Ever stumble into blog analytics tools and become glossy-eyed as you look at all of the different terms and numbers? We’ve picked out some of the most important blog analytics terms for you to know and understand. Once you’ve mastered these, you can look into all of the other terms offered by your blog analytics tool.
Most of these terms are in Google Analytics, which is a free tool every blogger should integrate with their blog. Most brands and influencer networks want to know the data directly from this tool, so it’s important to have it integrated if you want to make money blogging.
1. Page Views
Page views tell you how many times your blog posts receive views. Each of these page views can be from the same person, or many different people—the numbers lump together. Some ad networks require a certain amount of page views in order to join, so naturally, page views is a pretty important term to understand. In fact, many bloggers use page views as a standard measurement for their success (which is a little misguided—it’s not the only measurement to consider in your blog’s business plan).
Where to Find Page Views
To view your blog’s page views, find this in Google Analytics by clicking on audience and then overview panel. It will default to showing you the number of users to your blog, so select page views from the drop-down.
2. Bounce Rate
Your blog’s bounce rate is a number that shows the percentage of people who come to your blog and only view one page before leaving. If you have a high bounce rate—above 65%—you may need to work on clustering your content as discussed in this article about blog planning.
Clustering your content is a strategy where you link internally to other blog posts. For example, if you have an article on how to grow tomatoes, it makes sense to link to an article about preserving a tomato harvest. The reader is likely to click a relevant link to another blog post, which decreases the bounce rate.
Where to Find Bounce Rate
From your Google Analytics dashboard, navigate to audience and then overview. You may need to adjust the dates to view the timeframe you desire.
Sessions are the number of times a visitor comes to your blog, whether they are a brand-new visitor or someone that’s come to your site 100 times. This is a better indicator of a blog’s success compared to page views. If a visitor to your site comes back 10 times, and you have 100 new visitors, that’s much better than one visitor viewing 200 of your articles.
This is because page views are easy to manipulate using clickbait-like articles, and don’t indicate a blog’s viewability, time on-site, or engagement as described by Mediavine in this article about why their ad network switched from page view to session requirements.
Where to Find Sessions
Within your Google Analytics dashboard, click on audience, overview, and then select sessions from the drop-down menu. Remember to select your date range using the calendar at the top, not just the hourly/day/week/month menu.
Some ad networks require bloggers to have a variety of traffic sources (acquisitions) before accepting a blog to its program. Let’s say you get 99% of your traffic from Twitter and your account happens to get shut down. Overnight, your blog’s traffic drops significantly.
Ad networks don’t want you to put all your traffic eggs in one basket, and you shouldn’t either. Diversifying your blog’s traffic sources act as a buffer in the event one of those sources dries up.
Where to Find Acquisitions
From your Google Analytics dashboard, click on acquisition, and then overview. Here, you’ll see a summary of the traffic sources you get on your blog. You can view detailed information by clicking on each source.
5. Number of Shares
Engagement with your blog posts is important, and nothing says “job well done,” like a reader sharing your post with their own friends and family. Not only does this increase your blog’s engagement, but it also helps expand your blog’s reach to an entirely new audience.
Where to See Number of Shares
To see the number of shares your blog posts receive, use a tool like BuzzSumo. It’s free to see the number of shares specific blog posts or domains get. You can also use a plugin like Social Warfare that tallies the number of shares your posts receive at the top of each one next to a share button.
6. Average Session Duration
To better gauge how well a reader consumes your content, pay attention to session duration. This tells you the average amount of time a reader spends on your site. If you properly cluster your content by adding relevant internal links throughout your posts, you increase the amount of time a reader spends on your site if they click on those links. You can also increase time spent on your blog by making each post comprehensive—gone are the days of 300-word blog posts.
Where to Find Average Session Duration
From your Google Analytics dashboard, click on audience and then overview. The higher your average session duration, the better.
The number of readers visiting your blog during a set time frame are your users. This metric counts both new readers and returning ones because Google Analytics looks specifically at a set time frame. In the example below, you can see that 715 of the 732 users for this time frame are new. Users matter because it gives you an idea of how many people visit your site during a set timeframe.
Where to Find Users
To see the users and new users to your blog, navigate to the Google Analytics dashboard. From there, click on audience and then overview.
Ever visit a blog from your iPhone, only to receive pop-up after pop-up that completely covers the entire page? It’s so bad that you can’t even read the blog post, so you close out of the blog completely. It creates a terrible user experience, and not one that a reader will easily forget. You must optimize your blog for a variety of devices—tablets, mobile, and desktops. This might mean turning off pop-ups if your blog receives a lot of mobile traffic.
Where to Find Devices
View which devices your readers use by clicking on audience, then mobile, and overview from your Google Analytics dashboard.
9. Site Speed
In the age of Google Fi and Tesla, a slow site is unacceptable. If you have a slow blog, it can make for a really negative user experience. Not only that, but search engines prefer fast blogs and will rank a fast blog higher than a slow one in search engine results pages (see this article on how to rank higher on Google for other tips).
Where to See Site Speed
Instead of using Google Analytics, head to Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see how fast your blog is. Not only that, but the tool will also let you know how exactly to speed up your site.
We get it: interpreting Google Analytics can sometimes send a creative’s mind spinning. There are a ton of metrics available to help you measure your blog’s growth (or lack thereof), but focusing on these nine blog analytics will simplify things. Then, when you’re ready, feel free to tackle more advanced analytics tools and reports to make further adjustments to your blogging strategy for optimal growth and profit.