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Measuring the success of your blog using Google Analytics

Have you set goals for your blog and are you measuring the progress you make each week or month? If you not you might want to think about why you’re blogging.

At the end of each month I review my blog traffic for the previous month in a bid to understand how visitors consume content. I have been sharing lessons via my blog along the way.

This ongoing evaluation has helped me to understand what content has a shelf life via search, the issues and topic that drives traffic from social networks and what has limited interest to the audience.

This insight may appear trivial from a blogging point of view but the same lessons applied to a large website or media property are powerful. It enables content to be planned to drive a specific audience response.

At the end of April after I recognised that certain topics such as public relations theory and the future of the profession remain popular month after month I added a Trending content widget on the right hand toolbar. It’s a simple device that has boosted traffic to these posts two and three-fold.

Blogging motivation

There are lots of different motivations for blogging. Business development, career development, education and networking are among the reasons that I blog.

Google Analytics enables me to set goals for my blog and track progress. It keeps me honest.

If you haven’t set up analytics on your blog do it right now.

It’s very easy to chase raw traffic but there is little value in racking up page views unless visitors hang around and read your content.

Likewise LinkedIn shares, retweets, likes and +1s may flatter your ego and demonstrating that your content is being shared but how far do they go to achieving you goals?

A better indicator of success for me is if readers read and engage with a blog post, check out my biography and contact me.

These are the goals that I’ve set up in Google Analytics. I track visitors that visit two web blog posts or more, view a post for more than three minutes and visit either my biography or speaking page.

In June 517 unique visitors met these goals for my blog, a little less than a fifth of the actual number of visitors. That’s valuable insight.

If you haven’t already set up some goals for your blog thing about doing so and then tracking them monthly.

Popular content for June

Here are the top 10 posts on my site in June.

1. Join the movement to improve the reputation of the PR profession – in my view professional development is one of the best opportunities that the PR profession has to improve its reputation.
2. Essay: The future of public relations – a popular post from earlier in the year exploring the future of the profession
3. Grunig revisited: digital communication and the Four Models of Public Relations – another old popular post exploring Grunig’s models.
4. How-to secure your social networks with two-step authentication – a guide to hardening your online security
5. Guest post: Why I’ve joined the CIPR – a guest post from Jenny Andersson about why she’s joined the CIPR
6. Share This Too hits the road – Content from the upcoming book Share This Too out in August is being previewed at events throughout the Summer
7. Writing for the small screen – Writing for a mobile screen is a skill in much demand as attention shifts from print and desktop to mobile.
8. Mark Hanson award: searching for the brightest young communicator – the search is on for an extraordinary individual to win the coveted Mark Hanson award for 2013.
9. CIPR Chartered Practitioner paper: Grunig and digital communications – does Grunig hold up in an era of digital networks?
10. Haters gonna hate: dealing with negative comments online – what to do when the going gets tough online.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Stephen,

    Great tips, and the page depth/visit length report is a great one to use – can tell you much more than pure pageviews/visits.

    For the Econsultancy blog, I also look at visitors who head to certain pages – to download reports, sign up for events etc. You can learn a lot from the kinds of posts that are more likely to attract this traffic.

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