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In order to carry out the below, you need to have Google Analytics set-up for your blog. If you pay for hosting (i.e. not with Wordpress/Blogger’s free option), this will be as simple as adding a Google Analytics plug-in. If you are on free hosting with Wordpress or Blogger, however, you will not be able to implement until you are self-hosted due to the platforms’ limitations.
Why should bloggers use UTM codes to track visits to their site?
Sometimes Google Analytics struggles to track exactly where visits are coming from, particularly if someone discovers a page on your website via a link within a social media app, such as Facebook.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the myriad of different social media platforms to share your content on? There are so many different options now, it is impossible for bloggers to keep all platforms updated and trying to do so can quickly become unmanageable. Tracking visits from the different platforms can help you to understand which platform generates the most visits, and what sort of posts and topics your followers like. This means you can spend your time efficiently engaging with your readers. If you have affiliate links on your blog, this can help you to focus your efforts and earn more money.
How to set them up
Head to Google URL Builder, you will be greeted with some information on what the tool does, then scroll down to ‘URL Builder Form’. A screenshot below shows you which bit this is:
In the field where it says ‘enter website URL’ make sure you enter the full web address of that page, not just the homepage of your website (unless of course you’re trying to track the homepage). For instance, to track the Portland Street blog I’d type in http://portland-street.co.uk/blog not just http://portland-street.co.uk/.
You will need to make a new UTM code for:
- Each web page
- Each social media channel/referring website
For instance, if you share the same blog post on Facebook and Twitter, you will need a separate UTM code for each network.
How to monitor the pages’ performance in Google Analytics
The whole point of setting up the tagged URLs is to make it easy to attribute campaigns. To find where this information is, log into your Analytics account then head to ‘Acquisition’ then ‘Campaigns’.
You will end up with campaign names and visits next to them, as shown below.
The names of the campaigns above are based on the last field you fill in on the Google URL Builder called ‘campaign name’, so make sure you have named them something memorable and descriptive. Don’t just name it ‘competition’ but rather name it something like ‘Lego comp’. At the same time, don’t name it something too long, as this adds to the length of the URL, which doesn’t make it very friendly or easy to share.
Within the Campaigns section, you can view the number of views each campaign received, broken down by source (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) as well as other interesting metrics such new users, time spent on the website and any goals you have set up.
If you want to learn more about how you can use Google Analytics to make your blog awesome, then sign up to Portland Street for free using the form at the top of this page, and you will receive the guide straight to your inbox!