As a blogger, there are several skills that I’ve set out to develop during my time in Cape Town. This ever growing and changing list currently includes:

  • Analytics
  • Advertising and Ad Networks
  • Photoshop Elements
  • Food Styling
  • Photography
  • Blogging Communities
  • E-books

Since arriving, I’ve already learned a lot about several of these topics. I know that other bloggers (or even those who don’t blog) are also interested in these things, so I thought I’d share what I learn while exploring them.

To learn more about Analytics, I decided to join a course Google was offering called “Google Analytics Platform Principles”. Appropriate, considering I use Blogger, powered by Google, and Google Analytics.

I can’t emphasize this enough: pre-course, I know nothing about analytics. My knowledge doesn’t go beyond: “Oooh, this post got x amount of views today! Yay!” or “I thought this post would be really popular but it isn’t getting very many pins… bummer.”

For full disclosure, views and committed readers are two big things I’m working on. I’m averaging about 500 views a day, and this is largely thanks to older posts that really took off: Not Your Average Mac and Cheese, Healthified Boxed Mac and Cheese, Calzones, and Chicken Enchiladas. These posts probably (again, I know nothing and am taking this course so I can tell you things definitively) provide about half of my daily views. I would love for new posts to account for a much higher proportion and to have more of the same people coming back to my blog each day. Hopefully, having a better understanding of analytics will help me see how to make that happen.
To start, I did a quick version (meaning I skipped around and was lazy) of their Digital Analytics Fundamentals course, as they recommended those we are new to analytics should take it. This definitely gave me new vocabulary and helped me better understand the ins and outs of the Google Analytics setup. One of the more useful things I learned about through this course was goal setting.

Here’s a handy guide to setting goals. I’m a little disappointed with the goal function, because it doesn’t provide an easy way to set goals for views or for reader engagement, and those are the two things I’m most interested in.

I decided to set a goal that was duration oriented: I want people to stay on my blog for at least one minute. To set a goal, go under “Admin” > “View” > “Goals”.

It’s been fun to track so far! I’ll share once there’s enough data to show any kinds of trends.

To track bigger, more long term goals, I set up a spreadsheet. Using the data collected by Google Analytics, I’m tracking Page Views, Visits, Unique Visitors, Pages per Visit, and Average Visit Duration. Google Analytics provides a ton of information and I’m really only touching the surface of it. For now, with my understanding, this is enough! Once I learn more and get more comfortable with it, I’ll post more about what I’ve learned 🙂