Running a website without statistics is like walking through a forest wearing a blindfold - you know you’re walking and your feet are moving, but you have no idea where you’re going and you’re likely to hit a tree or two.
The words are your steps and blog posts are your walks. You have great ideas, you’re even a talented writer. Is that enough to make a blog post successful?
Google Analytics is here to help you turn visitors into customers with the right blog posts
Blog posts, like most things related to a website, are a process. It’s not just the blog post that enters the equation. It matters when you post it, who you address it to, how long you keep them engaged. Knowing your audience and how they behave on your website makes the difference between just a text body and a blog post that causes engagement and sales.
Your blog posts can be more than ideas turned into text. They can be a way to reach your audience, to communicate with them, to grow their trust in your expertise and, ultimately, to pitch your products or services in a way that doesn’t feel like advertising.
This is where Google Analytics comes into play.
Google Analytics is a useful and free tool that gives you an in-depth understanding of your website, your audience and how they react to the content you provide.
Let’s have a look at the key parameters that will help you create blog posts of interest to your audience.
You’re likely to spend most of your time in the Reports category. Here, you’ll find key metrics that help you find more about your visitors, where they’re located, how they behave on the website and more.
1. Audience - overview
This key metric shows you the number of visitors you have had on the website over a selected period of time. You can track your website’s activity for the past month or the past year and you can even compare two time periods.
You can also see the average session duration - a low number means that visitors don’t spend enough time on the page. The average internet user needs 30 seconds to become engaged. If they leave before the 30-second mark, it might be an indicator that your blog post introduction isn’t engaging enough.
This metric gives a breakdown of where all your visitors are coming from for each channel. They can come from direct, organic, social or paid traffic.
The bounce rate is an important element that you also need to keep in mind. The bounce rate is the percentage of people that decide to leave the website after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate indicates that the page content isn’t engaging enough or is off-putting.
Here, you can have a closer look at how your website pages are perceived by visitors. You can see the most popular pages and it helps you understand if the content of your blog posts matches what your audience is looking for.
Why is it important to know all these details when writing a blog post?
- You get to know who your audience is
After analysing the audience reports, you might end up finding out that your target audience and your actual audience are two completely different things. For example:
You have a website that sells car parts. Your blog posts are about fixing cars, reviews on car parts etc. and your target audience is men in the 35-50 age group. However, when you check Google Analytics, the reports show that the majority of your website’s visitors are women age 18-34.
- Find out where your visitors are
You can find these parameters by going to the Audience menu, clicking on Geo and then Location.
Let’s say you’re a local business, aiming to target people that live in the area. You might assume that all your visitors come from your local area - but you might be wrong! Just because your business is in London, for example, this doesn’t mean that most of your audience comes from the UK - the majority of your traffic could come from the United States.
Once you manage to have an idea of where the majority of your audience is located, you can then modify your blog post topics and content to better suit these specific audiences.
- Find out which topics interest your visitors
Google Analytics gives you the chance to find out which are your best pages so you can create more of the same.
To see which page or blog post is most popular, go to Behaviour, then click on Site content and select All pages. Make sure you set a wide date range so the information is relevant.
To see the pages that people find the most interesting, click on the comparison option, then from the drop-down menu, select Avg. time on page.
The biggest green bars are the pages that users are spending the most time on. If they choose to remain on the page long enough, we can assume that they find the content engaging and interesting enough to keep them reading.
These are the pages you want to have more of and these are the pages that can be used to convert viewers into buyers. Identify popular topics and create more pages around the same theme.
- Understand why people leave your pages
Remember that we mentioned the Bounce rate earlier on and how a high bounce rate indicates that the page content isn’t engaging enough or is off-putting. Let’s take a look at how you can view the bounce rate for each individual blog post.
Go to Behaviour, then Site content and click on All pages. Order the list by the highest bounce rate. The order will be based on the highest bounce rate, regardless of the amount of visitors who have viewed your pages.
You want to ignore the pages with next to no traffic and really focus on the ones that have at least a minimum amount of traffic. To do this, select the Advanced option and search “Site Usage”. Then scroll down and click on Page views.
Select the Greater than option and then choose the minimum amount of page views you want to filter (let’s say 30) and click Apply. This will give you a list of the pages with at least 30 views that have the highest bounce rate.
Take your blog posts to the next level: CTAs - what are they and when to use them
After going through all the key meters that GA provides, you have managed to (finally) find the equation for creating great blog posts - great! Your blog post has it all - a topic of interest, engaging content, a catchy intro, and useful facts all the way through. A reader has just finished scanning through your amazing blog post… What do they do now?
This is when Call to Actions, or CTAs for short, come into play.
They answer the question “what do I do next?”. If you managed to catch the interest of a reader and you got them all the way through the bottom of your page, why let them leave now?
Your ultimate goal is to turn readers into buyers, so think about the next step that you would like a reader to take once they’ve gone through a particular post. Should they read more? Read something else? Should they contact you? Don’t just assume that the readers know what you want them to do, because they are reading your content and wait for your instructions.
You can include 1 to 2 CTAs per post:
Blog post success is not all about your writing skills. By learning how to navigate and read Google Analytics, you will be able to improve your content and create blog posts tailored to your audience’s profile and interests. This will help you generate more awareness around your brand, more visitors, and will help you turn those visitors into customers.
Follow these steps, stay consistent, and get familiar with the Google Analytics Interface. It’s a wholesome and important tool and every small business owner should know their way around it. If you get stuck or want to know more about how this amazing tool works, check out our complete Google Analytics online course:
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