Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Webbies: Blog Analytics Continued

Part Two
Last week we looked at Google Analytics and Bounce Rate. This week we will touch on the all-important CONTENT. This will not be a post on how to create great content. Instead lets look at our Analytics reports to see which content is getting the most attention and where the reader went on the site. It makes sense to me that the pages read the most cover topics that interest people. So to make my blog better I should post things more along those lines. I also want to see what my reader did AFTER they visited that particular piece of Content. Did they read another blog post? Did they exit my site to another link on my page or did they just Bounce? 

We can see from the Content Overview report that pages on my site have been viewed 3,733 times and 70% of those views were Unique. My Bounce Rate is still hovering at 58% but its only been a week so I will choose not to obsess about that too much. Let's drilldown and look at the the report on Top Content.

I took a screenshot of the top 10 pages listed in this report. It makes perfect sense that the Main Page of my blog (represented by /) will have the most pageviews. This is of course how most folks enter my site. Seventy-three percent of those coming to my site are Unique pageviews and they hang out for a couple minutes. Isn't it interesting that number 9 on the list has the lowest Bounce and Exit Rate? Plus the Avg Time on Page is a minute and a half - not too shabby. I know I mentioned, but did not explain, Exit Rate in the last post so I will clear that up now.
Per Wikipedia > Exit Rate essentially represents the percentage of visitors to a site who actively click away to a different site from a specific page, after possibly having visited any other pages on the site. The visitors just exited on that specific page.
How does that differ from Bounce Rate?
Well, let's think about a tennis ball for a second: you drop it on the ground, it hits and comes back to you. You bounced your tennis ball. Works the same way here: someone hit your site and went directly back out. But Exit Rate> They clicked into your site, browsed around and exited via another link. Perhaps you have linked to a site where you bought your shoes or to another blogger you mention in your post. So your visitor reads your post, clicks a link in your post and exits to another site.
One of the things I really like about the Content Report is the Navigation Summary. With this you can see how visitors use your site. Was this how they entered the site? Did they get here from another page?  Where did they go from the landing page? As mentioned, number 9 in the list has the lowest Bounce and Exit Rates so I want to know where those folks went after reading this post. When we drill down into that page we can click on Navigation Summary to find out.

As we can see by this report, most of the visitors to this page came from previous pages visited, which are listed below on the left. More importantly, they didn't leave. Seventy-seven percent of the readers moved on to read more of my posts, those Next Pages are listed on the right. 
We are not done with this page just yet, but we need to change our view. If we click the arrow next to Navigation Summary, we can change our analysis without going back to the original report.

As shown on the Navigation Summary, this page has been viewed 61 times and 43% of those visits entered my site to this landing page. We will look at the Entrance Paths Analysis to understand what those visitors did next.

Here we can see what our visitors who entered the site to this page did next. Six of them viewed this page, then 4 of them exited, 2 went on to other pages on the site. As you click on the "Then viewed these pages:" links the table on the right will change to show you where those visitors went. Navigation Summary can be helpful if you are attempting to drive your traffic to a conversion page to sign up for a newsletter or subscription as well. Since my particular post is geared towards those that "blog", we will skip that part. Please let me know in the Comments below if this is something you want information about and I can circle back around to it in a future post.
I am rather nosey and want to know as much as I can about my readers. Where do they come from, how did they get here? Most of the traffic hits my Main blog page so I'm going to switch gears and look at the Entrance Sources report for that page.
From this report I can see how visitors are coming to my site. Mostly, they come direct or via my feed. Look at lines 4 and 5! I am getting alot of traffic from the Style Underdog who has me listed on her Blogroll as part of StyleNation - that warms my heart! Thanks Bev! There is also a fair amount of traffic coming from Kendi Everyday, which I am sure is due to taking part in the 30for30 Winter Challenge - yay for blog participation!! Line 6 shows me that Twitter is working for me too. I have followers who are interested in my posts, which I can tell by looking at this report because those visitors spend almost 2 minutes average time on page and their Bounce and Exit Rates are in the acceptable range.  
Did I mention I was nosey? Let's dig a teensey bit deeper. See that dropdown arrow next to the word "None"? We can find out more about our visitors.

Look at all these choices! I can find out all kinds of information about my readers! I can see whether they are New or Returning Visitors by Selecting Visitor Type, or which is their Landing Page. I can see which continent, country, city, on the next line I can sort by Browser, OS or see even their screen resolution.
If I go back to Content Detail I can expand this information out even further:

There is a ton of information out here on Content, but viewing the Region actually tells me about my audience. I also learn about my audience by viewing the Source of my traffic. What sites are they clicking over from? This can tell me what else my audience is viewing and give me some insight into other blogs they are interested in reading.
Why does all of this matter to me? Or to you when digging through your own Content Reports? I believe these reports will help me know what posts are interesting to my visitors. I can look at high-traffic posts versus the low traffic posts to figure out what I did right and what no one cared to read. Sometimes there may be obvious reasons why no one bothered to comment and visit. Other times it may make no sense at all.
Knowing your audience and their interests is very helpful when deciding your next post topic. Keeping the information gleaned from these reports in mind can help you choose worthy topics to  post and remind you of things previously posted that did not earn you much readership. Early on I put up a couple posts about teen fashion, specifically my daughter and her friends, which did not resonate with my readers. That I have learned is a topic to let go by the wayside and focus instead upon my own demographic.
If Content is King, we can make sure our "King" has a voice and message to which others will pay attention.

If you have hung with me and read this far, congratulations! I know this was a long and wordy post, hopefully not too boring but helpful and interesting.
Please let me know in the Comments if I should continue with the Web Analytics series, ask me any questions whose answers I haven't covered, suggest anything you would like to know more about > or tell me to shut up and get back to Fashion!