Google Analytics is a great tool to be able to look at who's coming to your blog, what they're reading and how they found you. It can help you identify areas that are worth spending time on to help grow your blog, and also ones that aren't worth it.
If you haven't got Google Analytics installed on your website - there's a great tutorial here that will walk you through the stages. This is definitely something I would recommend doing for your blog.
So here's a run down on the basics of Analytics and how you can use them to grow your blog.
How people are finding your blog
In your Google Analytics dashboard, if you go to 'Aquisition' in the left sidebar you can then see all the stats for how visitors find your site, whether it's through referrals from other sites, Google searches or maybe through your social media sites.
For my blog, more than half of my traffic comes from referring sites - this is my tutorials via places like Allfreesewing (see my post on getting featured on bigger sites). To make the most of this, I'm continuing to make new tutorials and submitting them to these larger sites. Then it's pot luck as to how often they get mentioned and featured in one of their newsletters or perhaps on their social media site. Pinterest is also a big traffic source for me and something I'll be looking into more. A post about Pinterest is coming later!
I get a small amount of traffic from social media sites like Facebook, Google + and Twitter, but as yet not a large amount and I'm still exploring how to use those.
Another large traffic source for my blog is a plain Google search. You can check what keywords people are searching, then use this as a guide for the types of posts that are your most popular in this sense and write more of those - including the keywords that people are searching in your post titles.
For me, the keywords that people are searching that bring them to my blog are upcycling, recycling and how to make. Again, my tutorials and all of the clothes upcycling posts and links I share are things I try to do most of as this is what people are coming to read!
Where is your audience?
You can see where in the world people are coming to your blog from.
The vast majority of my visitors are from the US, although I also get lots from Canada, Australia and the UK, plus others from almost every country in the world - quite amazing really to think so a wide variety of people and nationalities are reading my little blog!
But how can you use this information to grow your blog?
If you know where your major traffic is coming from, you can choose to schedule posts or get on your social media sites at peak traffic times for those countries.
Personally, I find this a really tricky one - as from Analytics, my large concentrations of visitors are spread right across all the time zones of the world, so there's not one specific time that shows more visitors than others. But maybe for your blog there will be a clear trend you can use!
You can also use the 'real time' option in the sidebar of your analytics dashboard. This will tell you about the people who are on your site right now. This might prove useful if you've just sent out a newsletter for example, to see what kind of instant response you get from that. Or perhaps just after you've done a big promotion for your blog on your social media sites.
Which pages or posts are most popular?
You can see which pages people come to on your blog to see what your most popular posts are, and know what kind of content to provide more of.
For me, once again it's my tutorials, and clothes upcycling posts. However, I'm also trying to build up my resources of blogging posts to add another dimension to my blog - since I am Creating my way to Success, not only creating!
As you click on each section of analytics in the sidebar, there is an analytics education box that appears at the top of the screen. There are small videos explaining each section. Since I have already found with Google Adsense that studying and learning more about the tools available has increased my revenue - these videos are something I'm working my way through.
As I've mentioned before, a large part of blogging is about educating yourself and learning about the processes and tools available.
How about you?
Do you actively use your Google Analytics account?
Do you have any tips to share about making the most of your Analytics?