There are far too many business owners who overlook Google Analytics and are leaving an incredible wealth of information lying around on the table.  Millions of businesses use Analytics to track data but then don’t do anything with the data they have collected!  If you are not using Google Analytics, you are missing out on a gold mine of incredible opportunities to grow your business.  Hopefully, the following information will get you started and entice you to pay closer attention to Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Can Improve Your Blog:

It’s almost impossible to grow your blog if you haven’t a clue what’s being viewed and what is not.  If you want to increase your traffic, you must have a good understanding of your audience and what they do online.  You should use Google Analytics to gather much-needed information to learn more about your visitors.  If you are just starting out and do not understand anything about Google Analytics, you might think it’s intimidating but it’s really not.

For your blog, you will be using it as a general purpose program and all the other features will not have anything to do with you at this time.  Once you identify the metrics that will matter to you, things will seem so much clearer.

Google Analytics And Its Purpose:

First off, you need to know what kind of data Google Analytics accumulates.  On its basic level, the program collects data on the time of a visit, the pages viewed, and the time a visitor spends on your blog.  It will track details and provide information where the visitor came from such a Facebook or URL.

Google Analytics will also track the web browser they are using, their operating system, IP address, Flash version, Javascript support, and even the screen resolution and color processing abilities.

Adding to that, you can customize the program for more advanced data collection including document downloads, the number of clicks on videos, clicks on links that go to external sites, and the interaction with site-specific widget.

Learn Your Way Around The Dashboard:

First and foremost, you must become familiar with the dashboard and find your way around it.  The main navigation function is on the left-hand side of the screen.  You will see 8 options – the dashboards, shortcuts, intelligence events, real-time, audience acquisition, behavior, and conversions.

You will be focusing on the audience, acquisitions, and behavior.  The other options are for another time.  Hopefully, after familiarizing yourself to the dashboard, you will feel much more comfortable.  The 3 options you will be focusing on, for now, will help you understand who is visiting your blog, how they got there, and which pages are they spending the majority of their time on.

Compare Your Business To The Industry Benchmarks:

Using Google Analytics, you will have thousands of industries right at your fingertips.  You can use these benchmarks to compare your business to them. All you need to do is get access to this information by sharing your own data.  Start by clicking Admin, then under Account, choose Account Settings, check the box that says Benchmarking, and then hit Save. Go to the left-hand panel and choose Audience, then select Benchmarking and pick the kinds of benchmarks you want to view.

Discover Pages You Should Optimize & Improve:

You can check your Google Analytics landing page report to find out what pages have issues with their bounce rate, average onsite times, and the conversion rates. You can click on Site Content and Behavior located on the left side.

You can also choose landing pages and then sort them by bounce rates, average onsite time, and conversion rates.  Once you realize what pages have issues, optimize them using keyword relevancy by using similar copy and the same keywords as your AdWords ad.  You can use tools like GTMetrix or optimize your page’s loading speed.

Know Your Visiting Audience:

It can be very useful to know where your visitors are coming from, especially if you are going after geographical areas.  Would it make a difference if you discovered that the majority of your visitors were outside the United States?  Would this information influence how you advertise?  Go to Audience, then Geo, then Location.  Your most useful categories will probably be City and Country.

How Are Your Visitors Accessing Your Site?

Do you have any idea what devices visitors are using to get on your site?  Google said that more people are now searching on their mobile devices than on a laptop.  You should make sure your site works well with mobile users because this is a trend that will not be going away any time soon!  To find out how visitors are accessing your site, go to Audience, then Mobile, then Overview.  You even have the ability to break this information down by devices that are being used by simply selecting the Devices section.  You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see how well your page performs on mobile platforms.

Who Is Sending Traffic Your Way?

If you want to see an overview of websites that are directing traffic to you, go to Acquisition, All Traffic, and then choose Channels.  You will get a list of different categories for web traffic.  If someone simply clicked on a search result, this is called an Organic Search.  If traffic is coming from a Google AdWords campaign, this is known as a Paid Search.

If you click on Social, you will get a breakdown of social media sources that are sending you visitors.  A Referral is traffic sent to you by a visitor by clicking on a link from another site.  Direct traffic is when people type your URL into their browser or follow a bookmark.  If you are seeing a lot of direct traffic, you building a solid base of repeating, committed users!

In Conclusion:

I’ll bet at this point, you are quite amazed how much useful information you will have available on Google Analytics!  It doesn’t matter if you are running a business or trying to increase traffic on your blog, Google Analytics can help you out.  At first, I am sure you felt a little overwhelmed by the program but now you can see it’s much easier to approach if you understand the program and know what metrics are relevant for your business and/or blog!