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5 Goals Every Blogger Should Set Up in Google Analytics

This guest post is by Eugen Oprea of EugenOprea.com.

Do you want to build a successful business online?

I bet you do. Now that I have your attention, what is the first and most important step that will help you achieve that?

It’s important to know your audience and to build an awesome website that is fast and secure. It’s also important to have a social media presence and to write engaging articles.

But all of these come after you set up your business objectives and goals.

Setting up your business objectives and goals is the first and most important step towards your success online. Without them, you might as well not start it at all.

Set up goals for your blog

Like business goals, you also need to have goals for your website.

Whether they are simple goals like attracting readers and engaging visitors, or bigger goals, like increasing conversion rate, you need to have them on paper.

Then, once you are aware of what you want to achieve with your website, it’s time to start measuring those goals.

The simplest way to do this is by using Google Analytics. Google Analytics helps you not only see stats about your visitors, but also lets you create and measure your website goals and objectives.

Getting started

If you are just getting started with Google Analytics, you may want to read more about reviewing your offer, revisiting your conversion funnel, and revamping your communications, or get a handle on the basics of Google Analytics.

But, you likely already have a Google Analytics account, so let’s just dive in to creating the first goals for your website.

For starters, I would recommend you measure:

  • Engaged visitors: visitors who stay on your website longer than the average
  • Readers: visitors who read more pages on your website that the average
  • Email subscribers: visitors who sign up for your newsletters or freebies
  • Customers: visitors who purchase a product
  • Ad performance: clicks on ads to see which one is performing best, and who sent the traffic that clicks on your ads.

Before diving into each of these stats, let’s see how you can create a Google Analytics goal.

Log into Google Analytics and from your Account Home select the website for which you want to set up goals.

On the next screen you should see the Visitors Overview—this is a good opportunity to check your Pages/Visit and Avg. Visit Duration stats. You will use them later.

google-analytics-overview

Then, select[Admin from the top-right menu, select your website profile, and click the Goals tab.

google-analytics-goals

Now, here’s how you can create the goals outlined above:

1. Measure your engaged visitors

Start with the Goals set 1, and click on the +1 Goal. You will be directed to a window that will help you set up your first goal.

First, type in a name for your goal and make it active.

The you will see a list of Goal Type options. You will learn about all of them in this article, but select Visit Duration for this goal. This will help you measure how engaged your visitors are, and who is sending you those engaged visitors, among other things.

Next, on Goal Details, select visits with Visit Duration greater than your Avg. Visit Duration. For my websites, I use one minute as the duration.

Additionally, you can add a value for your goal, but if you are not sure about this, add 1.

google-analytics-engaged-visitors

2. Measure your readers

Now, it’s time to set up the next goal and see who are the readers of our website, and which visitors read more articles.

Just like for the first goal, you need to give this one a name and make it active.

Then, select Pages/Visit as a Goal Type, and enter as the Goal Details visits with Pages/Visit greater than your average Pages/Visit.

I use 2 for my websites. Add a value for your goal and you are done with this.

google-analytics-readers

3. Measure your email subscribers

Next, we get to the exciting part: measuring your email subscribers.

Even though it’s fairly easy to set this goal up, it will give you so many insights that can help you increase your conversion rates.

First, though, you will need to have a Thank you page set up to send visitors to after they confirm their email address for you. You are going to use this page when setting up your goal so set it up on your website first. Once that’s done, set up your email marketing provider to direct visitors there after they confirm their email address.

Now, you can create the goal. This time you need to select URL Destination as the goal type and on the Goal Details, you need to set these options:

  • The Goal URL: If your thank you page is http://www.yourwebsite.com/thank-you/ then type in /thank-you/.
  • Match Type: select Exact Match.
  • If your URL is case-sensitive then select the Case Sensitive option.
  • Add a goal value.

Additionally, you can set up a Goal Funnel, which is essentially a series of pages that lead to your conversion or thank you page. You can use this option if, for example, you have a landing page for your newsletter.

In this case you can select / as the URL, name it Index and /your-landing-page/, and add a name for it.

This will let you see where your visitors dropped out on their way to subscribe for your newsletter.

google-analytics-email-subscribers

4. Measure your customers

Setting up a goal to measure your customers is essentially the same as for your subscribers. All you have to do is create a conversion page where you can send people after they purchase your product.

Then, you need to set up a goal for it in Google Analytics in exactly the same way you did for subscribers.

5. Measure your ads’ performance

Before setting up a goal for measuring your ads’ performance, you need to have a good idea about what event tracking means and how you can implement it.

So, first learn about how you can use event tracking and what it means for measuring your ads’ effectiveness.

Now, once you setup event tracking on your website, you can go and create a goal for each event you’ve set up. To do that select Event as the Goal Type and fill in the Category, Action, Label, and Value for your goal. These values are the same ones you used when you set up event tracking for your calls to action.

You can set up goals for all your events, your most important events or none of them. It’s your choice if you want to see them only in the Events section, or get more insights about how different traffic sources are sending you visitors that complete actions differently.

google-analytics-ads-performance

How to measure your Google Analytics goals

Here comes the most interesting part of this article: measuring the outcomes for the goals you set up.

After you se tup these goals, you will be able to see your engaged visitors, your most loyal readers, your subscribers, your customers or how your ads are performing.

But what do you do if you want to discover who is sending you traffic that converts? And by “converts,” I mean simple visitors becoming engaged visitors, loyal readers, subscribers, customers, or people who click on you ads.

To do that, you need to navigate to Standard Reporting > Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic. Then click on Goal Set 1, just above the graphic, and you will see conversion data about your traffic sources.

This will tell you which websites are sending you visitors that convert, and you will know where you need to leverage your presence. For example, you can learn:

  • what kind of traffic you receive from a guest post
  • which social media outlet sends you quality traffic
  • if your press release did a good job
  • if the ad you’re paying for is worth it
  • and much more…

Finally, you can apply this technique to check most of the reports in Google Analytics. Go ahead and discover more about how your visitors convert.

Back to you

Now that you finished reading, it’s time to take action. Go and set up the goals you learned about and then come back and share with us:

  1. how much time it took you to complete this
  2. other goals that you want to measure, or already measuring, in Google Analytics
  3. what else you want to learn about this tool.

Eugen Oprea helps people convert more traffic into loyal customers using proven techniques that grow your business. Get his Google Analytics course for free to learn more and check his new WordPress plugin Elevatr.

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Comments

  1. Ben Troy says:

    These social features in Analytic are quickly becoming the standard of social traffic report. It is definitely a must to track social media, to be combined with great adsence reporting

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      I agree with you, Ben. Social media becomes more and more important and Google Analytics has already implemented some good reports on social media.

  2. Alan Reeves says:

    Great post Eugen. I had wondered how to use the Goals in Google Analytics for a while but never dug in deep enough to figure it out. Your post was a great introduction and got me started. I setup 2 of the goals in less than a minute. Almost too easy…

    I have been using Google Analytics and Webmaster tools for over a year and a half, tracking my traffic numbers weekly. It is interesting to look back and see the progress over that time. I have been tracking the following fields (a list recommended by Neil Patel I think): Unique visitors, Page views, Page views / Visitor, Inbound links, Technorati ranking, Technorati Authority, and Bounce Rate.

    I’ve always heard that if it isn’t measured, it can’t be changed. My sites are so small that it has taken a while to see much change but it has been very interesting to see the progress. With the addition of the Goals from this post, I better equipped for success. Thanks

  3. Matt Smart says:

    I’m not sure how to get Google analytics on my WordPress blog. What is a good site to show me how to get into the “code” of my blog.

  4. GjiVan says:

    Very informative post. I have just finished setting up!!

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      I am really happy to see that you are taking action, Gji. This is what I would like to see from everyone reading the article.

  5. Kent Chen says:

    Google Analytics is one of the best tools for tracking your traffic, however I do think it does require some effort to set it up and it takes quite a bit of learning curve to get use to it, compared to some other lesser analytic tools. Thanks for the details in how to set up goals in google analytics.

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      Yes, but once you start diving into it and look in the places that need attention, you will see that things change. Step by step you can learn how to get more from GA and setting up goals is one of the most important steps you can do because they can later help you measure your traffic.

      As you can see in the article, you can use goals to see if a guest post was driving you the right traffic and much more.

  6. Chiara says:

    Honestly, every single time I check my stats, I say to myself, “I have to set up those goals.” I’m going there now to go through this process – so thank you for this!

  7. You are right Eugen. One needs to work on improving one’s stats in order to move to the next level. And especially when it’s so easy to set them up in Google Analytics, then there’s no reason to procrastinate.

  8. shubham says:

    Google Analytics is the best way to check what is actually going on our blog from where visitors are coming,for what timing they are on our blog, what they like and many more.

  9. Megan says:

    This was really quick to set up. It took me maybe a minute tops.

    Then again, I do have some experience setting up Google Analytics goals. For some reason it never occurred to me to pay attention to the pages/visit. Definitely going to spend more time looking into that.

  10. Shelby Roth says:

    Amazing and useful information. Every blogger wants to be successful and someone could not make without setting up sincere goals to work upon by focusing and devoting his efforts to. Thanks a lot for the informative content, I find it actually helpful to me. Thanks again, I look forward to your next shout out!

  11. These are so educative and inspiring goals indeed! I think this is what I will do right on the spot on my blogging. Probloggers seems so cool to bring every bit of encouraging tips and I thank you for this, very informative and useful!

  12. Rahul says:

    It’s great that you have put light on google analytics. Indeed, google analytics has become so much helpful for all the bloggers around the world to generate much traffic to their blogging pages.

  13. Hi Eugine,

    I have to agree, I love the goals. I am actually enthralled by the purpose of each goal. I have been employing keenness as I read the post and I love the idea of giving your customers the first priority. Nice post Eugine; I am of to make the necessary improvements on my own blog. Thanks!

  14. Anthony says:

    These are all great goals Eugen. I have a question about goal 1 – engagement. What if a visitor only views 1 page and spends 6 minutes digesting the information on that page and then leaves by hitting the back button? This would be classed as a bounce and therefore would not trigger the engagement goal, but surely this visitor was engaged right?

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      In my opinion, if the reader is really engaged she will do an action, click a link, comment or check a related post.

      If the reader leaves then, that’s obvious that it was not truly engaged with the content.

      For me an engaged visitor is a potential fan and a fan will always take a second action.

      • Anthony says:

        I suppose there are different levels and classifications of engagement and the purpose of a page should dictate this. Thanks for replying!

  15. Madison says:

    Great post. We design and develop websites but don’t actually put much effort into our own site funnily enough and our blog section in terms of analytics. So just followed your steps and looking forward to seeing the results!

    If anyone is interested we are on Facebook too – http://on.fb.me/xzLuSJ — any more advice or links welcome.

  16. It took me maybe 15 minutes to set up, but when I go to:

    To do that, you need to navigate to Standard Reporting > Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic. Then click on Goal Set 1, just above the graphic, and you will see conversion data about your traffic sources

    I see the goals set up, but no conversion data.

    Insights?

    Sharing your post with my 20k+ social media audience today.

    Best,
    Christine Hueber

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      Christine, congratulations for taking action and getting it done!

      Unfortunately, Google Analytics will not show past conversion data if the goal was not setup. However, you are doing to see conversion data from now on.

      This is one of the main reasons why I stress so much on setting up goals. This and the fact that you will get so much insight later.

      Thank you for sharing the article!

  17. I am just wondering that these much of things we need to do in Google analytics. I use Google analytics for viewing my web traffic.Now got some idea from your post.I will follow these steps now itself.

    Thanks for a great post..

  18. Hamza Sheikh says:

    This is an amazing tutorial atricle. I am pretty sure that it will help us in more deeply learning our audience and market. I have been strugling with Google Analaytics Goals, and milestones from last few days. But, now after your post. I think I got a vision on how to setup individual goals and milestones with correct planning.

    Thanks again!

  19. Absolutely. Google Analytics was one of the free and great tool to maintain your site and understand the statistics. Thanks.

  20. I have seen Google Analytics goals before, but have never really applied them to my site, as I had never delved deep enough to follow through with creating a goal.

    I setup two goals for my blog while reading the post, and they are so simple to actually setup. Each one was setup in less than a minute each. Now to work on writing content to increase & attract visitors that will achieve my goals more consistently.

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      That’s the way to go! But I would recommend you to go one step further and make sure that you have conversion goals for your newsletter and products.

  21. Eugen! Thank the blog gods for this post! I have been searching for someone to explain in plain ‘newbie’ speak how the (EXPLETIVE) to understand and work with GA for two years and my new friend, you have done exactly that. Thank you a thousand times over. What a great and easy to comprehend post. I am signed up for you course as well I look forward to actually figuring all this out finally. Many thanks.

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      Thanks John! I am happy to hear this and see you take action.

      And if you have questions, do not hesitate to ask. I am always happy to help.

  22. Thank you so much for this! I’ve wanted to utilize goals, but haven’t gotten around to finishing my Google Analytics book (starting actually). I didn’t set up each that you recommended, because I don’t use the last two, but you gave me ideas for others that I could set up.

    Thank you!

    Kimberly

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      Great Kimberly!

      You have up to 20 goal slots that you can use, so do it.

      Even if you don’t use the ones I outlined above, add others and track your traffic based on them.

  23. Mohideen says:

    Google analytics is the best tool to track our websites easily moreover its free

  24. Casey Gollan says:

    Fantastic post! I would simply add that some blogs belong to companies that have a large and complex sale. In those cases it would not be enough to simply set up a conversion goal in analytics to report on how many visitors reach the thank you page from the blog. Instead, the small business owner or marketer would need to integrate google analytics with CRM (customer relationship management) software. Doing so will allow the person to relate a sale that happens months down the road back to the blog as the lead source.

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      I agree Casey, this this is a different scenario that involves advanced tracking implemented. just like for eCommerce sites.

  25. Andy Morley says:

    Great post, I haven’t really explored goals for a “non-transactional” site other than contact form submissions.. I havent even thought about the goals for my blog sites.. silly really.

    I guess one of my maion goals for most of my blogs is the Newsletter sign ups / mailing lists. But yes average time spent and page views should also be a goal.

    Thanks for the advice and info.

    Andy.

  26. Brankica says:

    Love this, Eugen. Took me about 5 minutes to set it up, I opened your post on Event Tracking in another tab and plan to go read through it and set it all up, just wanted to say thanks for this one!

  27. Karen says:

    This only took a couple of minutes. Thanks. Like others have said, “I’ve been meaning to do this…” These things are never difficult, it’s just sitting down to actually do them. Your tutorials are so helpful in getting me off the dime, so to speak.

  28. Troy says:

    Setting up goals is much easier with some ideas on where to get started. I had setup subscribers before, but I love the readers and engaged visitors goals — I’ve added them now.

    Once these are setup it is great to be able to go back and see which sites are driving “useful” traffic to the site.

  29. Eugen Oprea says:

    Let us know your findings, Troy.

  30. Lynn Dye says:

    I’ve meant to learn more about my GA for some time. I booked time on my calendar, followed your easy steps.

    Thanks so much for this.

    In the future, I’d like to hear you talk about which plug-in is best to use for GA in WordPress and detailed steps on setting it up.

    For example, I’m using Google Analyticator, but I’m getting an error message in my WordPress Dashboard that I can’t see my stats there and to see if I’m authenticated. When I go to my GA account, all my stats are up and running there. So something is missing.

    Again, thank you.

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      Hey Lynn,

      The best plugin is to use no plugins. :)

      All you have to do is just copy your GA code in the head section of your theme. I cover that in my course.

      I hope this helps, but let me know if you have questions.

  31. First of all, very interesting post to set up Goals for blog. For subscriptions goal, we have the thank you message appearing in the Subscription widget, and once the user provides name and email to submit, the further instructions are sent to their email. Is there anyway of tracking goals for emails or we have to create a separate thank you page for this? You can see the subscription widget at http://www.pakwheels.com/blog . Will appreciate your advice on this :).

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      Here’s how I have it setup for my newsletter:

      1. The visitor signs up for the newsletter
      2. Then she is directed to an almost done page with details about what happens next and she gets an email asking to confirm the email address
      3. Once the email, is confirm she is directed to the thank you page and receives the final welcome email.

      In this scenario I track people who reached my almost done page and the final thank you page.

      The rest is done with MailChimp.

  32. Seonature says:

    Nice one! Good KPIs for the start!

  33. Shrikrishnap says:

    This is a nice post. I didn’t think of setting a goal for my blog & target the audience. I use analytics but This is a different approach for me. Thanks I will try this on my blog.

  34. It is never too late to mend. Webmaster who did not set a goal must go ahead with the following goal set in Google Analytic. These goals setting will be major criteria for measuring your website promotion. The above mentioned goals are enough for the beginners. Gradually he will learn how to set new goals to improve promotion. Nothing can be going right or smooth if there is no goal or destination. So i also suggest Webmaster or site owners to set a goal.

  35. Daniel Brady says:

    I prefer onclick rather than a thank you page for tracking simple conversions like email signups. But maybe you prefer the thank you since the email subscription requires confirmation. I prefer onclick for most non-sale goals since it’s instant to track, unlike a thank you page which people might close instantly before the analytics has a chance to execute.

    By onclick, I mean creating an artificial page view on click. You use this artificial page as your goal URL. I’m on an iPad now so I can’t give you the exact code.

    • Eugen Oprea says:

      That’s a different approach Daniel, but if someone clicks your signup button, this doesn’t mean they are subscribed, unless you use single optin.

      In my case, I use double optin and if people don’t confirm they email address, they are not subscribers.

      On the other hand I use event tracking to see which of my forms gets more click or how many people click on my links to social profiles.

  36. Dan John says:

    You mention social media near the beginning of your post, but then never touch on it again.

    Ben Troy and Eugen Oprea mention social media as if the article was explaining it in detail. I have a feeling they may have just wanted the link juice….

    Regardless, these are great tips for anyone getting started with goal tracking in Analytics, good job!

  37. simone says:

    these are just the tips I needed to get my website on track and attract more visitors, thank you very much for this enlightening article