Increase Website Traffic in 4 Proven Steps (4: Measure)


Looking to increase website traffic?

Step 4: Measure

So, you have now published great content, optimized it for organic reach, and have been pushing it out to your audience. What could be next?

Find out what’s working – and what’s not.

In this step, we are going to be talking about measuring the effectiveness of your efforts. Content Marketing can be a bit of trial and error and knowing what is working will help you put your energy in the right places.

Remember back in step one, how we talked about finding “valuable” topics for your audience? When you start tracking the analytics of your content, you will start to see trends in what your audience is responding to and what platforms you are getting the most engagement on. Knowing this will help you hone in what is truly valuable to your audience.

The number one tool to help you figure this out is Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that tracks what people are doing on your website and so much more. Google Analytics will really tell you everything you would ever want to know when it comes to your content marketing efforts.

Setting up Google Analytics

To start, we want to make sure that your website is connected to your Google Analytics account.

To find out, go to this website, enter your domain name, and it will check for you.

If you already have an account then you should be able to login to Google Analytics.

If you do not have a Google Analytics account connected to your website, you can follow these steps to get started:

Go to Google Analytics, and follow the simple steps of creating a free account.

Google Analytics new account

Then click the Get Tracking ID button.

This will give you a tracking code. This is the code that you will be using on your website to connect to Google Analytics.

google analytics tracking id

The next step is to install the Google Analytics plugin on your WordPress website. Using the plugin method is the easiest way to do this.

To install the plugin login to your WordPress website and go to Plugins > Add new. In the search field, search for Google Analytics Dashboard for WP.

Install and activate the plugin.

google analytics dashboard for WP

Once the plugin is activated, go to General Settings under the Google Analytics tab in the left admin navigation.

Next, you will need to authorize the plugin. Click Authorize Plugin.

google analytics dashboard for wp authorization

Then, click on Get Access Code in red. It will take you to a screen where you will sign in to your Google Analytics account and access will be granted.

Finally, click the Save Access Code button.

For more detailed instructions on installing and setting up this plugin, you can watch this video:

Note that Google Analytics will not show you data prior to the date it was connected to your site… it will only start showing you data from the date it’s connected and on.

After you’ve had Google Analytics connected for a little bit you will want to go back and check things out to see what’s happening on your website.

We are going to cover three main areas of your Google Analytics account to get the data you need to see to start measuring your content marketing efforts.

Audience: This is the area that is going to tell us about the people that are visiting your site. The things we are going to be looking for in this section are:

  • New visitors vs. returning
  • Audience engagement
Acquisition– This area is going to show you where people are coming from.  The things we are going to be looking for in this section are:

  • The channels your traffic are coming from
  • The social platforms your traffic is coming from
Behavior– This area is going to tell us what pages people are viewing the most. The things we will be looking for are:

  • What pages are getting the most views
  • How long people are staying on your pages
  • The Bounce Rate of your pages

So, let’s dive into to these areas and start exploring the data to see what we find!

First, you’ll want to set a date range for the data that is getting pulled. By default, Google Analytics is going to pull the last 7 days. For our research, we are going to want to increase our date range so that we can see more data.

You’ll want to look at least the last 30 days of data, but if you have more data available, you can set it to the last 90 to 180 days to see an even bigger picture of what is going on.

To do this, click on the date drop-down in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

google analytics setting date range

Audience – New vs. Returning Visitors

Starting with Audience, let’s go to the New vs. Returning report.

Click on Audience, then Behavior, and New vs. Returning.

google analytics new vs returning

In the New vs Returning report, you are looking at how many visitors that came to your site, in your specified timeframe, were new visitors and how many were returning.

In most cases, your new visits will always exceed your return visits, and that is fine. What you want to pay attention to is what percentage of your visitors are coming back. In the image above you can see, on line 2, that 15% percent of the visitors are coming back. This is not bad, considering this example site is not producing a ton of new content.  While there is no specific percentage number to obtain when it comes to returning visitors, you do want it to be as high as possible.

If this percentage is really low, then it might be an indicator that you need to start focusing on strategies to get people back to your site.

Here are a few tactics to increase your returning visitors:

  • Newsletters – A great way to get people back to your site is to send out a newsletter to your subscribers. We like MailChimp as a newsletter service, it’s easy to use, and it’s free. Newsletters are a great place to tease your latest blog post or landing page with a link for more information.
  • Social Media – When you write a new post or have a lead page to promote, keep repurposing it on your social media platforms.

Audience – Engagement

Now let’s look at the Engagement Report.

Click on Audience, then Behavior, and Engagement.

google analytics engagement report

In the Engagement Report, you are looking at how much time visitors are staying on your site.

The first column in this report shows the duration of visits, and the second column shows how many sessions visited for that duration. The longer the better, so a larger number of sessions with a longer duration is very good.

You will always have the most sessions in the 0-10 seconds row, but that’s ok. We just want to make sure that there is a good amount of sessions in the longer durations as well. This means people are staying on your site.

Here are a few tactics to increase the duration of your visits:

  • Include Videos: People love videos, adding a video to your post will help keep people on your page longer.
  • Related Posts: Add related posts to the bottom of each post. This will encourage your visitors to read more of your content and keep them on your site longer.

Acquisition – All Traffic

In the Acquisition section, we are going to look at where your traffic is coming from. The two areas we are going to focus on is All Traffic and Social Traffic.

This is going to tell us where all of your traffic is coming from.

Click on Acquisition, then All Traffic, and Channels

google analytics all traffic

The Channels report is going to show you the source of where your traffic is coming from.

It breaks it down into the following categories:

  • Organic Search– This traffic is from people searching for you on search engines like Google, Bing, etc.
  • Direct– This traffic came to your site directly, meaning they put the website URL in the address bar of their browser to visit your website.
  • Referral – This traffic came to your site by clicking on a link from another website.
  • Social – This traffic came to your site through a social platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Email– This traffic came to your site through an email or email newsletter.
  • Paid/Display– This traffic came to your site through paid advertising such as Google AdWords, or Facebook ads.

Important factors to notice:

  • Users– This is the number of people that visited your site for that channel.
  • Bounce Rate– Bounce Rate is the number of people that visited your site and quickly left. The lower the bounce rate the better. You don’t want people to bounce.
  • Pages/Sessions– This is how many pages people visited per session for that channel.
  • Session Duration– This is the average length of time that people stayed on your site for that channel.

Looking at the different channels, you should be able to see which ones are performing well and which ones are not.

Acquisition – Social

Next, we are going to look at the traffic coming from Social in the Acquisition section. This is going to tell us where your social traffic is coming from.

Click on Acquisition, then Social, and Overview

google analytics social report

In the Social report, you are going to be able to see which social platforms are driving traffic to your website.

In the lower right portion of this report, you’ll see a list of social networks followed by a number of sessions. This is going to tell you where your content is resonating best with your audience.

Knowing this will be a good indicator of where to focus your attention.  If you are getting good results on Facebook and so-so results on Twitter, then it would make sense to put more focus on Facebook and possibly try something different on Twitter.

Behavior – All Pages

In the Behavior section, we are going to see what people are doing on your site once they get there. In the All Pages report in the Behavior section we are going to see what pages are getting the most visits and how people are interacting on each page.

Click on Behavior, then Site Content, and All Pages

google analytics behavior all pages

The All Pages report is going to show you what pages on your site are being visited. On the left side, you’ll see a list of the page URLs, sorted by most visited.

The most important factors we want to look at for each page are:

  • Pageviews – This is the number of views that this page has.
  • Time on Page – This is how long people stayed on that specific page.
  • Bounce Rate – This is the number of people that visited this page and quickly left. Remember, the lower the bounce rate the better.

Looking at this report, you should be able to see what pages or content is driving the most website traffic and how engaged they are on each page.

Another cool way to see what people are doing on your pages is to use the Google Analytics Chrome extension. This tool will actually show you what people are clicking on within each of your pages. I made a quick video on how to set this up and use this extension. You can check it out here:

Setting up Goals in Google Analytics

Inside of Google Analytics, you can set up goals to track certain actions you want people to take.  The benefit of doing this is that you can easily track these conversions and see the who, where, and how your visitors are taking the actions you want them to take on your website. To help you out, I’ve also created a video tutorial to show you how to set this up:

Final Thoughts

When analyzing your analytics, there is no magic number of where your metrics should be. Remember the goal is to measure the success of your marketing actions and see if (and what) areas are improving the traffic to your website. Regularly measuring your analytics will give you a baseline and tell you if your marketing efforts are improving or not.

There you have it, a repeatable 4 step guide to help you start increasing visibility and driving traffic to your website with content.

I hope you found this information valuable!

Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have as you navigate through this process.

I’d also like to invite you to our private Facebook Group that’s just for motivated business owners like yourself. This group is full of knowledgeable professionals willing to help. You can join here:

Brad Ball

Brad Ball

Hey there, I’m Brad, the design and development director here at Liquis, and I can say without a doubt that I am living the dream. The best part of what I do is knowing that I am actually helping people bring their dreams to reality.