Google Analytics basics blog post \and/or grab the vocab cheat sheet below.
What will matter most for many bloggers is how many users per month, how long folks are staying on the blog or website, and how high the bounce rate is. For other bloggers who want brand sponsorships, the amount of page views will be important because this shows advertisers how many times their ad can show up to a blog reader. So, if I visit your blog for the first time, I am 1 user, and if I visit 2 posts and a page, then that is 3 page views. Make sure you grab the freebie checklist so you can understand how to read your Google Analytics.
How to create your blog reader profile.
I remember doing a free SEO audit on Periscope for a men’s fashion blogger, and I was surprised he actually revealed that even though his blog was about men’s fashion, his readers were actually women: the wives, girlfriends, fiancés that were shopping for their men or helping them shop. He would not have discovered this if it wasn’t for his Google Analytics. If you’re new to blogging, GA could also help you start creating an ideal client avatar. So, you will want to find out the following info:
- Average age of your readers
- Top cities/countries your readers come from
- % of mobile/tablet users
- Top posts your ideal reader likes
- What sites they are mostly coming from
- Some general interests
Go to Audience > Overview. Here you will see some basic data. I clicked on Country, and that shows me that 62.57% of my visitors are from the US, 7.68% are from UK, 3.07% are from Canada, and so forth.
I then click on City to see my top cities. Next, back on dashboard on the left side, I click on Demographics > Overview. This will show me the average age and also the percentage of female vs. male visitors.
About 43% of my readers fall in the 25-34 age group, and the second-biggest age group is 35-44. On the pie chart, I see that over 82% of my readers are female. I can also see this info under Age and Gender tabs in the Demographics section. You can add more information in the segment, like mobile/tablet usage. To add, click on Add Segment, then choose what other information you want to see. For mine, I added Mobile and Tablet Traffic. Then I hit Apply.
To see which of my posts are top posts, I go to Behavior > Overview. Here I see, after my main domain URL, the top blog posts that people visit. For you it may be a mix of pages and blog posts, just pages if you don’t blog, or just posts if you don’t have that many pages.
Last, I can check where my audience is coming from. Visit Acquisition > Overview.
Social stands for social media. If I click on it, I will see what the top social media platforms sending me traffic are. This is super helpful if you’re feeling overwhelmed with so many social media choices. Focus on your top 2-3 referring platforms and don’t think you need to be everywhere.
Organic Search. This is the percentage of people coming from Google and other search engine results. Google Analytics tends to hide keywords here, but if it shows you top posts, you can get a feel for your main keywords by seeing which posts are more popular.
Direct traffic. This represents readers who already have your URL and type it directly into search to visit your blog, so basically these are your loyal readers or someone who has heard of you and typed the URL in completely.
Referral. This is where you can discover if anyone has linked to you or featured you somewhere. I have been surprised to find some links in here of folks who had featured me, and I did not even know about it. So I then click on Name, and then click on Link, and I can go leave a comment and thank them. I also usually will share the post on social media, too. You may see some spam here, which you don’t need to be too worried about unless there’s a high amount of it, and then you can filter it out.
Audience Interests. Under Audience go to Interests and check out the categories for Affinity, In Market segments or other Categories. If you don’t see data there, you will need to enable these reports.
As per Google “Adding audiences allows you to reach people based on their specific interests as they browse pages, apps, channels, videos, and content across YouTube and the Google Display Network as well as on YouTube search results.” It is the same data Google Adwords use to categorize your audience as they try to reach them.
As per Cubeyou, ” Content marketers can also use these insights to determine the interests of audiences coming to their website, instead of relying solely on individual post popularity data”
Here is what I see for my audience.
This is very neat because it can help me also create Pinterest boards of interests my audience loves. Win Win.
So, now I know that my ideal reader is from the US and has an average age range of 25-34. I see more East Coast cities and see that almost half of them are on phone/mobile. My ideal reader is a woman who likes photography, home decor, shopping, technology, moves and social media. I see the type of blog content she prefers includes: Instagram tips, Social Media tips, Facebook groups for photographers, and how to find keywords.
This information will help me create future blog posts for them. If you are a service provider and it’s mostly client work showing up as top posts, then check out how you can feature that style, those colors, or even the wedding venue if you make wedding-related posts again on your blog.
Tip: If you do link back to that other blog post. So now your turn, create your own blog reader profile and make sure you download the Google Analytics cheat sheet and check list back on top.
It took such a long time for Google Analytics to grow on me. It was as if I was in a room of numbers, pictures and stats I could not understand. Almost like the upside-down world in Stranger Things: it’s dark, cold, the same but ugly and different, and you feel stuck. It used to make me feel dumb and oh-so techy, but I realized there was much more to gain once you face the year like Will’s mom & Elle facing the monsters in order to help Will. Okay, enough Stranger Things. Overall, it is important to know who your blog is serving and how to write for them because if your audience loves your blog, so will Google. And pleasing the in-layws will give you brownie points with Mr. Google.
Did you miss Lesson #1 and #2? Click on numbers and follow the blogging tips for creatives series.