This post contains affiliate links that generate a commission for the author, at no cost to you. Read my disclosure for more info.
Serious Side Hustlers Need Google Analytics
As promised in my September 2018 Income Report, I’m going to talk a little bit about Google Analytics. In short, Google Analytics is THE platform you need for tracking your website’s stats. It’s your best resource for up-leveling your SEO and determining the best ways to market your website.
And I’ll start off by mentioning that it’s free.
Google Analytics: It’s The Most Accurate
Not only is Google Analytics FREE, but it’s also the most accurate. You’re not going to get the same analytics from any other platform out there, not even Jetpack.
Why? Because Google Analytics offers the widest range of insights available. The analytics available in your WordPress dashboard aren’t going to scratch the surface in terms of the detailed information you require. If you can think of a statistic to track, then you can probably track it in Google Analytics. And if you’re not tracking your website’s stats, then you’re not doing your side hustle justice. Tracking stats is so important.
You’re really leaving money on the table if you’re not.
Google Analytics: Details In Every Report
Google Analytics provides incredible detail in each and every report.
For example, under the Location section in the Audience category, it breaks down the countries your visitors are coming from in any time frame you specify. Not only that, but it also breaks down visitor behavior in other countries. This way, you can see which countries your posts are doing best in. Now, most bloggers are blogging for the U.S./other English speaking countries, but you never know which other countries your content is popular in.
Not unless you look.
You can also track visitor behavior in under the Audience category. This will give you a detailed understanding of who is coming to your website more than once, and even how long between sessions. User retention is critical to building your platform of fans and customers. If your readers aren’t coming back, then you need to reframe what you’re doing with your side hustle and find a way to keep them coming (this is where freebies and content upgrades come in).
Google Analytics: Insights You’ve Never Even Thought Of
Recently, I was going through my Insights (which is the swirly blue button on the top right corner of your home screen), and one stood out. While most of them look like this:
I saw one telling me that might site performs above average on the screen resolution of 1440×900.
At the same time, it’s interesting to see what Google picks out as notable, right? Like, that’s all about graphics cards and computer tech, but apparently people whose screens are in that resolution spend almost 10 minutes on my site? I’m not quite sure what to do with it, but hey, good to know, I guess?
The moral of the story is that you really never know what you’re going to find with Google Analytics.
Google Analytics: Mobile Responsiveness
Having a website that is responsive on mobile is more important than ever. So many users access the Internet primarily from their smart phone. You will have trouble keeping your visitors happy if your website isn’t responsive on mobile browsers.
Fortunately, that’s not difficult to fix. Premium themes, like Divi from Elegant Themes, are set up so they are responsive not just on desktops, but on phones and tablets too. It’s important to check your website from your phone from time to time, to make sure things look good and are running the way you want to. And with Google Analytics, you can keep an eye on your mobile stats. When you see a dip, it’s time to figure out what’s going on.
That brings me to another tangent, on why you need to purchase a premium theme. While WordPress has a number of quality themes for free, if you want something to really take your website to the next level, you should invest in a premium theme. It’s important to look out for something that’s clean and professional, and above all, easy to navigate.
Google Analytics: It’ll Help You Niche Down
Now, I haven’t talked yet about why it’s so important to have a specific niche for your side hustle, but it’s coming. Sign up for the email list, and you’ll never miss a post. It’s why, here on Quest For $47, you’re not going to see me posting about my favorite makeup brands (Nars and Urban Decay, if you’re curious). But once you’ve been blogging a while, this will really kick in.
Check out your “What pages do you users visit?” section. That will, obviously, show you what your most popular pages are. The default is how many views in a given week.
In the report, Google Analytics shows you insights including: how many views, how many unique views, time on page, entrance sand exits and exit percentage. These are all very important things to keep in mind. If you have a page with a high bounce rate, then it’s probably because people are coming in and they’re not interested in what you have to share.
But if you find a page with a high ‘Time on Page’ duration and a low bounce rate, chances are if you post something on a similar topic, you’ll get the same results. And with that, you’ll end up seeing a pattern relating to the type of content that gets people to stick around.
Writing more about things your readers love will keep them coming, and ultimately turn them into your next batch of raving fans.
Google Analytics: Where Do Your Readers Come From?
No, I’m not talking geographic location this time.
This is a big one, and why the Acquisition section in Google Analytics is SO important. Not only does Acquisition show you WHERE people come from, it more importantly shows you which platforms they’re coming from.
Why is that important? Because that dictates your focus. If you’re not getting a ton of people coming in from your Instagram, but are getting a TON of people clicking in from your Pinterest account then…focus your efforts on growing your Pinterest account. There’s obviously a ton of value there, and you already have some traction.
That’s not to say that you should completely ignore your Instagram following. Until you’ve completely mastered your Pinterest account and are getting steady traffic from it, your best bet is to focus on that platform before moving onto the next. As I said in 8 Keys To A Successful Side Hustle, you must not try to do everything at once. No one is successful when they try to do everything and be everything, right from the start. You are allowed to take it slow.
How To Get Google Analytics To Track Your Website
Now, before I start off with the how-to (which is super easy, just bear with me a moment), the first thing I want to make clear is you MUST have a self-hosted website to enjoy all that Google Analytics has to offer.
For one, because YOU own all of your content and your website. You just don’t get that when you’ve got a website that’s on a platform like WordPress.com, or any of the other free blogging websites. Not only that, but free blogging platforms do not allow you to make the most of monetizing your sites. If you’re in it to ultimately grow your side hustle into something that makes you money while you sleep, then you need a self-hosted site.
If you don’t have a self-hosted website yet, worry not. Siteground, which is my preferred blogging platform, offers a FREE website migration for new users. It’s super simple, and I had mine transferred and up and running in just a couple hours. If you want to learn more about how I got my start blogging, then check out 6 Reasons I Host My Websites On Siteground (And You Should Too). You’ll learn how I made a massive blogging mistake, right off the bat, and how to avoid it.
The other perk of Siteground, is that you can get your hosting for as low as $3.95/month, which is a steal. Click the banner below to get started.
Now, For The Google Analytics.
There are a lot of different ways that you can get Google Analytics installed and tracking on your website, but my preferred method is to simply download the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP by ExactMetrics. Yes, it’s free! Once it’s installed, all you need is to add your tracking number and you’re good to go. That tracking number can be found in your Admin settings, under Tracking Info.
Remember, we’re trying NOT to overcomplicate things here. You have many more important things to worry about.
Leave a comment and tell me: what are your favorite metrics to track in Google Analytics?
Ready to write an awesome blog post that your audience will devour?
Pin It For Later!