One of the things you might be asked as a blogger are “What are your numbers?” But do you know what your statistics are?
Statistics packages will give you some information on what people are searching to get to your site, and what they’re doing on your site. This is important, because it can help you decide what to write more about – if people are searching for a specific thing that you know about, then it could be a great way to find new content for your blog.
Most bloggers tend to use Google Analytics to provide the details of visits and views – it’s free, and since so many people use it, they’re the standard that most brands and PR’s will judge your traffic and partly your influence on. (Of course, there are other factors to take into consideration, like reach and how you connect with your readers – a blog with 100 readers who are always talking is much more useful than a blog with 1000 readers who don’t respond to anything) Using the same method of getting those numbers means it is easier to compare and doesn’t give anyone any unfair advantages.
The first figure you’ll see on your Google Analytics dashboard is “visits”. In Google Analytics, the term visit is the number of individual sessions that a visitor has been to your site. If the viewer clicks away from your site, but comes back again within 30 minutes, this still counts as the initial visit, but if they revisit 31 or more minutes later, then this is counted as a new visit.
Next are “unique visitors”. A unique visitor is one specific viewer of the blog – they can visit many times, but they will only be one visitor. They are counted as a unique visitor in the time frame that you specify at the top of the page above the visits chart.
Pageviews! Ah, page views. Forgive us for stating the obvious, but this is a count of how many pages were…er…viewed. If the page is refreshed, that counts as another page view. If the viewer goes to one page, then clicks the back button, each of those counts as another page view.
You can see where the majority of your readers come from by clicking on “Country / Territory” or “City” in the dashboard depending on how much detail you want to see. This will give you the top 10 countries or cities that have visited you – to see more, click full report.
However, when it comes to delving a bit deeper, Google Analytics can be quite daunting to many users. We also use Clicky, which provides information about specific readers – you can see what they looked at on your site, how they got to your site (whether it’s a Facebook link, a tweet or whatever) and what they used to look at your site – if you notice a high number of mobile users, then it may be a good idea for you to consider having a mobile friendly or responsive layout. Clicky and Google Analytics give slightly different data which can be a little frustrating when the numbers are so different sometimes.
These are just the two analytics packages we use – what do you use to find out about your readers?