I can’t stress how important it is to track the successfulness of your blog in Google Analytics (GA). I check in with my GA daily (often a few times every day) and I really let the insights drive what I do next. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, definitely check out this post to get started with your Google Analytics tracking.
It can all seem a bit daunting if you’re new to tracking or digital marketing and I know how easy it can be to get totally “lost” in the data (there is just so much to look at you could really spend a day analysing 1 hours worth of data) and we don’t want that.
So, we need to know what to look for and understand what it means so that we can jump in and at a quick glance, understand some key metrics and let them drive future content decisions.
That’s where my Free Google Analytics Dashboard for Bloggers comes in! I’ve created this little free dashboard so that in just a couple of clicks, the future of GA tracking will be much easier and more efficient for you.
But first, let’s talk through what’s in the dashboard, why you should track it and how to customise it for your blog if need be.
Ready? Let’s go.
Real Time Widgets:
This includes the “Active Right Now” widget and the “Page Views in the Last 30 Mins” widget.
What is it? Both widgets show you in real time, how many users in total (as a number) are on your blog and then the number of page views within the last 30 minutes (think of the bar graph as a moving timeline, when you see a new bar appear moving from right to left, that means someone has just arrived at a page on your blog, the taller the bar, the higher the number of page views at any one time).
Why track it? I check my real-time stats really only if I have just done a big push on social media or when I send out my email newsletter. I like to see how much impact something has directly after launch and for example, which of the blog posts I included in my newsletter are being clicked on and engaged with the most (you can always check this data later as well, but that’s a conversation for another day).
What is it? Google technically defines a “session” as the total number of “group interactions” at any one time, so this figure will show the number of “group sessions” accrued for the date range that is selected in GA at that time. What’s a “group session”? Well it is when someone visits your website and performs a series of actions at that time (so they might land on your website, read one post, click to the next post, download a printable, subscribe etc. etc. all at the one time).
Why track it? It’s great to know how many times your website has been visited. It’s a metric you can use for your media kit or when applying for influencer platforms.
Sessions & Pageviews Line Graph:
What is it? We covered off what a “session” is just before and pageviews are pretty self-explanatory (the number of pages on your website that have been viewed) so it’s really great to plot these against one another and see over time how they’re tracking.
Why track it? Well ideally you want the lines to be as far apart from one another as possible because you want people to visit your blog (recorded as a session) and consume many different pieces of content across many different pages while they are there.
It’s great to see over time which days have performed better than others, so that if you see a particularly great day (where the sessions are much lower than the page views) you can dive into the data and view that day specifically to see which posts were viewed. If you can see which posts people tend to like to consume, perhaps you could trial listing them in your sidebar to make them more prominent to new visitors?
Pages Per Session:
What is it? Pretty much the above but in number format and an average of the entire date range you have selected in the top right hand corner. You want this number to be high (meaning the average number of articles your visitor consumes each time they visit is quite significant).
Why track it? Knowing how many average page views you have per visitor is a really great metric when considering how engaged your blog readers are. It’s also an indication of how well optimised your website is. By that I mean, how easy it is for users to jump to one page to another on your blog. Consider things like: Interlinking between posts, your blog theme, adding widgets to your blog that show “related posts” and optimising your sidebar (tips from me to come on this).
What is it? Your bounce rate is the percentage of people who navigate away from your website after viewing one page.
Why track it? It’s important to note that people may bounce if they land on a page of your website hoping for an answer to their question and if they get it, they may not need to view any other pages, so you kind of have to take bounce rate with a grain of salt, but in tandem with the number of pages viewed per session, it can be a good metric to look at when making decisions about optimising your website layout or optimising posts to interlink together.
What is it? If you have AdSense advertising banners set up on your website, you can easily connect your account to your GA and it will pull through how much AdSense revenue you’ve earned during the allocated date range.
Why track it? Well I guess we both know why we’re tracking this one.. we want to know how much money we’re making! I also find it much easier to know I can pull this information in one place (without having to log into the AdSense platform to grab this data). It’s great to note down how much you’re making month on month so you can track trends.
How can I customise it for me? If you don’t have AdSense set up on your blog, you can remove this widget by hovering your cursor over the top right hand corner of the box. An “x” will appear and you can remove the widget by clicking this.
What is it? This widget is a little table I created that basically outlines the “top pages” on your blog. It includes the page title along with the total unique pageviews on that page (this is different from “pageviews” as if one person has viewed a page more than once, they will only be counted once here) and the average time spent on that page.
Why track it? For me, this is a great way for me to gauge my most popular posts by traffic and engagement. It’s important to look at these metrics in tandem because for example, if you have a high amount of traffic on one page with only a small average time on page, that could be an indication that it’s the traffic is not high quality (need to check whether this post is turning up in Google for irrelevant keywords) or perhaps the post title is misleading or not matching the content well or just that the content needs to be optimised further to be more engaging to your readers.
Social Media Referrals:
What is it? As the name suggests, this little graph tallies the total number of referral sessions from social media sources.
Why track it? When put in this way it allows you to gauge your most popular social media channels which can help you to gain an understanding of where your posts are being shared across platforms (if you’re not already tracking that in a different way).
What is it? Sessions by source. This colourful little pie chart shows the percentage of sources as a whole to your website but only up to 5 slices.
Why track it? It’s a good one to take screenshots of and include in your media kit or just for yourself as a quick “at a glance” look at where your traffic is coming from over the allocated date range.
Source / Medium Sessions & Bounce Rate:
What is it? This just gives you a more detailed view of all of the traffic coming to your website and the percentage of that traffic that has visited one page and then left (Bounce Rate).
Why track it? I see this as the most important widget to look at. It gives you a good idea of where your quality traffic is coming from, so you can further optimise and prioritise your promotional efforts. You can see here, my traffic from Stumble Upon is not great quality, I get some new readers and users from there, but not a high percentage. How do I know? There are lots of Stumble Upon sessions, but people are not staying to view my content. Facebook however has a much lower Bounce Rate at just over 50% so I might look to focus on this more than other promotional channels.
What is it? This widget is one of my favourites! It is a table that shows the keywords used to find your website along with the number of sessions for that keyword and the bounce rate.
Why track it? I think this can be a clever way of finding new blog post ideas. If you find that people are landing on your blog for particular keywords or questions like “How to set up a Google Analytics Dashboard” and they’re arriving at your website but then bouncing because they can’t find the answer to your question, perhaps that’s a sign that you could write about that topic and answer their question? It can also show you when you’re blog is appearing for really irrelevant keywords so you can look at trying to optimise your content to appear for the right keywords.
OK so are you ready to start tracking these key metrics on your blog? Here’s how to plug in this template to your own Google Analytics.
This is SO EASY. You’ll be tracking your blog’s stats in no time.
Here’s a quick “How to” tutorial on how to install this free Google Analytics dashboard.
– Just make sure you’re logged in to Google Analytics in your browser.
– Copy and paste the below link into a new tab in your browser
– Click the profile you want your dashboard to show in
– Rename the dashboard if you like
– Have a look through and change your date range in the top right hand corner if you want to.
That’s it! I hope this helps you to better track your blogs activity and make some decisions on optimising your content to perform better in the future.
Did you like this post? I would just love it if you could share it with a blogging buddy you think would get something out of it or “pinned” it to your Pinterest page!