You have written a blog post where you poured your heart and soul into it. You optimized it using SEO, and now you’re crossing your fingers, hoping it’ll grab the attention it deserves. But still, you’re wondering, “Is anyone actually reading this?”
How do we measure the success of our blog posts?
You want to avoid playing the guessing game, churning out post after post, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best. I get it. You want certainty. You want to know if your hard work is paying off. Because if not, you need to take action.
First of all, yes, it takes time before your blog post will get traction. But at some point, there must be progress in your blog posts gaining visibility, right? There must be momentum, and visits to your post are picking up. But how do we know this is indeed the case?
Let’s dive into the world of measuring blog post success and discover the tools to help us get those answers!
- An Author’s Guide to Blog Post Metrics
- Understanding Your Blogging Goals
- The Power of Search Engine Optimization
- Choosing Your Tracking Tool regarding Analytics
- Measuring and Understanding Your Blog Success Metrics
- Recording Your Blog Success Metrics
An Author’s Guide to Blog Post Metrics
Measuring success is part of a blogging strategy. Your time is valuable, and you want to make sure you get a good return on our time investment.
In this blog post, you can learn about the metrics for measuring your website’s and blog posts’ success. Plus, we’re going to dive deep into Google Analytics 4.
Understanding Your Blogging Goals
Alright, let’s dive into something super important first – setting clear goals for your blog posts. Remember, your blog is a marketing tool. A content strategy, together with setting goals, is important.
Think of it as plotting a story. Imagine you’re about to write an amazing novel. Would you start without knowing the plot and where it’s headed? Of course not! The same principle applies to your blog.
So, what do you want to achieve with each post? It could be attracting more readers, selling more books, or simply sharing your passion for writing. Write down your goals. Are you ready to take your readers on an adventure, teach them something new, or maybe make them laugh? Knowing your mission will guide your blog journey.
Another important aspect of setting blogging goals is identifying what success looks like for you. Because success looks different for everyone. For some, it’s all about the number of readers and comments. For others, it’s boosting book sales or growing your email list. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
Success is like your favorite book cover – unique to your story. So, figure out what success means to you. Is it seeing your readers engage with your posts? Is it knowing your blog has helped you sell more books? You’re on the right track once you’ve got that in mind!
Remember, it’s your blog, your goals. So, take some time to think things through and make those goals crystal clear!
The Power of Search Engine Optimization
Okay, it’s time to talk about the magic of SEO – Search Engine Optimization. It’s like a compass for your blog, pointing readers in your direction.
Imagine this: You’re in a library (your blog), and there are millions of books (blog posts) around. How will readers find your masterpiece? SEO is your librarian, organizing your book on the right shelf (search engine results page or SERP) so readers can discover it.
In an earlier blog post, I explained SEO in great detail and everything involved in optimizing your blog posts to obtain the best visibility possible using SEO. I suggest reading that blog post because proper SEO can skyrocket your blog traffic.
Choosing Your Tracking Tool regarding Analytics
Alright, now we’re diving into a topic that might sound a bit technical but is incredibly useful: Analytics. Think of it as peeking from behind the curtain to understand who’s visiting your blog and what they’re up to.
First of all, Google Analytics 4. Using GA4, you can keep tabs on every visitor to your blog. It tells you things like where they’re from, which pages they like, and how long they stay.
But Google Analytics 4 isn’t the only player in town. There are other tracking tools too, like Matomo, Woopra, GoSquared, and more. These tools give you insights into your readers’ behaviors as well. Personally, I’m not familiar with these tools as I use GA4 on my site, but if you want to read more about the alternatives to Google Analytics, you can read this article from Search Engine Journal.
Setting Up Google Analytics 4
Now, how do you get this magic working for your blog? It’s not that difficult to be honest, I managed to do this, and so can you. In this article from Exposure Ninja , you’ll be guided through the process step by step. You don’t need to be a tech whiz to do it. Just follow the steps, and voila! Google Analytics 4 is up and running.
This part is where the real fun begins. Analytics will reveal secrets about your readers that will help you make your blog even more appealing.
Honestly, by using Google Analytics, you can measure the success of your website and your blog posts. So, if this setup goes above your head, please let somebody else set it up for you. Maybe a wiz kid who loves to get a bit technical.
Measuring and Understanding Your Blog Success Metrics
When you have installed GA4 (or have it installed for you), you need to learn to understand what the different metrics mean and how they are important to track success.
But first of all, and this is important for a clear view of your numbers, you need to exclude your own traffic to your website. This is a bit technical, but if you follow this YouTube video from Benjamin, you’ll soon be all set up!
Now, let’s dive into Google Analytics 4, shall we?
When opening your Google Analytics, the Home screen is the first screen you’ll see. In my case, my Home page shows me how many users have visited my site, the event count, new users, and views.
But it is also possible to adjust these first 4 metrics. Just hover next to users, and a little arrow is popping up. Click that arrow, and you can switch from the standard metric to a different one from a menu.
Let’s look at a couple of them.
- Users: who is using (visiting) your website. You can look at gender, age, country, and city, for example, to better understand who your reader is.
- Event count: the total of events. An event is what is tracked from your website. Think about page views, user engagement, and first visits.
- New users: people who have visited your website for the first time
- Views: the number of web pages your users saw during their visits
Just click the arrow beside the metric and see what else interests you. For example, if you have a shop, you could track items viewed, purchases, and items added to cart.
Let’s click and go to Reports. The first thing you’ll see is the Reports Snapshot.
This is just an overview of all the reports and what Google thinks you want to see. You could go from here and click on the different reports, but I like to use the menu on the left side to navigate GA4. Also, be aware that the default for these reports is the last 28 days, but with the arrow next to it, you can always change that to the date range you want to view.
Realtime gives you an overview of what is happening at this very moment, how many people are on your site right now, and the last 30 minutes. It’s fun, but we want to know what is doing good over time.
Under Life Cycle, you’ll find Acquisition. Again, you’ll first see an overview. Next, you can go to User Acquisition. This will provide you with where new users are coming from. It can be interesting to know if new users enter your website by typing in your URL (Direct), find you through Organic Search (like Googling), or come across your website through social media (Organic Social).
But if you want to track all of your users, you want to look at Traffic Acquisition. Now it’s getting interesting!
Here, you can see where your total traffic is coming from. Most of my traffic is coming through social media (like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook), followed by organic search (like Google, Bing, and Yahoo) and direct traffic (people knowing my URL and typing it straight into their search bars).
Scrolling further down the screen, you can see the exact numbers: how many users, sessions, and the average engagement time per session. But the most interesting for us bloggers is how many page views we’ve had from the different traffic channels.
To see this, you’ll need to go further to the right using the scrollbar until you see Event Count. The default is All events, but click the little arrow and choose page view.
Now you have a clear overview of how many page views you had for each traffic channel.
However, you want to know which pages your people visited, right? We can filter that as well.
Next to Sessions default channel group, click the plus button. Go to Page/screen and choose Page path and screen class. Now you can see exactly which page on your website people have visited. This is perfect for knowing which blog posts are doing good and where people found your page.
Google Search Console
It would also be interesting to do some keyword tracking and to know how our keywords are doing. You’ve used different keywords through the SEO in your blog posts, and tracking how those are performing is interesting to know as well.
For this, you need to set up Google Search Console. Again, Benjamin from Loves Data has a great video tutorial on how to do that. Once you have your GSC set up, you can connect it to Google Analytics 4. Follow this easy tutorial to set things up.
Once you have done that, Google Search Console will pop up in your menu in GA4.
You can click on Queries from there to discover what people are searching for. You can see the amount of impressions there were on Google and how many clicks to your website pages you’ve had. Also, the average position of where your post was ranked is visible in this section.
Google organic search traffic, the next tab in the section Search Console, gives information on the landing page where your readers enter your website. As I explained before, this is the page your readers enter your website. And even though it is not that interesting regarding your page views, it is good to know where people enter your website and what pages are doing well as an entry point.
When you want to learn more about your users, this next part of Google Analytics 4 is where you want to go.
As usual, there is an overview where you can click through to the different reports, like Countries, Cities, Gender, and Interests. Also, Age Range, and Language can be interesting to know whether the readers you have in mind writing your stories are the ones finding your website and blog posts.
In Demographic details, you can filter all these in greater detail.
The tab Audiences shows you specific groups of users who visit your website and that you group based on almost any behavior that matters to you. They’re used to better understand a specific group of users or market to them.
The Audiences tab is where you can see different people who come to your website and are grouped. You can group them based on whatever they do on your site that you find important. These groups help you get to know certain types of users better.
I’m not going into building your own custom audience here, but if you would like to play around with this, you can read all about how to do this in this blog post by MeasureSchool.
The last tab, Tech, gives us information about which platforms, operating systems, and devices people use when browsing our website. In my opinion, it’s not really useful for tracking, but it’s fun to look at once in a while.
Recording Your Blog Success Metrics
Now that we’ve looked through the different reports in Google Analytics 4, we need to keep track of all of this info in a place that is easy to use and accessible. Something like Google Sheets.
I have set up this Google Sheet for myself, and every month, I check on where I am. This way, I can easily spot if I’m growing and how I’m growing, which pages people visit, and who is visiting my website and blog posts. So far, I like this way until maybe something better comes along.
I hope this Author’s Guide to this part of your blog strategy, in the end, will help you reach your blogging goals. Understanding and recording the blog success metrics will help you see what’s working and what needs a little love over time. It’s like feedback from your blog post readers without them saying a word.
So, keep an eye on these metrics to make informed adjustments and ultimately improve your blog post visibility over time, guiding you on your journey to becoming a blogging superstar!