Welcome back fellow sewing fools! This is the second in a series about the Business of Blogging. If you need to catch up you can read Analytics for Quilt Bloggers. Since you should now have Google Analytics installed on your blog and The search console hooked up we are ready to focus on the Acquisition Overview report in Google Analytics. This report and later the reports we will dive into deeper will give you an idea of where you are finding readers for your blog. So let’s break it all down.
Below is the Acquisition Overview for the last 30 days for my blog. It is a work in progress but thanks to the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop I have really started applying the skills I use on a day to day basis to my quilt blog. Sometimes I forget how much fun I have with analytics 🙂 The acquisition overview report will give you a high level understanding of where your traffic is coming from.
There are 4 primary dimensions that you can use in this report. Let’s first look at the Top Channels. When you first load the report it will be the one selected. However there is a drop down above the pie chart to make your selection of the primary dimension.
There are 8 default channel groupings built into Google Analytics. You can add new ones as well if you have specific needs. I have found these to be a good start. Most of these channels are self explanatory but let’s focus on each one real quick to be sure.
Direct: This is traffic that directly typed in your URL to their browser. Traffic coming from email that isn’t tagged as a campaign will also appear as direct.
Organic Search: These visitors arrived by clicking a listing from a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and does not include paid listings that would come from paid search. These visitors are usually highly qualified as they were actively searching for something you have to offer on your site.
Referral: Referral visitors arrive from a link on another website.
Email: Visitors that come from an email campaign will be included here. Email campaign traffic can be a great channel but you will have to tag the links in your emails to ensure Google Analytics can properly attribute the visit to your email. We will cover that specifically in another post.
Paid Search: Are you using paid search, such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads, to drive traffic to your site? If so, this is where you will see traffic.
Other Advertising: You might be running content ads or other types of advertising. Those will appear here.
Social: Facebook, instagram, pinterest and more! The visitors from these channels will show under Social
Display: Advertising such as banners would belong here.
Looking at my Acquisition overview you can see that the majority of my traffic is coming from Referral and then Direct. I’d love to see the Organic Search and Social channels grow so that will be where I have set my focus for the coming days, weeks and months. Interestingly, I am not currently doing any email marketing or paid search and when clicking through to investigate the URLS are garbley-gook (That’s a technical term). That will happen sometimes and unless it is a significant amount of traffic, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.
Notice that you see a breakdown of all the basic metrics we learned about last week broken down by channel with an addition of Conversions.
Conversions are based on site goals. I just set up my first goal so it is all showing as zero in this screen grab. Goals can be things like comment on post, joined newsletter, stayed more than 5 minutes, etc. My first goal is that they visited more than one page. For me this is a measure of engagement and is something I’d like to grow.
Here is the top sources/mediums dimension of the Acquisition Overview report. You can also look at this report based on only the Sources or the Mediums. The Source is where the traffic came from and the Medium is the type of traffic.
The first thing I notice here is that I’ve been getting referral spam from multiple sources so that’s the first thing to address.
What is referral spam and why does it matter? Well referral spam is when sites send fake traffic to your website so that they appear in your google analytics reports. They hope that you’ll notice it in your reports and visit their site. Once visiting their site you could end up with a virus, or they may try and sell you services that shady at best. The other issue is that they are compromising the quality of your data. In order to deal with these attacks there is a great tutorial here»
I hope that helps you get a better understanding of your traffic sources and to block out any referral spam that is hurting the quality of your data. Talk to you next week!