How do you define your blogging success?
It’s always nice to get feedback from readers, hear thank-yous and congrats, and get comments on your popular posts.
That’s because without knowing and understanding your current traffic, you can’t set goals for increasing and improving it.
In order to attract advertisers & create an effective plan to grow your blog, you’ll need to know things like:
- How many visitors do you get every day? Every month?
- How many of those visitors are new? How many are repeat visitors?
- What’s the most visited page on your site (and how can you take advantage of that)?
- Which of your email newsletter signup forms works best?
- Are your call-to-action buttons all working, or are any of them in the wrong spot?
Knowing the answers to all these questions, and more, will give you true control over your blog, and point you in the right direction to make it even more successful.
And the only way to get your hands on that valuable data is by using an analytics tool.
“But analytics are so boring…”
Believe me, if you’re one of those people who hates looking at charts and numbers and data, I feel your pain.
I’m not a big fan of poring over analytics, personally. I’d rather be managing my blog and connecting with my audience, not looking at obscure pie charts and percentages that I have no idea what to do with.
If you are one of those bloggers who loves analytics, it’s easy to get caught up in looking at numbers for the sheer joy of numbers (so I hear), wasting time admiring your growing traffic instead of figuring out what the numbers are telling you, and what you should do about it.
These analytics tools are easy and actionable.
This list focuses on tools that:
- Are easy for any blogger to implement, and
- Are actionable
Meaning, these aren’t just numbers for the sake of numbers – these tools will give you the means to grow your blog to a professional level.
Easy, actionable analytics tools to help grow your blog
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the golden standard of analytics tools, and for good reason.
How to use it:
It’s super easy to implement Google Analytics into your blog. Just sign up, and you’ll be provided with a tracking code, which must be placed in your site’s header.
Depending on the WordPress theme you’re using, you may be able to copy and paste it into your theme settings, if there’s a section for adding header code.
If not, you can easily implement the code using the Yoast SEO plugin (read more about SEO & the Yoast plugin in our post on SEO Tips For Bloggers).
Google Analytics is free, and it’s by Google. It’s been around for quite a while, so it’s safe to assume it’ll be around for quite some time to come. They’re always tweaking it and updating its features and interface, so it continues to improve over time.
And Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful and flexible tool that gives you a ton of data to work with.
Google Analytics’ interface can be overwhelming and confusing to new users. Luckily, because it’s so popular, it’s easy to find help online if you get stuck, and Google has a very detailed knowledgebase. You might also consider taking a Google Analytics course with video tutorials to get the most out of it.
To get actionable data from all the info Google Analytics provides, try using a custom report with a specific goal in mind, such as plugging leaks in your conversions, or identifying the pages that load the slowest.
Referral spam has been an issue for a lot of people, but there are steps you can take to put a stop to this. Check out David Hartshorne’s post on dealing with referral spam for some helpful tips.
Momently is a new analytics platform that offers extremely actionable data. You can track all of the things you’d expect and a lot more.
How to use it:
Implementation is easy. You can choose to install their free WordPress plugin or add a snippet of code to your site.
Momently makes data a lot easier to understand. The data you can get out of this platform is actionable and they dig a lot deeper into content analytics than other platforms.
For example, you can analyze popular categories and authors on your blog. Or you can view scroll depth to understand how much of your content is being read.
And unlike some other tools on the market, they don’t use sampled data for scroll depth data. They give you the full picture. They’re also the only platform I’ve found that allows you to separate pages and posts.
This platform has a lot to offer, and it’s still early in it’s development so there’s likely a lot more to come.
The free version only supports 3,000 page views each month & saves data for 3 months. But if you’re just getting started, that will be perfect.
Price: Free limited plan for 1 site and upto 3,000 visitors each month. Premium plans start at $9.99/month.
Clicky is so user-friendly – the learning curve is minimal and it provides a lot of data.
How to use it:
There are a couple of third-party WordPress plugins available for Clicky (including one by Yoast), making it easy to implement and view some stats right from your WordPress dashboard. Detailed stats and advanced features are available by logging in to the Clicky website.
While other analytics tools update once per day, Clicky gives you real-time stats and even lets you watch visitors’ actions live (spooky, but fun).
Clicky’s dashboard is user-friendly and non-intimidating for those who get overwhelmed by too many numbers (I’m with you!).
A premium account will also give you access to cool features like heatmaps, goal-setting, funnel/path analysis, campaign tracking, and conversions.
The free version only allows you to track analytics on one site, and only up to 3,000 visitors. (But the great features and friendly interface are worth paying for, IMHO).
Other than that, the design is a little dated but that’s not a significant issue.
Price: Free limited plan for 1 site up to 3,000 daily views, with premium plans starting at $9.99/month.
4. Piwik (Now Matomo)
Like OWA, Piwik is an open-source analytics software that you can download and install on your own server. But unlike OWA, they also offered a hosted cloud version called Piwik Pro.
How to use it:
You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of the cloud service to get started.
Like Clicky, Piwik’s data is updated in real time, and the dashboard is a bit more user-friendly than Google Analytics.
Also, Piwik has some unique features including ecommerce analytics, advanced security/privacy measures, visitor profiles, and even a mobile app for iOS and Android. You’re the owner of your data, and can request a full download at any time. Piwik Pro also integrates with WooCommerce.
And with Piwik Pro, you also get full technical support, and daily backups of your data.
Piwik Pro is a little pricey for the casual blogger, but if you really want to dig into your analytics with a reliable and conscientious service that respects you and your users’ privacy, it’s a great choice.
Using the free Piwik software on your own server will require a bit more technical savvy.
Price: Free to download the software; the hosted version starts at $29 per month.
Are you tracking your blog analytics?
Analytics are critical for any marketer or blogger.
They ensure that you have data that shows how people are interacting with your website. And they can inform decisions that can lead to growth.
So pick one of the tools above and start tracking some data 🙂
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