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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Did you know that you can do all our online courses from your phone? Even our coaching programmes!
Not may of us are sitting on beaches this summer (or ones that aren't quite as warm as we had hoped :D) but wherever you are this year, why not learn all about marketing your small business from your phone.
Using the Moodle app, you can learn wherever you are, whenever you want. You can:
The process is simple: just head to the AppStore or Google play and download the Moodle app to your phone.
Once you have the app installed, add this to the site address box and then sign up or sign in:
Here is a quick peek at what the 'Who is looking at your website - Google Analytic intro' short course looks like on the app:
Find out more about our online courses here and download the app here:
Pop-up messages and forms are common now. They distract the visitor from what they are looking at and the best of them cause the visitor to become a lead and to give you their contact details.
While they can work extremely well, they can work very badly and distract your visitors enough for them to leave you website.
Here are our pointers for using pop-ups effectively:
- Ask visitors for their contact details after they have browsed your website long enough to at least find out what you do.
- Get your pop-up popping up after content loads and not directly after they have arrived on the site or logged into anything.
- If possible, make your cookie part of the page and not a pop-up. We have grown very tired of cookie notices - it is an actual thing called 'cookie fatigue'! - so keep them as small and unobtrusive as possible.
- Add lead magnet pop-ups three quarters of the way down a page and make sure they don't cover the content on the page. A right side pop-up works well.
- Make your pop-ups look just as good as the rest of your site does. Use your branding.
- Give your visitor something to do next - have a box that asks for their email address or a button to click to download or read something. Ask for their email address, not their shoe measurements or anything else.
- Make them work on your mobile version or hide them if they don't.
- Keep the text short.
- Make sure that if they can click to reject it, they don't have to click on something like 'I don't need your report' or, as below, 'I don't want to know the latest trends'. Keep it friendly.
Google has some strong feelings about pop-ups.
To avoid them penalising your site, make sure you avoid:
You can create pop-ups in:
However you use pop-ups, get them fitted into your sales process. They should help you visitor become and lead and, one day, a client.
For specific help with building your sales process or website, find out more here.
Frequent, fresh content engages your potential customers, builds links that bring in more potential customers and Google loves it, so it will send you even more potential customers.
If you have advice to give, try creating an infographic using a template online or free creation service such as Canva or Venngage.
Everyone loves a good image/graph/chart!
1. SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’.
‘Search engine optimisation’ is the group of practices designed to improve your website’s ranking within organic, non-paid search results. In short, SEO aims to improve your business’ visibility and drive increased web traffic to your site. A variety of techniques are in the SEO toolbox, from keyword optimisation to social media activity.
2. Choose your keywords with care.
A big part of SEO is keyword optimisation but the first step in that process is figuring out the right keywords to emphasise on your website. The ideal keywords are relevant to your business, tie in with your site’s content and be frequently searched for by your potential customers while not widely in use by other websites.
3. Do not make your site too keyword-heavy.
The use of the right keywords is important but using too many keywords can actually hurt your search engine ranking. Placing too many keywords on your website will cause your site to be regarded as spam by search engines and the spiders that search engines use to index sites are programmed to pass over websites that engage in ‘keyword stuffing’.
4. Images won’t help improve your search results unless you use ALT tags.
Search engines are only capable of analysing text to determine website rankings. Even if the images on your site have text in them, the search engine spiders are not be able to ‘read’ it. To get around this, make really good use of the alternative text tag, known as ‘ALT tag’, which allows you to include a searchable text description for your website’s images. This is a really effective way of improving your search engine results.
5. Pay-per-click advertising has no effect on SEO.
Pay-per-click advertising (or PPC) can be an important part of online marketing and is often seen as complimentary to SEO but PPC has no direct effect on SEO results. Think about it this way: PPC is a type of paid advertisement, while SEO aims to influence organic search results.
6. Content is king. Especially if it is added to, fairly often.
Search engines are smarter now and the right keywords, which used to be enough to move your website to the top of the search results, aren’t enough by themselves. High-quality web content is needed for the search engines to think you are worth sending visitors to. It is also necessary for attracting links from other websites.
7. Internal linking within your site will help boost your search engine standing.
Building in internal links within your website as you build and grow your website can help boost traffic to all of your site’s pages, which in turn helps improve search engine rankings. You can make internal linking even more effective by ensuring that the text of your links include relevant keywords.
8. Links from other sites to your site are key.
Links from other people’s websites play a really important part in the algorithms used to determine search engine rankings. Spend time to building relationships with the owners of other sites who may be willing to link to your business’ site can be really effective.
9. Social media plays a critical part in an SEO campaign.
Having a strong social media presence and marketing your website’s content on these platforms will help your website come up higher in search engine rankings. Look at alternatives to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to see if your industry/subject has more relevant social media channels.
10. While hiring an SEO expert can help you achieve the best results, there is a lot you can do every time you update your site.
Getting good results from an SEO campaign takes time and effort. If you follow the steps above, you’ll see your site climb up the results pages. However, you have a business to run and your time might be best spent doing that and not keyword research.
Search engine results are, for the most part, crucial to any business finding leads or customers online. Would you like to know more about it? Get in touch or join this autumn’s SEO workshops in Danderyd (north Stockholm).
Monday morning marketing idea
Search engines absolutely love good quality content but they react even more so to the latest content – recent articles, page content, images and films. Assuming you have your website optimised for search engines (check that you have keywords on each page and that your images have alternative text so computers can read what is in them), each new piece of content will boost your visibility to searchers.
The same applies to your website (and everything else that faces outwards to your potential customers). Thankfully, it is possible to find out all about your website visitors, from where they came from to whether they read down to the bottom of your pages. Or not.
Google’s website tracking system, Analytics, is immensely clever, entirely free and using it to understand all about your website users is crucial to making the right business decisions.
Why? Because you can see immediately what works and what doesn’t for turning website visitors into clients/customers and then do more of what works and drop what doesn’t. It is that simple. Check out our guide to find out more:
Don’t have analytics set up yet?
Here is a great (short!) video from Google about getting analytics set up on your website:
Do you use Analytics? What do you think of it? What do you get stuck with? Tell us below.