End of the month here, which means Google Analytics time. While I’m at it, I thought I’d share with you a few (this is only a few!) of the stats that I find valuable in terms of telling me what content is working, and what’s not working.
- Average Time on Page: This might be one of favorites. The more time people spend on one particular post of yours is a pretty safe indicator that there’s some reason that people find there are pieces valuable enough to stick around. Conversely, if you’ve got a post that’s been viewed, but it has a low average time on page, this usually means something isn’t working (Is your first paragraph not telling them what they’re about to read? Is the title misleading?).
- Navigation Summary: By checking out where readers for a particular post came from, you may be able to determine whether it was your doing that got them there (Did you do a good job linking to it from elsewhere?), or you can get insight on how people progress through your site (Are posts about a particular topic usually driving people to check out posts on another, related topic?). Use this information to build a series of posts.
- Exit Rate: This tells you what pages on your blog readers are leaving you at. Of course, we never want people to leave, but they will at some point. However, you may find that some posts have a much higher exit rate than others. Why is that? Was the post too long? Did you not direct them to other content effectively enough? Did you have an outbound link that opened in the same page, making it easier for them to forget your content once they left?
- Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is similar to Exit rate, but tells you if there are particular posts that readers entered and exited on… meaning they only read that one page. The higher the bounce rate, the more people came and left having only viewed that post. Why did they only view one page? Did they come from some place that wasn’t really related to your content? Did you not let them know effectively enough that you had more content on the same topic? Did you not introduce your topic well enough and soon enough? Was that particular post too far out of scope of the rest of your blog?
- Keywords: This is a good one. By looking at what keywords people searched for that ultimately brought them to your content, you see a number of things. You can see how well and accurately your content is being associated with the types of things you want it to be associated with. You can see what people are searching for in general, and specifically any trends on what keywords are bringing people to your content. Are people searching for the same type of thing and continually coming to your content? From here, you can play around with variations of those keywords to try and get in front of even more people.
- Breakdown by Author: This one takes one extra step once you’ve looked at your analytics, and is only applicable if you have multiple authors. If you breakdown your most popular posts and assign them to a particular author, you’ll be able to see which author(s) are bringing in the most views. By identifying which authors are attracting more people, you may be able to determine why (Are they creating consistently valuable content? What are they doing that makes it more valuable? Are there any consistent inbound links that are bringing readers there?). Once you’ve determined that, it may be something you can duplicate….
These are only a few analytics available to you to help you get a better feel of how your content is working with you. We’d love to hear from you: what metrics do you think give a good picture on the value your content brings to the table?
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