Setting Up & Understanding Google Analytics

Every blogger at some point will have come across Google Analytics. It's the most recommended platform for gathering data on your site and for good reason. It collates a wide range of information on those who visit your site and how they behave. However there is so much data (not all of it useful to bloggers), it can be difficult knowing where to start. With this guide, I'll go through the process of setting up GA and the practical ways you can use the data to grow your platform.

google analytics for bloggers

Setting up Google Analytics

  1. Sign up for a GA account. It's completely free, the only thing you will need is a Google account. 
  2. Add your blog to your account. Once you account is set up, you will need to add your blog as a 'property'. You will get a prompt to do this once you are signed in.
  3. Install your Tracking ID. After adding your blog to your account, you will receive a unique tracking ID that you will have to include in the code of your blog. This is usually where things get tricky. Each blogging platform is different but they are all capable of accepting GA coding. I highly recommend using the guided help pages for your specific platform. 
  4. View your GA data. To view your analytics, sign back into GA and you will get an overview on the home page. It will take about 24 hours from installing your tracking ID for your data to show up on GA.

Using Google Analytics For Your Blog

There are five main categories of reports you can access on GA - Real Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversion. I'll be focusing on Audience, Acquisition and Behaviour as these are the most relevant. Within each category, there are sub categories you can explore. As you get more comfortable with GA, you can explore the other reports available. 

The Audience report covers everything you need to know about the people visiting your site. The overview report gives you the data you need for the selected time period at a glance. The key things that matter are: 

  • Sessions - how many times your blog was visited in the selected time frame.
  • Users - how many people visited your blog.
  • Page Views - the total number of pages visited on your blog. 
  • Pages/session - how many pages on average do people visit on your site before exiting.
  • % New sessions - how many of your visitors are new to your site. 

This is the sort of data that proves useful when putting together your media kit, it's also good for you to know when tracking how your blog is performing over time.

Within the Audience report, you will also find your Demographics which lets you know the age group your content is most popular with and their gender. There is also the Geo report which looks at language and location. With this data in mind, you can create content that is better suited to your audience. 

The Acquisition reports are all about how your audience found your blog and GA sorts this into four categories. From the overview page you can click through to each category for more details.

  • Organic search - how many blog visits are a result of your blog popping up on a search engine. 
  • Direct - how many people went straight to your site.
  • Social - how many people found you via social media. 
  • Referral - how many people found you because of links on other sites. 

The Social report is particularly useful because it lets you know amongst many other things which social media channel sends you the most traffic. I use this report to guide my social media strategy,  it has saved me from wasting time on Facebook when most of my readers are actually on Twitter. 

The Referral report is also great for finding out which sites have posted links to your blog. Most of the time, it's fellow bloggers and it is worth reaching out with a thank you. 

The Behaviour reports covers how people behave on your site. Most of what you need is fortunately covered on the overview page. Here you will find:

  • Page views - this is the numbers of pages that are visited on your blog. 
  • Unique page views - how many unique users viewed your pages.
  • AdSense Revenue - if you are signed up to AdSense, this will show much income your blog has generated over the specified period of time. 
  • AdSense Page Impressions - how many times a page with Adsense ads had been viewed. 
  • AdSense Ad Units viewed - how many ad units have actually been viewed. 
  • Top 10 pages - A list of your best performing content. You can click through on these to find out more details including which days they performed best.  

The Behaviour Flow report can also be useful if you want to see what content encourages readers to click through to more content on your blog. Site Content report will rank all your posts in order of page views, you can also use the search bar to look up stats on a particular posts. This comes in handy when tracking sponsored posts.  

Examining these reports are great for getting a better understanding of your blog and your audience. They can prove useful if you are experimenting with new ideas and want to see how your audience responds. You can reflect on your growth across the year and even compare time periods. This post covers the basics, you can find a more in depth course at the Google Analytics Academy.

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How To Get (and keep!) Your First 500 Twitter Followers

Having an engaged Twitter following can increase traffic to your platform as well as help shape your personal brand. It can be difficult at first to build that core following but with these tips you can begin to grow and maintain your following organically. 

grow your twitter following

Personalise your Twitter profile. First and foremost, you want to set yourself up with a great profile. No one is going to follow an egg with no bio. Choose a great profile pic and header image - avoid logos as this is less personable. You'll want to include a brief fun bio, a link to your platform, your location and your email address. 

Follow people. This is an obvious one but you aren't going to get followers unless you follow people. Use hashtags to find people with similar interests. Head to a blogger account *cough* BBB *cough* to find other bloggers to connect with. Follow people whose content you are genuinely interested in and likely to engage with. 

Engage daily with your audience. To get the most out of Twitter, you need to put the time in. Engage with the community - like, comment and be generous with retweets. Be especially attentive to your existing followers. Get involved in twitter chats, there are a few centred on blogging. FBL and Blogger Bees host regular chats every week. 

Tweet content that lines up with your personal brand. Aside from sending out links to your content, you also want to tweet content that reflects who you are. This can be relevant news stories, other bloggers content that you enjoy and interesting musings that give more insight into who you are. Check out Ronke Lawal's account for a fantastic example of getting the balance just right. 

Tweet often but don't be a spammer. When you growing your following you need to be tweeting 3 - 5 times a day, spread across the day, every day. The average tweet has a life span of 18 minutes so don't be afraid to duplicate content. If you don't have the time to hop on Twitter every day, use a scheduling app like Hootsuite  or Tweetdeck to schedule your tweets across the week.

Use relevant hashtags and blogger RT accounts. There are fortunately lots of blogger friendly hashtags and twitter accounts that you can follow that will RT your content. You can start by sharing your posts to the BBB account but also have a look at the accounts and hashtags other bloggers are using. My personal faves are #browngirlbloggers, #melaninbloggers, #bloggersoc and #blogginggals but there are plenty more. 

Optimise your tweets to maximise your engagement. Tweeting a link to your post with no context will lead to zero engagement. You want to share tweets that are likely to be retweeted. Make sure to include an eye catching headline or call to action and an image. Tweets with images and gifs perform significantly better than those without. 

Tap into your existing audience. Let your readers/viewers know that you are active on Twitter by including a link on your platform. If you have a sidebar, place a widget with a feed of your tweets so readers get a preview of the content they can expect. 

Stay on top of trending topics. Engaging with trending topics and hashtags is a great way to get more eyes on your page. Join in the conversation and be genuine. Jumping on a popular hashtag just to push your content rarely works out well.  

Pin an eye catching tweet to the top of your feed. This should be a piece of content that you are really proud of and reflects your platform. As your following grows, you can use this space to post content that needs more engagement. 

Make use of Twitter analytics. This will help you see which of your content performs best, your follower growth rate and engagement. This will help you adjust your strategy and figure out what works best for you.  

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Making The Most Of Your First Year Blogging by Shahira Allen

I started my blog Afro Glory in February 2017. That’s right just a few short months ago! In that time, I have worked with some incredible brands (still pinching myself) and had some great opportunities. I really wanted to share some fantastic advice for starting out and making the most of your first year as a blogger.

first year blogging tips

Get involved with your audience
Attend events. You can find out about events happening near you by looking through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Search through hashtags like: #BlackBritishBloggers #BlackBlogger #BlackBloggerEvent #BloggerEvent #UKBloggers #BB_Bloggers. Following channels like Black British Bloggers is a great way to find out about stuff happening.

In June I attended the #BBBSocial and from that one event I have made great blogger friends, found other events to attend for the Black blogging community, discovered great blogs and social channels to follow and even found myself here in your inbox!

Make sure you have a fully charged phone at events and use the hashtags they have created so people can follow your coverage during the event. After events make sure you look at the hashtag to find others who were there. Retweet & follow them to build your network and make friends! Don’t forget to learn from the event too. The chance is you’ll be at an event with other bloggers, ask questions and take notes. You never know when you’re going to get struck by that wonderful idea!

Don’t be afraid to ask
If there’s a brand that you love and want to blog about don’t be afraid to ask to work with them! You will need to get a media kit together so you can show them who you are, what your blog is about and share some useful stats about your social media.

Remember that while it’s great to get freebies, don’t forget to support Black owned businesses too. Sometimes buying the items you want to review is really the best way you can support a business. If your proposal for a blog post is rejected, don’t stress about it! There will be plenty of opportunities to work with other brands and who knows in the next few months that brand may get in touch with you.

Branding is important
Being a graphic designer I have literally studied how important branding is for four years! If you’re starting a blog you should think about being consistent with your message but also with your image - your logo, the colours you use and consistency through all your platforms. I also run Afro Glory Design, a Black owned graphic design business. If you’re thinking about getting a logo, social media covers or personalised Instagram posts you can email me


I created my own logo for Afro Glory and I love her! People ask about it all the time and they recognise it very quickly. It’s simple, fun and completely matches my blog. I can apply it to other things like my business cards, any merchandise I wanted to sell or even adapt it for events. I thought about all of this when I created my logo. I now have a consistent image that is simple, easily recognisable, adaptable and fun! These are the kinds of things I would encourage you to think about when building your brand and designing your logo.

Editors note: Since this post was first published in the newsletter, Shahira has launched an Etsy Store for her designs which include a line of greeting cards and pocket mirrors. She has also produced custom cards for Palmers UK. Look out for her new range of afrocentric prints and greeting cards in the new year!

People listen to people
It’s really important to remember you’re talking to real people. Stay true to yourself. People can relate to people so if you speak like a robot you will sound like a robot. Remember why you created your online space and stay true to your tone of voice. You don’t have to talk about your deepest personal thoughts or experiences but making it easy for people to relate to you is a great way to allow your audience to connect with you.

Take good photos
You’ve probably heard this a million times before but I’m going to say it again: take good photos!! If someone visits your blog and sees terrible photos it could really put them off. You don’t need a DSLR when you’re starting out. You can use your phone camera just fine. My top 3 photography improvement tips are: take straight photos, don’t over use filters & use natural daylight but not direct sunlight.

Did you know Apple do free photo walks for iPhone users? They will teach you how to take great photos and edit them all on your iPhone for FREE! Check out their website for details. Alternatively if you’re looking for good photos and you have a budget, hire a photographer to take some for you while you’re still learning or ask a friend who is studying photography if they need a model for portfolio work and if you can use the photos for your blog.

It’s not all about the numbers
You can see from my Instagram I don’t have thousands of followers but what I do have (and really enjoy) is fantastic engagement! I always reply to comments and messages. I love talking to my followers and seeing what they are up to. This is more important to some brands than the numbers. Think about it this way, if you have a hair care brand for afro hair and wanted to work with a blogger to get more engagement for your business would you go to:
Blogger A) who has 10,000 followers who are 50% white, 50% black, 50% female, 50% male
Blogger B) who has 1,000 followers 80% black, 20% white 80% female, 20% male?
It’s not all about numbers. If you concentrate on the numbers you’ll just get stressed out, competitive and miss out on a really wonderful journey!

You don’t have to blog about EVERYTHING
During my first few months as a blogger I felt like I had to write about every event I attended but in reality it’s not possible! I have two jobs and run my own business so finding time to blog about everything can be difficult. When you really love an event and you want to share that experience with others or when you are invited to an event as press you should definitely write about it but you don’t have to tell everyone about your cup of tea at aunt Trudie's house. Having a blog gives you the freedom to create a space of interesting content for your followers. If you blog about tea, then I’m sure your followers would LOVE to hear what aunt Trudie is serving!

Be organised
If you’re a busy person and you still want to create a blog my advice is to go for it! Like I said before I have two jobs and my own business but I still have time to run Afro Glory and that’s because I’m organised with my time (and enjoy it). I have created a free printable download for you guys over on my blog to help you get organised and stay on top of things.

Enjoy it!
Running a blog shouldn’t feel like you’re going to work. I mean don’t get me wrong, I totally get in a zone and even sometimes say ‘I’m busy working’ when I’m writing a post or trying to take photos but it doesn’t ever feel like the 9-5 slog! I really love writing posts for Afro Glory and sharing my content with everyone. I love knowing that I can help people who are on their natural hair journey, who are struggling to make their mind up about attending an event, who need advice and support on living with anxiety. My blog is my happy place!

I actually started blogging as a way to de-stress and I can honestly say all areas of my life have improved since launching Afro Glory. I wish you all the best of luck and happiness in your blogging journey. I hope you’ve found this really useful and please feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions or need a cute logo!

afro glory.png

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