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How To Use Google Analytics Effectively For Strategic Blog Growth



So, you’ve installed Google Analytics.

But there’s a problem.

You don’t know what the heck to do with it next.

The dashboard looks complicated, doesn’t it?

At a glance, you can see where your traffic comes from.

But that’s not enough!

You need to know which traffic sources convert into email subscribers.

Which traffic sources convert into paying customers.

And which social media site has the BIGGEST impact on your business.

Why is that important?

  • You’ll know where to spend your time.
  • Your email list will grow faster.
  • You’ll increase blog traffic and readership.
  • You’ll make more sales (with less traffic).

In this tutorial I’ll show you how I use Google Analytics to make informed decisions for strategic blog growth.

If you haven’t already installed Google Analytics and excluded internal traffic for accurate data, you’ll need to go do that now before we continue.

Using Event Goals To Track Email Subscribers
To discover which traffic sources convert into email subscribers, you’ll need to create an event goal inside Google Analytics. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it may sound.

Let’s go do that now. 

  1. Login to Google Analytics and navigate to the admin area.  In the 3rd column titled ‘All Web Site Data’ left click Goals.
  2. Left click new goal.
  3. Select sign up under engagement, then left click next step.
  4. Give your goal a name, select destination, go to the next step.
  5. Open the dropdown menu directly underneath destination, select equals to. Then, enter the url of your thank you page, but don’t include the full path (see image below).
  6. Your goal has now been created – turn recording on.
  7.  This step is optional, but highly recommended! If you’re using double option, activate the funnel settings. Enter the url of your ‘please confirm’ page (see image below). Give Step 1 a name and enable required.

Why is that important? If you don’t activate the funnel settings and someone accidently lands on your thank you page via the search engines, Google Analytics will include that visit as a new subscriber in its data – giving you inflated statistics. When you activate the funnel settings, visitors have to go through your entire email funnel to be included in Google’s data as a new subscriber.

When you’re done, left click create goal.

Using Event Goals To Track Sales

Now you’ve successfully set up tracking for email subscribers, tracking paying customers will be a walk in the park.

  • Go back to your admin area, 3rd column, select goal and left click create new goal – just like we did previously.
  • This time, select Place An Order, located under Revenue and click next step.
  • Name your goal, select Destination, left click Next Step
  • In section 3 titled Goal Details, select Equals To from the drop down menu and enter the destination of the thank you page customers are directed to after you’ve received payment.
  • Now enter a monetary value (see image below). Typically, this value is the cost of the product or service you are selling.
  • Your goal has now been created – turn recording on.
  • And finally, use the funnel settings to ensure Google tracks your sales accurately.

E.g. I sell services, clients start on a sales page (usually), so that’s step one of my funnel. Then, after payment has been made, clients are forwarded to a simple optin page asking for their primary email address, so I can contact them about their order – that’s step two of my funnel.

When you’re done, left click Create Goal.

Identifying Engaged Traffic Sources That Convert

Here comes the fun part!

Now you’ve created your goals, it’s time to analyse your data to discover which traffic sources send you quality traffic that converts into email subscribers and sales.

When you have this information, there’ll be no more guess work. You’ll know the exact websites, social platforms, forums and communities you need to leverage for strategic blog growth.

Let’s get started. 

Left click the image below to enlarge it in a new window.

Looking at the left hand navigation you can see that this data is an overview of the Acquisition report.

In the top left corner of the screenshot under goal option, I’ve filtered the results to display ‘new subscribers’ as my goal conversion (see the 3rd column of the bar chart), which I’m displaying in descending order so we can easily see which traffic sources convert the most visitors into email subscribers.

At a glance we can see that direct traffic has the highest goal conversion rate, correct?

In second place we have referral traffic, followed by social sources and organic search.

We can ignore traffic sources 5 and 6, because that’s traffic generated from my email list.

So what does this tell us?
Well, as important as direct traffic is, we can ignore it for the purpose of this tutorial – it’s not a traffic source we can easily control. And  I’m not going to explain why, or where direct traffic comes from, because it’s a complex subject.

To learn more about direct traffic, you’ll definitely want to read Where Does Website Traffic Come From: Direct Traffic by Ana Hoffman, creator of the Traffic Generation Café (highly recommended!).

Back to the acquisition overview…
Although organic search and social sources attract more visitors than referral traffic (see 1st column of bar chart), we can clearly see that referral traffic has a higher email optin conversion rate.

Meaning, commenting on popular niche related blogs, forum marketing, and networking in communities like Triberr, should be a ‘priority task’ over social media activity, keyword targeting and search engine optimization.

And if I dig a little deeper by left clicking the referral tab, we’ll discover which blogs, forums and communities attract the highest number of visitors and subscribers. With this information you’ll know exactly where to spend the vast majority of your time, engaging your target audience!

Tip: With experimentation you’ll soon discover that only a small handful of referral sites, like 2 or 3, generate 80% of your traffic, subscribers and sales.

Now, you’ll notice that I emphasized the words priority tasks in my example above.

I’m not saying social media should be ignored!

Social media is a MUST for anyone serious about building a successful blog.

You should be active on ALL the main social media sites, but there’ll always be one leading platform that works best for you as an individual.

You need to discover which one that is, and then make it a primary focus in your social media marketing plan.

And Google Analytics is an awesome tool to help you identify which social media platform has the BIGGEST impact on your business.

Left click the image above to enlarge it in a new window.

In the Sessions column, under Acquisition, we can see that Facebook delivers more traffic than Google Plus, agreed?

The bounce rate for Facebook is almost half that of Google Plus – and Facebook traffic stays on site for longer (see Avg. session duration).

Does this mean Facebook has the biggest impact?

No, not necessarily…

At first glance the data can be misleading – that’s why it’s important to set up goals!

If you look at the 3rd column titled New Users, under Acquisition, and at the Goal Conversion located in the final section of the chart…

Google Plus attracts a higher percentage of new visitors and email subscribers!

Note: To discover which traffic sources convert visitors into paying customers, you simply select the appropriate goal from the drop down menu under Goal Option. This can be found in the top left corner of the Acquisition overview.

Have a go yourself – set up the goals we’ve talked about in today’s tutorial and then come back here and let me know what you find in the comments below!

And if you need help with Google Analytics I’m currently offering my services to readers of The Strategic Blogger. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Author of This article provide multiple information of digital marketing, design and App Development, So if you are looking for Mobile App Development in Vadodara. Contact us.

Manish is an Author of this article, he working in Consumer Sketch - A Mobile App Development Vadodara. He provides multiple information about new technology & Android apps.