Analytics: 5 Metrics You Must Know

Google Analytics ImageAs bloggers, we are forced to wear many hats. We must write, research, advertise, manage, and more in our daily lives as we work to create and manage successful blogs.

In all of the chaos, it’s not uncommon for bloggers to dismiss the analytics for their website and focus on other more pressing tasks. And who can blame these bloggers?

Although Google Analytics is free and super powerful, it sure can be a pain to use. Thankfully, as bloggers, we can usually get by with keeping up with a handful of analytics.

 The Super 5 Metrics

In my opinion, there are at least 5 things that you should be tracking so that you can guide your blog towards success. Please keep in mind that your needs will vary, and that you likely should set up goals and event tracking as your blog matures.

Analytics Banner

Unique Visitors

This is the number of unique people that visit your website during a period of time. This is a very important metric because it determines your reach, which you can use to negotiate advertising rates and special affiliate promotions (these can be negotiated).

Although the amount of unique visitors will vary from site to site depending on several factors, definitely keep an eye on the how this metric changes over time. If you see an increase over time, then you know your marketing efforts are working. Spikes can be an indicator that you did something really well/bad.

Page Visits

This is the total number of pages that were viewed during a period of time. This is an important metric, because when it is compared to unique visitors it can be an indicator of whether or not your content is engaging.

For example, if your page visits metric is very close to your unique visitors, this means that people are looking at one page of your website and then leaving.

If your page visits metric is higher than the number of unique visitors, that means viewers are looking at more than one page at a time. This is good!

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of people that view one page on your website and then leave. This is a very important metric because it helps us to understand whether or not readers are engaging with our content.

KissMetrics created an attractive infographic that explains bounce rate, gives industry averages, and also provides some tips on improving your bounce rate.

Inbound Links

This is an important metric because it lets you know that other people have found your content important enough to link to it and because the more high-quality inbound links you have, the higher you should rank in search engines.

You can find your inbound links in Google analytics by going to Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals.

Search Engine Traffic

This is the amount of traffic that is referred to your website through search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This metric is important because it helps you to see if your search engine optimization/marketing is effective or not.

Even more important is that you can see what people are searching in order to get to your website. Knowing this, you can find the top performing keywords and drill further down into them.

What Do You Think?

This post was never meant to be an all-inclusive analytics how-to post. But after reading this, you should have a basic understand of analytics and how you can use these 5 metrics to guide your blog.

What other metrics do you follow closely? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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Written by Eric Binnion

Eric Binnion is a computer science student at Midwestern State University. When Eric is not online, he is usually volunteering in his community or enjoying time with his family. You can find Eric on Twitter.

Comments

  • Dude, this was right on time. I’ve been meaning to pay more attention to my analytics but every time I log into Google Analytics, my A.D.D. kicks in and I instantly roll out (I’m straight killing their bounce rate!! lol ).

    IMHO, It’s just too cumbersome for the average blogger.

    I’ve been using WordPress Stats that comes with Jetpack, and that has served me pretty well thus far, especially since my traffic is low right now, and it’s just sophisticated enough to give me what I want to know.

    If/when it picks up though I will definitely have to pay more attention to Google Analytics.

    Good stuff man

    • Eric Binnion says:

      Lol. Yea, Google analytics is a bit too much at times. And for the average blogger it can be too much. It sure was for me up until recently. I was an avid user of Jetpack until a few months ago.

      That being said, all of the basic analytics are shown on the overview page in Google analytics.

      The cool thing about starting with Google analytics is that there will be an easier transition if/when you decide to do some more advanced analytics tracking such as event and goal tracking.

      Event tracking is nice if you want to track any time a button is clicked, even on flash videos. Goal tracking is awesome if you get into squeeze pages and sales funnels and you want to pinpoint where people are falling out of your sales process.

      I plan on covering some of this more in depth in the near future ;)

  • Sreejesh says:

    Google analytics also offers a social sharing metrics. Which ia also important to knoq how people are sharing the content.

    By the way. I feel ur site is now lighter on mobile. Did you make any change recently?

    • Eric Binnion says:

      I haven’t changed anything considerably in the past few months on the frontend. But, our backend guy might have worked some magic that I don’t know about ;)