Thursday, March 25, 2010

ON BLOGGING ~ Analyze This...

Several of you have asked me to do a post explaining what to do with Google Analytics. How to set it up, what it does, how to use the information, etc. Well, ask and you shall receive dear readers. Google Analytics is a program that accumulates statistics about your blog and presents it to you in very flexible ways. You can be extremely detailed with the reports or you can just pop in and scan a quick overview chart. You can sort the information by whatever categories interest you the most.

Want to know what part of the world your visitors come from? Look at the map. Want to know which posts have had the most views over a specific period of time? No problem. Need to know how this week's traffic has compared to a week in the past? Easy. Want to find out the most common key words bringing people to your blog? How about how long people generally stick around while visiting? What portion of your audience is new and which are loyal readers returning time and again? Which sites refer the most people to your blog? Or - the statistic that bloggers are the most curious about - how many people really actually stop by and are those numbers going up, down or staying the same?

Before you can do any of this, you need to get Analytics talking with your blog. Here are the steps you need to take so that Analytics can start gathering information for you to view.

  • Sign in to Google. (you do need a free Google account to use Analytics)

  • Select Settings, Google Account Settings on the top right.

  • Select Analytics under the Try Something New section, if it isn't already under My Products.

  • Select Add Website Profile.

  • When Choosing Website Profile Type select "Add A Profile For New Domain."

  • Type in or copy your blog's address in the Add A Profile section (leave out the http:// because that is already inserted).

  • Adjust your Country and Time Zone if necessary.

  • Click the Finish button.

  • Follow the Instructions For Adding Tracking by putting your cursor anywhere in the box with all that HTML code in it, hitting the Control and A keys at the same time to Select All and then hitting the Control and C keys at the same time to Copy.

  • Go to your Blog's Editing page and open the HTML page.

  • Put your cursor immediately before the closing Body tag </body> which is ALLLLL the way at the bottom.

  • Hit the Control and P keys at the same time to Paste the code you copied into your blog.

  • Hit Save.

  • Go back to Google and hit Save & Finish.

  • That's it. Now leave Analytics alone for 24 hours minimum to allow enough time for the feed from the code you just inserted into your blog HTML to talk to Analytics. Kind of like when you set up electronic deposits to or payments from your bank account - it takes a few days for the process to get all confirmed and working.
    After a few days, go back in to Analytics and you should see a green check mark under the Status column, signaling that everything is working. If you see anything other than the check mark, it means you need to troubleshoot why it didn't work by reviewing the steps.
    In a few Fridays I'll do a post showing some of the ways to use the information Analytics has gathered for you. Take a peek at your Analytics in the meantime and poke around. Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to better understand or how to do and I'll do my best!


    (Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

    This was very informative; thank you. I tried it once before, but I was unsuccessful, hopefully with your great easy instructions --it'll work; thanks again.

    Sandy Nawrot said...

    I love Google Analytics. I installed it right after I started my blog, with the help from my lovely blogging sister. I used to look at it daily, but I don't anymore.

    Kathleen said...

    Thanks for all of the blogging tips you offer from time to time. I "think" I was able to do this but I will wait 24 hours and know for sure!

    Margot said...

    I already have Google Analytics. I don't look at it very often. I'm sure there is some good stuff there that I'm missing - things that could help my blog. I need to play with it more.