Taking advantage of Google Analytics for web journalists

Posted on April 19, 2012

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I’ve been slowly wading through the uses and benefits of Google Analytics, and I’ve definitely found that there is much more than meets the eye — especially for web journalists.

The technology blog Hellbound Bloggers recently listed 15 uses of Google Analytics that most consumers may not know about, and I found that a handful of them could specifically be beneficial for newspapers and online news sites.

Track missing pages

With newspapers and news sites posting online content on a daily basis, archived content is especially important when it comes to optimizing presence on search engines. Well, you can’t have people searching for your content if the content is missing. Google Analytics allows you to not only track missing pages that have 404 error messages, giving you a virtual page view listing the URL’s of missing sites.

Tutorial: Track 404 Errors on your Website as they Happen

See your Adsense earnings

Many news sites — especially smaller ones that don’t have consistent advertisers — rely on Google Adsense to fill ad space on their sites. Google Analytics can be synced with Adsense to allow you to track how your revenue from Adsense is breaking down. Tracking this can allow you to not only optimize revenue from underperforming aspects of Adsense, but also take advantage of the users who are making you the most money.

Tutorial: Linking Adsense and Analytics (video)

Track e-mail/RSS feed clicks 

With fewer and fewer users navigating content from the homepage, it has become more and more important to have effective subscription e-mails and RSS feeds to send users relevant content. Google Analytics allows you to track both e-mail and RSS feed clicks, giving editors a better picture of how to best reach online readers.

Tutorial: Tracking Clicks in Emails Using Google Analytics

Check your site loading speed

This new feature in Google Analytics tracks you site’s speed and loading time, allowing you to see just how frustrated readers are getting when trying to access your site. Nobody likes waiting a while for a page to load, and this feature can tell you if you need to be investing in site maintenance for your site.

Understanding users’ navigation patterns

The goal of online editors shouldn’t be just to get people on your site, it should be to get them to stay on your site. Google Analytics can tell you exactly how a user arrived on your site, as well as where they go afterwards.

Tutorial: How to use the Google Analytics Navigation Summary Report

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