The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics To Scale Your Blog

Being a blogger is tough.

You spend countless hours perfecting your blog’s design, pour your heart into writing every article, and put a lot of money on content promotions.

Despite your efforts, you may still not get the results you want.

But with Google Analytics, you can ditch the guesswork and rely on analytics data to develop strategies that are guaranteed to work.

Let me show you how.

An Introduction to Google Analytics

What is Google Analytics?

To me, every blogger should use Google Analytics for a better understanding of their website’s inner workings — no exceptions.

Google Analytics is a service that can provide you with a wealth of analytics data. This includes your average monthly traffic, page session duration, bounce rate, and user demographics.

Google Analytics Value Proposition
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Why does everyone absolutely need Google Analytics in their marketing arsenal?

Two reasons:

Reason #1: It’s Comprehensive

Make no mistake that there are dozens of analytics tools out there for bloggers, marketers, and online business owners.

Google Analytics happens to be among the most versatile, scalable, and extensive solutions out of the bunch.

The library of metrics you can obtain from Google Analytics can be used for many things, including:

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization
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The mere mention of the term “SEO” is enough to make a lot of new bloggers flinch.

Who wouldn’t?

Agencies charge thousands of dollars for SEO services. Plenty of bloggers also struggle to get results with SEO even after truckloads of step-by-step guides and online courses.

To help website owners conquer SEO, Google Analytics demystifies it by providing a clear view of essential metrics.

Not only does it measure the volume of organic traffic from search engine results, it also tracks the following:

What is bounce rate in Google Analytics?

What do any of these metrics mean?

Don’t worry — we’ll discuss them in detail later.

Blog Content Creation

Blog Content Creation
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Coming up with your own content strategy involves a lot of trial and error.

You won’t understand your audience’s preferences unless you put your content to the test.

Once you do, Google Analytics can show you which posts get the most traffic.

You can then pick up perceivable patterns in your writing tone, visual content use, word choices, and so on.

This, in turn, will help you spot the tactics to keep, improve, or remove altogether.

Audience Segmentation

Audience Segments
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If you want to, Google Analytics can be a goldmine of demographic information on your readers.

Basic data like their age, gender, and location are a given. What really makes Google Analytics incredibly helpful is its ability to identify your audience’s interests, preferred browsing device, and content consumption patterns.

All in all, knowing your audience on a deeper level lets you concoct personalized content strategies more effectively.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization
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Want to turn your visitors into newsletter subscribers or paying customers?

Google Analytics constantly monitors site-wide goals to make sure your conversion strategies are working.

If you feature an online store or use an e-commerce integration on your site, Google Analytics can track them too.

General Website Improvement

Website Improvement
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How long do your readers spend on your blog before leaving?

Are there particular pages where you lose a good chunk of your visitors?

Is your website’s slow performance making your audience leave?

Where are most of your visitors coming from and what can you do to maximize those channels?

You can answer all these questions and more with Google Analytics.

Reason #2: It’s Free

Google Analytics is pretty impressive, right?

What if I told you that the platform’s core features can be used for free?

That’s right — you can reap the benefits of Google Analytics for your blog without spending a single dime.

Google Analytics actually costs less than a number of “premium” marketing analytics software in the market.

That should be reason enough for you to, at least, take Google Analytics for a spin. You have nothing to lose, everything to gain, an entire blogging niche to dominate.

With that being said, let’s get your Google Analytics account up and running.


Steps to Use Google Analytics on Your Website

The first part of any Google Analytics tutorial is integrating the platform into your website.

Learning how to set up Google Analytics requires you to handle code.

The good news is, there’s no need to write the code yourself.

Google Analytics will generate all the pieces of code you’ll ever need. You just have to paste them into the right places on your website.

But before any of that, you need to create your Google Analytics account. The process starts by specifying if you want to monitor either a website or a mobile app.

Go ahead — select ‘Website’ and fill in the required information, including your account name, website URL, and industry.

New Account Setup
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Google Analytics also prompts you to set a “Reporting Time Zone” consistent with your audience’s location. In doing so, you can get accurate reports of when certain events occur, such as conversions and page visits.

New Account Set Time Zone
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At the bottom is a list of “Data Sharing Settings” that controls how Google Analytics accesses your data.

You may enable or disable any data sharing option as you see fit. I recommend enabling ‘Technical support’ and ‘Account specialists’ in case you need assistance from Google representatives in the future.

Google Analytics Data Sharing
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After clicking ‘Get Tracking ID,’ accept Google Analytics’s terms of service to generate your “Tracking ID” and “Global Site Tag.”

Yes — these are the codes you’ll need to insert into your website before you can use Google Analytics.

Tracking ID and GTAG
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To proceed, copy and paste your global site tag into the HTML of every page you want to track. As the configuration page suggests, it should be placed right after the “<head>” tag.

That’s it, Google should soon be able to pull data from your website and into your Google Analytics account.

It may take anywhere between 24 and 48 hours before Google Analytics can display your site data.

Feel free to bookmark this post and come back later — it’s not going anywhere. Otherwise, you can skip ahead to the “How to Use Google Analytics” section of this post.

If, however, you already let enough time pass, here’s the next thing you should do:

Testing Your Google Analytics Installation

A test of your tracking code’s integration can be performed by clicking ‘Send test traffic.’ This tells Google Analytics to send a hit to the URL you specified upon generating your tracking code.

Google Analytics Send Test Traffic
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If the tracking code is successfully integrated, Google Analytics should update the active user count. It should also state that at least one of the active users is a part of the test traffic.

Test Traffic Success
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I also recommend using GA Checker to confirm the proper integration of Google Analytics on your site.

The advantage of GA Checker is that it can immediately validate the tracking code. You don’t have to wait for 24-48 hours to perform a test.

To use GA Checker, type in your domain URL, modify a few settings, and click ‘Check Your Site.’

GA Checker Home Page
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It may take some time for GA Checker to verify your Google Analytics tracking code across your site.

Naturally, blogs with hundreds of posts will take longer to check, but GA Checker shouldn’t take too long to finish. When done, it should present you with a complete list of pages and a verification of the global site tag for each.

GA Checker GTAG
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How to Add Google Analytics to WordPress

If adding Google Analytics to your website manually is easy, you’ll love how effortless it is on WordPress.

There are a handful of plugins for Google Analytics WordPress users can take advantage of.

GA Google Analytics, for one, lets you complete the installation of Google Analytics with just your tracking ID.

GA Google Analytics Plugin
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After installing and activating the plugin, go to ‘Google Analytics’ from the ‘Settings’ sub-menu.

Google Analytics WordPress Dashboard
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This will take you to the GA Google Analytics plugin page.

To proceed with the configuration, expand the ‘Plugin Settings’ panel. This should reveal the “GA Tracking ID” field where, as you may have guessed, your tracking ID goes.

GA Google Analytics Plugin Settings
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At this point, you could jump to the bottom of the page and click ‘Save Changes’ to finish the installation. But if you want, you can also switch from the default tracking method.

This can be set on the “Tracking Method” section of the plugin settings page.

GA Google Analytics Tracking Method
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To keep things short, the “Universal Analytics” and “Global Site Tag” tracking options are fundamentally the same.

The global site tag method still loads the universal analytics script. This means there’s no real difference between the two if you only want to send data to Google Analytics.

However, the global site tag tracking method is recommended if you plan to send data to multiple Google products.

There’s a lot more to this under the surface. If you want to know more about the differences between these tracking methods, check out this post by Pavan Sharma.


Exploring Google Analytics

After the configuration of your Google Analytics account, allow me to introduce you to your dashboard.

On the ‘Home’ page, Google Analytics reveals some of the most important metrics you’ll have to track as a blogger.

Google Analytics Home
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Other than “Users,” you may also notice other metrics on your Google Analytics dashboard — namely “Sessions,” “Bounce Rate,” and “Session Duration.”

Google Analytics Basic Metrics
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Wait…what do these metrics mean?

Put simply, “Sessions” pertain to the number of times users have accessed your site.

Why are “sessions” more than the “Users” metric?

That’s because a single user can have multiple sessions in your site within the selected date range.

“Session Duration” tracks the average time visitors spend on your website before exiting. “Bounce Rate,” on the other hand, measures the likelihood of visitors to leave before clicking anywhere else on your site.

Clicking on any of these metrics will load the right line chart. You can also select a different date range from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the visualization.

Google Analytics Home Date Range
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Later in this post, we will discuss strategies on how to turn these analytics data into actionable steps. For now, let’s resume exploring the home page of Google Analytics.


Getting Familiar With Your Google Analytics Home Page

To the right of the Google Analytics home page is the real-time data panel.

The first bit of information you’ll see is the number of active users right now. That — along with the current pages being viewed by those users.

Real-Time Users Count
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Want more real-time data?

If you click on ‘Real-Time Report,’ you’ll see a quick snapshot of current users’ activities.

You could even compare the number of users on desktops versus those on mobile devices.

Real-Time Overview
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The real-time report also contains information you’ve already seen, namely your top active pages and pageviews per minute. Where it really gets interesting are the “top” data cards, which are:

  • Referrals — External, referring sites where current users came from.
  • Social Traffic — Basically the same as top referrals, but with social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Keywords — A list of keywords that led organic traffic to your site.
  • Locations —As the name implies, the “Top Locations” data card shows a map that displays where active users are coming from.

Pretty cool, but we’ve barely scratched the surface.

Going back to the home page, Google Analytics offers a glimpse of valuable insights.

Know Where Your Readers are Coming From

Apart from the basic metrics earlier, the home page also has other reports that can help you grow your blog.

One report shows an overview of your blog’s traffic acquisition data.

Under “How do you acquire users,” you’ll see a timeline that tracks your traffic types within a certain date range. These traffic channels are marked as organic search, direct, social, referral, or “other.”

Traffic Channels Home Report
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By switching to the ‘Source/Medium’ tab, the report will also specify the sites that lead traffic to your blog. This will also modify the “Organic Search” channel to only display organic traffic from the Google search engine.

Source or Medium Tab
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Meanwhile, the “Referrals” tab foregoes all traffic channel types and shows the exact domains where users are coming from.

Referral Traffic Channel
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Remember these bits of information — you’ll do a lot of great stuff with them later.

Get Intelligent Insights

If you prefer to skip the number crunching and receive actionable information straight away, check out “Analytics Intelligence.”

This feature can be accessed from the data card right next to the traffic sources report.

Analytics Intelligence Panel
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Analytics intelligence provides you with clear-cut updates on your site. In the screenshot above, the analytics intelligence widget from the home page tells us that we’re getting traffic from “m.facebook.com.”

Clicking ‘More Insights’ will expand the analytics intelligence tool to present more updates like the one above.

Analytics Intelligence More Insights
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You can also access this panel by clicking ‘Insights’ on the upper-right corner of the Google Analytics interface.

Quick Insights Button
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If you’re interested in a particular category of insights, refer to the “Insights on Demand” section. This can be found at the bottom of the analytics intelligence panel.

Here, insights are organized into groups that can aid your various blog improvement goals.

Insights on Demand
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If you’re new to Google Analytics, you should go here while you’re still unfamiliar with the interface.

Suppose you’re curious about your user growth over the past six months. Simply click ‘Understanding Trends’ and look for “Trend of monthly users over the last six months” for the raw figures.

Understanding Trends Button
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The analytics intelligence panel should now show you the chart that shows exactly what you asked for. If you need to, you can get more in-depth information from the right page by clicking ‘Go to report.’

This will show you more than just an overview of the information you required.

Go To Report Button
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Another reason why analytics intelligence is so useful is the ability to request follow-up information.

Below “Ask a follow-up question,” you should be able to dig for related information.

In some cases, you can even get follow-up information that can explain the current data you’re analyzing. This is an efficient way for beginners to extract actionable insights from Google Analytics.

Follow-Up Information
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A Glance at Your Audience’s Behavior

Lastly, the Google Analytics home page gives you a sneak peek at your audience’s usage patterns on your website.

You don’t have to look far — the data cards you need are just a few scrolls away.

In my opinion, the three cards you just can’t miss are:

  • When do your users visit?
    The “users by time of day” card visualizes the activity on your website throughout the days of the week. This helps you identify the times when your readers are most likely to visit.
  • Where are your users?
    There’s more than one way to check where visitors to your website are coming from. Referring to the “sessions by country” card is a clear example.
  • What are your top devices?
    When designing your website, it’s important to distinguish the devices your readers use. “Sessions by device” provides you with a breakdown of users who come from desktops, smartphones, and tablets.

Audience Behavior Quick Reports
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If you want more blog traffic, you need more than just awesome writing skills.

You need every single detail tailored to your target audience’s specific needs.

That’s why the pieces of data above are crucial to your Google Analytics strategy.


How to Use Google Analytics to Scale Your Blog

Alright — I think we’ve talked enough about Google Analytics’s home page.

Next, you need to learn how to put all the data you can gather to use.

1. Identify and Maximize Your Top Traffic Acquisition Channels

Using Google Analytics as a website traffic checker is part of my daily blogging routine.

Remember, no matter how big your blog becomes, there’s always an improvement opportunity to be discovered.

A great place to start would be your existing traffic sources.

Think of it this way. Rather than untested blog promotion strategies, you’re probably better off improving the ones that already work.

For a bird’s-eye view of your website’s top traffic sources, click ‘Overview’ from the ‘Acquisition’ sub-menu. Google Analytics should instantly display the different traffic channels that feed traffic to your site.

Your Top Traffic Channels
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There are different kinds of channels that can generate traffic to your blog. In my case, most traffic comes from organic search — a compelling sign that I should keep focusing on SEO.

But for the sake of this guide, let’s try something less complex, like getting traffic from social media.

Uncovering Your Social Media Traffic Sources

Social media traffic pertains to visitors who came from a social media site.

For this traffic channel, Google Analytics tracks sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter — even the traffic you get from Quora.

To see your social traffic sources, click on ‘Social’from your list of traffic channels on the acquisition overview page.

Social Traffic Channel
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Looking at the report page, I can be sure that one of my biggest sources of referral traffic is Facebook.

Social Network Traffic Channels
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Clearly, one of my social media strategies on Facebook is working. What I want to know are the exact posts that may have caused an influx of traffic.

By clicking on ‘Facebook,’ I can scrutinize the movement of traffic from that particular sources over the weeks. Once in, the first thing I’d do is adjust the date range to a month back.

Widen the Date Range
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According to the chart, traffic from Facebook spiked between March 3rdand March 9th of 2019.

Google Analytics Traffic Spike Chart
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Within this time, I’ve made two notable shares: my guest blogging guide on March 3rdand the bounce rate article on March 4th.

Those are strong indications that my Facebook followers prefer bite-sized content updates.

My Facebook Post
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Does this mean I’ll only pump out content updates on social media from now on?

Nope — I’ll probably keep experimenting with other content types in the future. However, you can expect me to keep sharing these small updates whenever they’re available.

Beyond the content type being shared, you should also consider other factors such as the exact time the content was shared, the featured image, and the post’s caption.

While you’re at it, take a look at the users who shared your content. You never know when an authoritative influencer is basically knocking on your door.

I covered more social media marketing strategies in this post — check it out!

Going further…

If you manage to form correlations between social traffic spikes and your posts as I did, congratulations!

You now have at least one strategy in your arsenal that’s guaranteed to get results.

But don’t relax just yet — this is just the beginning.

Since I want my readers to succeed, I urge you to keep searching for strategies that are proven to bring you traffic.

That said, get back to your top traffic channels and investigate something else. You should have a long list of traffic sources to comb through — from organic search to referring sites.

More Traffic Channels
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2. Create Custom User Segments

If you want to leverage the power of analytics for a specific type of audience, you should create user segments. These act as filters that refine the data presented on any Google Analytics report.

For example, on the acquisition overview page, you can create a user segment to only track data for a specific audience type.

At the top of the overview page, click ‘Add Segment’ to display a list of all available segments from Google Analytics.

Add New User Segment
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The default segments include groups like bounced sessions, customers who made a purchase, mobile traffic, new users, and so on. Don’t hesitate to use any of these pre-made segments as long as they fit your goals.

For instance, the “Made a Purchase” segment can be used to analyze data only from users who bought something. Just select the checkbox to the left of the segment you want to use and click ‘Apply.’

Selected Segments Page
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User segments are useful if you want to check where certain readers come from and which pages get the most clicks.

With the segment above, you can mold a better content strategy that nurtures your most valuable visitors.

Made A Purchase User Segment Site Content
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If you need more than the pre-built user segments on Google Analytics, click ‘New Segment’ from the segment selection window.

Create New Segment Button
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To create a new segment, you can choose from a host of different user attributes you want to use. Some examples are age ranges, gender, in-market segment, device operating system, and so on.

These attributes are organized across categories like demographics, technology, and traffic sources.

User Segment Attributes
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With segments, you can monitor how certain audience types interact with your site using Google Analytics’s arsenal of reporting tools.

Always remember that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions in blogging.

Even if a content strategy works for certain users, there’s no guarantee that it’ll work for everyone else.

User segments eliminate this problem since you can independently track your website’s performance for various user groups.  

That reminds me…

Google Analytics does a lot more than help you identify where your users are coming from.

In the right hands, it also becomes an instrument for examining the user experience on a website.

3. Make Your Visitors Read More Posts

Sometimes, it’s not about how many visitors you can pull into your website.

If you already accommodate a steady stream of traffic, you should also concentrate on making them stay.

For this, our plan will be parallel with bounce rate reduction, which I discussed more extensively in this post.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, really. After all, our end goal is to retain visitors and encourage them to see more of your site.

That’s pretty much the same as the goal of reducing bounce rate.

To do this…

If you want to use Google Analytics to improve reader retention, you need to recognize two things: pieces of content that drive user engagement andthose that don’t.

You can find both at the same time with Google Analytics.

On the ‘Users Flow’ page, you can visually observe how the average user experience pans out on your site. This contains an interactive chart that maps how users navigate across each page.

Users Flow Button
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You begin by selecting a traffic origin from the drop-down menu. This can be a traffic source, country, landing page, ad campaign, and so forth.

Select a Starting Point
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Selecting ‘Source’ will set the starting points for your users flow report to your traffic sources.

You can also select ‘Source/Medium’ to discern traffic channel categories, such as referral, paid, and organic.

Here’s a tip: as with every other report on Google Analytics, double-check the date range on the upper-right corner of the users flow chart.

You don’t want to miss out on crucial data just because you didn’t set a date range of at least one month.

Google Analytics Date Range
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Why start with traffic sources?

For the most part, I personally rely on these two options while I’m on the users flow page.

The thought process here is the same as when you’re investigating your top traffic sources. To make every ounce of effort count, you might as well pool them on strategies that are already proven.

So, let’s just go with ‘Source’ or ‘Source/Medium’ to showcase what these reports are all about, shall we?

Google Analytics Behavior Flow from Sources
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The chart should immediately reload to represent how traffic “flows” through your content — from their source to their “drop-off” or exit point. This will help you understand which pages grab the attention of readers from certain traffic sources.

At the same time, it can highlight pages where they tend to leave your site. These are the blocks with the noticeable red bars to the right — indicative of a high drop-off rate.

Page With high Drop-Off Rate
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The top block below the “Starting Pages” column probably has the most drop-offs on the users flow chart.

However, that’s only because it denotes a group of posts rather than representing a single page.

Behavior Flow Group Drop-Off Rate
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To view the individual pages in the group, click on the block and select ‘Group Details’ from the pop-up menu.

Behavior Flow Group Details Link
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This will show you a list of the top pages in the group along with their total sessions and traffic share. You also get to see the individual drop-off rate of each page — enabling you to pluck out “dead end” posts that fail to retain the audience’s attention on your site.

Bear in mind that the page on top of the list — often denoted by a slash (“/”) — is your homepage. If you designed it well with sufficient navigation elements, it should have a relatively low drop-off rate despite having the largest number of page sessions.

Behavior Flow Page Group List
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Single pages with high drop-offs could indicate issues with your content that cost you visits. Don’t forget about the other pages on the users flow chart that fail to keep readers on your blog.

So…drop-offs are bad?

I’m not saying drop-offs are always a bad thing. In fact, some of your most popular content probably have high drop-off rates themselves.

High drop-offs merely indicate that your content may lack elements that keep visitors “hooked” on your website. These elements could be internal links, opt-in forms, sidebar menus, visual content, and so on.

Keep in mind, unless it’s a “thank you page” for newly-converted customers or subscribers, then you should never be satisfied with a high drop-off rate on any page. 

Look for the obvious red bars to quickly find these pages and click on them to view their drop-off rate.

Behavior Flow Page High Drop-Off Rate
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If your blog’s drop-off rates are left unchecked, the effects will be reflected in the pages per session metric.

In the example above, we can affirm that out of 2,800 visits to that post, only 202 or 7.34 percent stays on your site and checks out another page.

That’s a lot of visitors leaving before doing anything meaningful, like subscribing to your mailing list or buying a product.

What Can You Do?

Unfortunately, diagnosing the reason why readers abandon pages is a topic for another post. The good news is, I’ve already written and published that post right here.

For your convenience, the key lessons you should learn to reduce drop-offs are the following:

  • Improve your website’s loading speed
  • Incorporate internal links to related pages
  • Utilize navigation elements like sidebar menus and footer links

Another way to use the users flow chart is to highlight the usual path of visitors on your blog.

To do this, click on any block and select ‘Highlight traffic through here.’ You may also click on any of the paths to highlight the usual flow of traffic — from the source all the way to the audience’s last interaction with the site.

For instance, if I click on one of the paths from the ‘m.facebook.com’ source will focus on the navigation pattern of visitors who originated from Facebook’s mobile site.

Behavior Flow Path
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Don’t forget to check your keywords…

If you notice that a traffic source fails to lead the audience through multiple pages, perhaps you need to review your targeting strategy.

Aside from poor-quality content, another reason why readers don’t stay engaged in your website is a mismatch between their expectations and the actual information your content delivers.

This has something to do with your target keywords and search user intent, which I’ve discussed more thoroughly in this post.

4. Set Goals and Track User Conversions

Using the users flow report to track whether or not your users reach your conversion-related pages is great.

Measuring if they actually take action and convert is a lot better.

Google Analytics allows you to set up unique goals as well as record many times they’re accomplished.

How to Track Goals with Google Analytics

You can set up goals from the ‘Admin’ section of your Google Analytics account. Alternatively, select ‘Goals’ from the ‘Conversions’sub-menu and head over to the ‘Overview’ page.

From there, click ‘Set up goals’ to begin setting up your conversion objectives.

Set Up New Goals
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On the “Goals” page, click on ‘+ New Goal.’ You will then be taken to the “Goal setup” page where you can breeze through the process with pre-configured templates or start from scratch.

Goal templates have concise descriptions right next to them, which makes it easy to choose the one you need. But to clearly demonstrate how goals work in Google Analytics, let’s choose ‘Custom’ and configure the goal ourselves.

Set Up Goal Type
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On the “Goal description” section, enter a name for your goal and pick a type. You can leave the “Goal slot ID” as is if this is the first goal you’ll make.

Suppose we want to track the number of users who completes a purchase on your blog.

A lot of website owners redirect new customers to a “Thank You” page that presents them with links to useful resources. You can track the conversions on your website by recording how many users reach that page.

Goal Description Settings
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The third step is where you specify the necessary details to properly track your goal.

In relation to the example above, Google Analytics requires the URL of our “Thank You” page. To track profits, you may also assign a monetary value to each conversion by entering the price of your product or service.

Goal Details Configuration
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If you have an elaborate funnel or series of pages you expect customers to take before buying, consider selecting ‘Funnel.’ This will allow you to define multiple URLs for each funnel page and weed out “choke points” where users leave.

Goal Enable Funnels
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To ensure the proper configuration of your goal, click “Verify this Goal.” Google Analytics will test how often the goal was completed using your site’s data for the past week.

Verify This Goal Button
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After the test, Google Analytics will show you the actual conversion rate for the goal you’ve made.

You don’t have to stress about your conversion rate for now. What matters is that Google Analytics can now track conversions and, in turn, how effective your content strategy is.

5. Measure and Improve Your Site Speed

Speaking of conversions, a time-tested way to get more subscribers or paying customers on your website is to improve its loading speed.

I’ve covered several strategies to improve a blog’s loading speed in a previous post.

What wasn’t mentioned is how to use Google Analytics to track loading speed and get actionable suggestions.

To start, expand the ‘Behavior’ sub-menu on your Google Analytics dashboard. You should see another menu labeled ‘Site Speed,’ where all the tools you need can be accessed.

Google Analytics Site Speed Button
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The ‘Overview’ page will show you a comprehensive report of your website’s loading speed. Some of the metrics included are the average loading time on your blog, server connection time, and server response time.

Site Speed Metrics Overview
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Google Analytics also measures your website’s performance across different browsers. It also measures performance on apps like Samsung Internet and Android Webview, which can help with your blog’s mobile optimization.

Site Speed Browsers
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These metrics are great for gauging the overall loading time of your website. But in order to make improvements, you need to identify which pages have performance-related issues.

How do I get actionable recommendations for my site speed?

You can do this by going to ‘Speed Suggestions’ to show the performance data of individual pages on your site. Next, click on ‘Avg. Page Load Time’ to sort the results accordingly.

Google Analytics Speed Suggestions
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Once you identify your slowest pages, you always have the option to run a third-party performance analysis tool. But since Google Analytics is already integrated with PageSpeed Insights, you can launch the tool from under ‘PageSpeed Suggestions.’

PageSpeed Insights Suggestions
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Optimization recommendations for your website’s speed vary from compressing images to deleting excessive CSS files. Some are easy enough to do yourself, while others require you to consult a professional coder.

You can find these suggestions under ‘Opportunities’and ‘Diagnostics’ sections on the PageSpeed Insights report.

PageSpeed Insights Recommendations
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6. Compare Your Website Performance with Industry Benchmarks

When it comes to loading speed, the industry standard is pretty simple:

Just make your website load as fast as possible — preferably in three seconds or less.

According to statistics, 40 percent of online users would abandon a site that takes over three seconds to load. That’s roughly half of your potential leads gone before they even see your content.

Other metrics like bounce rate and conversion rate, however, are far trickier.

If you’re wondering what a good bounce or conversion rate is in your industry, don’t expect a straight answer. You’ll have to figure them out yourself through some benchmarks.

Comparing Your Site Stats with Industry Benchmarks

On Google Analytics, click on ‘Benchmarking’ and select ‘Channels’ from the ‘Audience’ menu segment. This will take you to a report page where you can compare your website’s metrics with data from contributing sources.

These are other website or mobile app properties added to Google Analytics.

Industry Benchmarking Report Page
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Now, before you look at benchmarks, you must first select your niche on the “Industry Vertical” drop-down menu.

Since the industry vertical menu is rather exhaustive, I find that it’s faster to use the search bar. All it takes is a single keyword to find your niche and be prepared for the next step in benchmarking.

Find Industry Vertical
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Also, be sure to set the right country or region and specify the size of your business in terms of daily sessions. These make sure you compare your website with similar competitors in terms of size and location.

Set the Right Country and Traffic Size
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After which, you’re all set to choose the metrics you want to use in your benchmark.

On the first drop-down menu, select the metric you want to compare from your website.

Benchmark Metric from Own Site
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On the next drop-down menu, you need to look for the same metric, but from contributing properties. This should be denoted by the word “Benchmark” followed by the metric you want to compare.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to reduce bounce rate on your website.

Here’s what your benchmark configuration should look like:

Benchmarking Your Bounce Rate with the Industry Average
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The benchmarking report page should now show a chart that compares your website’s bounce rate with the industry average.

Below the visualization, the table should present benchmark results for certain traffic channel groups.

Bounce Rate Benchmark More Data
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Below the “Bounce Rate” column, negative values show that your website performed better than the industry average. This implies that the bounce rate on your blog is actually lower than the majority of websites in your niche.

A positive value, however, shows that the bounce rate on your website is higher than the average.

High Bounce Rate
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As far as benchmarks go, different values have different interpretations. When in doubt, just remember that a green-colored metric is indicative of a positive result whereas red means bad.

You can also hover your mouse over the “question mark” icon to know how to interpret benchmark data.

Industry Benchmarks
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Conclusion

I know — this Google Analytics training post is pretty long. That’s why I decided to help build your plan of action based on what you’ve learned.

To sum up, I want you to look at the list of objectives below and use it to guide you moving forward:

  • Configure Google Analytics for your blog
  • Use Google Analytics to identify your top web traffic channels
  • Create user segments for the different types of readers you get
  • Understand how users consume your blog content through the users flow report
  • Set goals and track your conversions
  • Measure your site speed and learn how to improve it
  • Compare your site’s performance with industry benchmarks

Looks like you have a lot of work ahead of you.

Good luck and thank you for reading this post. If you enjoy detailed guides like this, support the site by sharing it on social media.

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About Ankit Singla

Hi, I'm Ankit Singla Founder of Master Blogging. A blog that helps you master the art of Blogging. Join our Facebook Community and stay connected with other like-minded bloggers.

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