Beginners guide to wordpress analytics (and using them to grow your audience)

*Warning – this is an exceptionally long post.

You’ve heard of them, possibly from your boss, probably from sports and absolutely in gambling. Analytics have become a powerful force behind the things we do.

The process of collecting, storing and using data is not new. Scientists have been doing it for hundreds of years with research. It’s only been in recent years, however, that analytics have become an integral piece to business and life with respect to our computers and how we use them.

Why do analytics matter?

Quite simply, analytics matters because they work. You can be overwhelmed with data and the value of it may be unattainable. Applying analytics creates insights. Human brains were not built to process the amounts of data that are today being generated through social media, sensors, and more. So analytics allow us to compile data in an easy to understand format to use it in our favour.

With wordpress, analytics are essential to understanding your audience. If you’re here as a hobby-blogger, then you likely won’t desire knowing any of this. But, if you’re openly, willingly trying to grow your blog, analytics are an important piece to doing so.

WordPress has laid out analytics in simple graphs and charts to make it easy for every user to understand. Here are some of the ways you can use wordpress analytics in your favour.

UNDERSTAND WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE IS FROM

For me, the vast majority of the audience that reads #MillennialLifeCrisis are from the United States. Second behind the United States is the United Kingdom. This information is important to note because if you want the most people possible to see your blog posts, you want to be posting during the hours in which the most people will be awake.

The ‘Magic Hours’ for distribution of communication are between 11:30 am-2:00 pm and from 7:30 pm-8:30 pm. These time frames are widely used by companies around the world as windows in which to distribute their information. So, if the majority of your audience is from the United States, schedule your posts to be released such that they’ll fall within that window. If the majority of your audience stems from Australia, try to schedule your posts to be released during that window… from an Australian time zone.

UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE ARE FINDING YOUR BLOG

Use the “referrers” section to understand how people are finding your blog. In many, if not most, cases, the majority of referrers will be wordpress.com readers. This is because when we come on wordpress, we browse each other’s blogs. But take a moment to also understand where else people are finding you.

For me, I don’t have a facebook account for #MillennialLifeCrisis, or personally. So, seeing that 6 people have been referred to my blog today from Facebook shows that people are taking my content and sharing it to their facebook pages. This is not only a huge compliment, but can also show me that it might be a valuable thing for me to create a facebook page for which to share my content.

Take note of that listing on the bottom as well. ‘Search Engines’. Though it’s a small number, only two referrers today, it’s an important number. What ‘Search Engines’ is telling me is that two people were able to find my blog through their search of a subject on google. This is HUGE! If your blog posts can crack the google system, this means your content has the possibility of reaching an even greater audience than wordpress users because your blog posts will appear when people search the subjects you’re writing about.

‘POSTS & PAGES’ CAN TELL YOU WHICH OF YOUR POSTS RESONATED MOST WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

Review the ‘views’ listing under posts and pages and allow this to show you what posts have resonated most with your audience. By flipping between “Day” to “7 days” to “30 Days” all the way down to “All time” you can see which of your posts have received the most attention, not just on the days in which you posted them, but have continued to receive attention even though you might have posted them three months ago.

Knowing which content of yours has ‘withstood the test of time’ and not just fallen into the back pages of your blog can provide you insight towards popular topics. Popular topics help provide subjects you may wish to follow up on, subjects that could gain interest should you take a deep dive further into.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR ‘INSIGHTS’

This section tells you the most popular day of the week and hour of the day. Please note that this section will change/update weekly. But, if you’re someone that perhaps only posts one blog post per week, reading this insight might suggest that Monday is a good day to post next week.

Not only are ‘Tags & Categories’ how most people find you through WordPress, but they’re also how your blog finds its way into search engine listings. Using proper tags of your content can make a big difference so far as to who finds your content. So, if you’re trying to grow your audience/readership, ensure that you’re properly tagging your posts, and you’re reviewing this section of your analytics to see which tags/categories are gaining the most traction.

Case in point of proper categories being critical – posts that have been made to #MillennialLifeCrisis that I did not categorize have provided the lowest amount of traction to my blog.

If you’re unsure of which tags or categories to use, I recommend using the ‘search’ function to search tags and categories similar to the content you post. If you post reviews of music, search ‘Music’, ‘Music Reviews’, ‘Rock & Roll’, and so on and so forth. You can see which tags and categories have the most updates and gain the most traction.


Honestly, I could go into analytics all day long. There’s so much to make use of and so much to learn from. I think the most important lesson to take from your analytics, though, is that if you really want to grow your blog/audience/readership, they’re abundantly important.

Perhaps I’ll make another post like this further down the line. For now though, I think this is a good starting place.

Use your analytics wisely and they’ll be one of your greatest tools to blogging, communication, distribution, social media and online business in general. It’s all in using what you’ve got in front of you!