Some people hold the mistaken belief that I’m a techie because I understand and know how to use social media. It’s not true.
I’m just persistent.
Persistence served me well back in the days when I was a reporter. I remember one story when I was trying to figure out which developer was sending propaganda out about a particular Adevelopment. Know how I figured that out? Every postage machine has a code, and by calling the receptionist and asking for the code, I cracked the story.
So the fact that I’m writing about Google Analytics today doesn’t mean that I’m a geek. Again, I’m just tenacious in trying to figure out how to ferret out some of the statistics that help me determine how my website is performing, who’s visiting my website, and what their interests are.
So let’s get started, shall we?
First, you’ll need a Google Analytics (GA) account. If you have a Gmail or YouTube account, you can use that login to set up your Google Analytics. Just go to Google Analytics and click the sign into Google Analytics button to get started. Simpler yet, ask your webmaster to set it up for you because you’ll need her to set up the tracking code on your website so that GA can pull the information from your site.
Who’s Visiting Your Website?
Once you’ve established a Google Analytics account, you’ll want to know who’s visiting your website. This will give you insights into whom your visitors (readers) are. To start finding that information, open Google Analytics and go to Audience > Demographics > Overview.
In my case, most visitors are between the ages of 45 and 64 and are male.
You can further break down the age by following Audience > Demographics > Overview > Age. Look at the specific information in these graphs. (By the way, the data you glean from Google Analytics will also help you when you set up your Facebook advertising.)
You can also break down the data by gender. When I look at the data by the week, I see that I have more female visitors:
What Interests Do You Website Visitors Have?
Then you can break down the data by interests (Audience > Interests > Overview) your visitors have:
[clickToTweet tweet=”What Interests Do You Website Visitors Have? via @CaballoFrances” quote=”What Interests Do You Website Visitors Have? “]
Affinity categories describe your visitors’ interests (Audience > Interests > Affinity Categories):
Books and literature are included under Other Categories (Audience > Interests > Other Categories):
Where Do Your Website Visitors Live?
You can also determine where your visitors live by going to Audience > Geo > Location. In my case, my website visitors are from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, Germany, Indie, the Philippines, Norway, Belize, and Switzerland.
If you wanted to, you could further break down that information by specific cities.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Where do your website visitors live? via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Where do your website visitors live? “]
Navigation Behavior of Your Website Visitors
If you want to know whether your visitors return often or if you attract a lot of new visitors, go to Audience > Behavior > New vs. Returning.
You can also determine how engaged visitors are by how long they remain on the page. Go to Audience > Behavior > Engagement.
Under Behavior > Behavior Flow you’ll see the navigation from one page of your website to another.
If you want to see which posts are most popular on your website, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages:
You can find your most popular landing pages by navigating to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages:
So you see, Google Analytics needn’t be daunting at all. I suggest that you just play with this tool. Click different categories, see what data surfaces, and soon you’ll be calling yourself a GA techie.
The author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers, The Author’s Guide to Goodreads, and Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.
Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web
Get a free copy of Avoid Social Media Time Suck from Smashwords!