Google Analytics Tips for Bloggers: Identify Where You’re Losing Visitors

Analytics tips for bloggers

How much effort do you put into writing each blog post? A lot, I’d imagine.

If you’re not putting any effort in, there’s not a chance in hell that you are ever going to become the best in your niche.

This should be the aim of all bloggers, right?

Whether it took you a few hours or a few days, every post requires the motivation and dedication to research, write, edit and promote.

Gradually, over time, all of your hard work will start to pay off.

The readers that you’re bringing in through search engines will continue to rise, you’ll build a social following and you’ll have friends that are more than happy to share your content.

Attracting new people to your site is always great – it’s a sign that you’re making good progress in your work.

However, what if I told you that your website is actually leaking visitors:

That’s right, for every ten people you bring to your site through a new post, you could be losing as many as nine of them instantly.

Of all the hard work you’re putting in, so much is going to waste.

This is crazy – but it happens to all of us.

What if there was a way to identify where you’re losing your visitors?

Surprise of the day – there is.

I’m going to show you exactly where you’re losing readers from your site.

Every extra reader you keep on your site is an extra chance you have at earning money.

So, if you’d like to learn where you’re throwing your money away and how to plug your leaks, read on.

How to Identify Where You’re Losing New Visitors

We’ll be using Analytics for this. Data often confuses people, but this really isn’t complex, I promise.

Better still, I’ll talk you through every step in the simple process.

So, let’s move on to finding out where your visitors are getting lost.

There are a number of ways to do this and each will identify different things.

The first thing you’ll want to consider is that we’re only interested in new visitors for this analysis – we want to find out why you’re slamming the door in your potential new best friend’s face.

 

Applying the Correct Analytics Filter

The thought of messing around with data and statistics scares a lot of people, but this is seriously easy to do.

Within your Google Analytics account, filter by Audience > Behaviour > New vs Returning.

Click on ‘New Visitor’ and then add a secondary dimension for landing pages. This is really simple to do:

New User Landing Pages Analytics Filter

You’ll now be presented with a list of pages that new visitors land on for their first ever view on your site – whether this be through a Google search, a social share or a link from another website.

Using bounce rate is an easy way to identify which posts on your site are not performing well; if people are leaving your site without viewing any other pages then they are tracked as a bounce.

However, I have a slightly different way of viewing things which offers a little bit more insight than bounce rate alone, although you’ll need an additional bit of tweaking (and some time to let the data stream in).

I recommend setting up this next step and returning to view the information in a few weeks. For now, new user bounce rate will have to make do.

 

Identifying Happy Newcomers

Within the ‘Goals’ section of Analytics, I have a really simple goal set up that I’ve named “Engaged Visitor”.

Navigate to Admin > Goals and click ‘New Goal’ to set this up for yourself – it couldn’t be easier!

Select ‘Custom’ under Goal Setup, name it and select Pages/Screens Per Session under Goal Description and then under Goal Details set it to Pages/Screens Per Session: Greater than 2.

I choose not to set a monetary value to this goal, although you’re free to set any value to this you wish when prompted.

This goal is extraordinarily simple, but it does offer a little bit of useful insight.

Of course, a user will sometimes absolutely love what you’ve written, but still leave without taking any further action. This is just the way of the world, and the way content is digested.

However, a large number of interested visitors will browse your site if they enjoy the first thing they’ve read of yours. Therefore, by filtering users that have viewed at least three or more posts on their first visit, we can assume that they’re a fairly satisfied visitor on a good number of occasions.

What you should be looking to do is turn as many new visitors into engaged, satisfied visitors as possible.

After you’ve set this goal up, it’s important to let it run for a few weeks or so in order to generate a good amount of data, although Analytics will let you do a ‘7 day test’ to preview how the goal would have looked based on the past week of data.

 

Combining New Visitors with New Goals

Now we’ve set up the engaged visitor goal, we can go back to the initial ‘New Visitor/Landing Page’ report and view all of our new visitor data, alongside our new goal conversion rate.

Visitor Bounces Analytics Data

You’ll see from the screenshot above that a high bounce rate doesn’t always mean that visitors can’t be engaged. Judging by this data, of the second post highlighted, despite only a limited number of people continuing past this one post – the ones that did follow on seemed to be really interested.

Depending on the size of your site, you’ll now be able to identify a range of posts that need improving for visitor retention.

Take a look over the pages that have a low goal conversion rate or have a high bounce rate (or both). What could you do to make these more engaging?

How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate

Reducing your bounce rate and keeping more visitors happy is undoubtedly a mammoth post for another day, however some simple tips for reducing bounce rate are:

  • Make your post better. This is a painstakingly obvious point, but it needs to be said. If you didn’t put the maximum amount of effort you could into a post then you aren’t going to get the maximum rewards out of it – I’ll be back at a later date to update this section as I’m never satisfied with a post that I know could have been better.
  • Add better images to your post. Use Pixabay or Flickr to get free, high quality images for your site.*
  • Add related posts. Use a plugin like Related Posts by Zemanta to give users more interesting content that they’ll love to read after finishing one article.

*Ensure you’re always using images in accordance with Creative Commons legislation. 

 

Summary

Remember, when setting up that goal tip I gave you earlier, you’ll need at least a few weeks worth of data for it to become valuable – but you can still use bounce rate of new visitors in the mean time as a way of identifying poorly performing posts.

I’m constantly going on and on about generating more traffic for your site whilst trying to do the same for my own, well, this week, I’m going to be going over old posts and ensuring I’m best equipped to keep hold of as many new visitors as possible.

If you’re bringing visitors in, you want to keep as many of them as pleased as possible.

I’m hoping this tip for spotting the new visitors that you’re not satisfying will come in handy.

What do you think of the idea of preventing visitor loss rather than simply generating new readers? Is this something you’re going to try out?

Let me know in the comments below. As always, I’ll respond to every single one of you and all social shares are appreciated right from the bottom of my cold, dark heart.

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About Luke Jordan
I craft posts to help you get more traffic - both through SEO & through the quality of your content. Founder of Intergeek, influencer of the future, idiot of the present. My Google+

8 Comments

  1. Here’s something lazy people like me need from you, a custom dashboard for that. Now go work on that! 😀

    • Ha, Dennis, I’ll put it on my to-do list!

      …right at the very bottom 😉

      I’ve never actually really experimented with custom dashboards to be honest, I’ve just kinda always been in the habit of visiting each report individually. How inefficient of me – I’ll have to look into this now!

  2. Hi Luke,
    I love the idea of putting more effort into holding onto your new blog visitors.

    It takes a lot of time, sometimes money, to get folks over to your site.

    It makes an awful lot of sense to make sure they stay there a while, and become repeat visitors, subscribers, raving fans and customers of yours.

    That doesn’t happen simply because you got them to click a link to your blog.

    It happens because of what you do once they arrive.

    Thanks for the awesome tips and the scary analytics stuff so you can actually know what’s happening in the first place.

    -Donna

    • Thanks Donna!

      Learning how to identify where we’re losing visitors is so crucial, you’re absolutely right about the time and cost involved with bringing someone to your site.

      Everyone knows that things need improving constantly on their site, but not everyone knows where and how to spot where they’re going wrong. Glad my tips could be of use!

      Speak soon,

      Luke

  3. Nice one Luke, a solid advice about the Google Analytics. I am going to try it now. The number of visitors to your site is not a very accurate picture of how engaged and loyal they are. We need to have a good insight about how many of those readers actually stay and look at a few more pages during their stay.

    • Thanks Ahmad,

      Good luck trying it out – let me know how it goes! Spot much you could improve upon?

      Hope you’ve had a good weekend.

      Luke

  4. New goal setup – thanks my SEO decoder boy! That first tip in analytics gave me some great incites into what pages/posts are preforming best. Very interesting {molesting chin}.

    Of course I’m going I’m interested in keeping visitors coming back, it’s just as important as new traffic…sooooo, keep the tips coming!

    P.S your images aren’t showing up for me

    • You’re welcome design queen 🙂

      Glad the tips could be of use – it’s easy enough to look at bounce rate, but not everybody knows how to filter it out based on new visitors only. Well, now they do! (Because everybody reads this site, naturally).

      Thanks as always for leaving me some love, I’m extremely grateful. Don’t forget about little old me when you hit the big time…you’re almost there already!

      PS: Had some problems with my images yesterday/today, think I was hacked. Did some things and hopefully they’re sorted now 😀

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