Tuesday, February 16, 2016

4 Simple Ways to Grow Your Blog Using Google Analytics

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I'm making 2016 the year of the quest for a million monthly pageviews. It is my hope that by the end of the year, my blog will be getting one million pageviews per month. Although I'm nowhere close to reaching that goal in the next month or two, I do think it is possible.

Here's why: I have already dramatically increased my pageviews in just the past 5-6 weeks. January 2016 was my highest traffic month to date, but February is already on pace to beat that high by almost 40,000 extra pageviews. In fact, if February stays on the pace it's at, then I will have grown my blog by 100,000 pageviews since December.


Just by making a few simple changes to my blog using Google Analytics.

No fancy gimmicks. No huge Facebook shares. No viral posts. Just simple, actionable changes that any other blogger could apply themselves.

Here are 4 simple ways to grow your blog using Google Analytics.

4 simple ways to grow your blog using Google Analytics - practical blogging tips from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

Blogging Tip #1: Start using the data in Google Analytics to link related content 

I took a free video class on how to skyrocket your blog pageviews with Google Analytics and was quickly fascinated. So I bought the accompanying eBook Skyrocket Blog Pagviews Using Google Analytics and started implementing the challenges. I've only done a few of the challenges, but within a few days, my traffic was increasing dramatically!

This eBook showed me how to link to exactly the right content instead of just picking random things that I think would fit and I think that's why traffic has gone up so dramatically!

However, I found a few challenges in the eBook just didn't fill in the gaps that I needed so I started exploring other sections of the Google Analytics dashboard. While doing so, I discovered an amazing navigation summary section (see the screenshot below). The idea is to link the previous page path posts to the post you are looking at and then link that post to the ones under next page path. It's very similar to challenges #15, #25, and #29 from Skyrocket Blog Pagviews Using Google Analytics, but this screen allows you to focus on more than just your most popular posts. So definitely a section to check out if you are trying to improve any posts outside of your top 10 or so blog posts.

How to use Google Analytics to grow your blog from And Next Comes L

You can scroll to the bottom of this post to see exactly how I am linking related posts without a fancy widget or plug in.

Blogging Tip #2: Use Your Blogging Tribe to start targeting keywords on Google+

The eBook that I mentioned above uses Google+ for a lot of the challenges, so I started using Google+ smarter by using my top keywords from Webmaster Tools. You can find some keyword information in Google Analytics, but it isn't as comprehensive as what you'll find in webmaster tools.

I would also edit relevant blog posts to include those exact keywords more. Something that I discovered was also successful for Lena in her eBook How I Went From 17K to 350K+ Monthly Pageviews in 9 Months.

However, to expand further on the Google+ challenges from Skyrocket Blog Pagviews Using Google Analytics, I worked with my blogging tribe, taking turns sharing our top keywords on Google+ for our top posts and did this everyday for a week. Just by doing that for a week, I started ranking higher for those keywords (just look at page rank for the keywords in Webmaster Tools). You can find out more about how to grow your blog using a blogging tribe here.

Blogging Tip #3: Write new blog posts based off of popular keyword searches

There's so much useful information in webmaster tools about my most popular keyword searches including their current page rank and click through rate. So I started building off of those most popular keyword searches by writing new blog posts related to those keywords. For more ideas on how to use these top keywords, check out challenge #6 in Skyrocket Blog Pagviews Using Google Analytics.

For example, my most popular keywords are "music activities for kids." I already have quite a few popular posts with those keywords including 50+ Music Activities for Kids. I recently wrote 16 Piano Inspired Music Activities for Kids and 20 Music Activities for Kids Using Drums to feature those keywords. Once I hit publish, I edited my popular 50+ Music Activities for Kids and added links to these two new posts in it. I then shared these new posts on Google+ using the exact keyword phrases from webmaster tools.

Blogging Tip #4: Decrease bounce rates of popular posts

You can find your bounce rates for any of your blog posts in Google Analytics, but I was interested mostly in finding the popular posts that had really high bounce rates. There's lots of great bounce rate challenges, such as challenge #21, in Skyrocket Blog Pagviews Using Google Analytics to try. And I have reduced my overall bounce rate from 74% to 72% in just a short period of time thanks to the tips in the book.

Specifically, I wanted to fix those popular posts by decreasing the bounce rates. Unfortunately, no matter what I try on Edible Sludge Sensory Play, I just cannot get the bounce rate down. Although it has moved from 86% bounce rate to 82%, but it's still way too high. So obviously, I need to keep tweaking it since linking to related posts at the bottom doesn't seem to be working as well as I had hoped.

Another popular post on my blog is the Free Printable Visual Daily Schedule. I considered making this post a subscriber freebie, but really I just want to help out as many autism families as possible so I didn't feel right about turning it into a subscriber freebie. However, the bounce rate was way too high. At the beginning of January, the bounce rate was 78%. Now six weeks later the bounce rate is 45%. Woah, right?

I have been in the process of building a shop for my blog - from scratch, nonetheless, because I refuse to pay for a service - so I moved all the links to download the printable schedule cards to a page in the shop (see it here). Now I get extra pageviews and a lower bounce rate. PLUS, when I finally get around to making a paid version, readers will already be funneled into my shop, which will hopefully lead to conversions on the paid version. Now I just need to get that paid version done. I also plan to implement this strategy with other popular posts that have free printables.

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  1. You are a rockstar! Great tips, I need to dig into GA more.

    1. As do I! There's so many sections to explore in GA that I haven't even checked out yet!