Google Analytics is a brilliant tool for monitoring goal conversions on a blog or website. I believe this is one of the reasons why people keep coming back to Google Analytics time and time again... It just makes life so much easier for us all, especially when we know how to use it!
There are a number of ways we can track goals using GA. The Goal setup page can be found on the profile setting page. Here's a screenshoot of what the GA Goal setup page looks like:
There are other options avaiable for the goal type and they include URL destination and Time on site.
Time on site is quite self explainatory. If a visitor spends more than 2 mins on your website, that could be seen as a type of goal, especially when it seems as though you have a very high bounce rate (number of people who leave your website without visiting other pages).
URL Destination is a goal such that when people visit a particular page, it leads to a conversion. An example of a page you would want to track is your contact us page or if it's an e-commerce site, maybe the payment page. Although this could be done easily enough by just checking the page views for such pages on GA. However, the URL Destination goal takes it a step further...
A well setup URL destination goal can be used to see where people are abandoning a goal or leaving your site, especially if it's an e-commerce site. So say someone lands on the homepage of an e-commerce site and then moves on to the catergory page then the product page and finally processes to check out; All these can be put in as steps to a goal conversion. If someone drops out during any of these steps, you'll be able to see it as a failed goal. You would also be able to see what page prevented them from achieving a goal. Once you know the page you could possibly solve half of the problem, especially if it's an error from your end. It can be quite handy!
The other way to track goals is by tracking 'clickthroughs' for various pages. So every time someone clicks on a link, it tracks it as a goal (set up like the URL Destination goal, but we use what we call virtual pages). This is especially great for tracking external links on your website or blog, you get to see how whether people leave your site via that link and how many too. If this sounds interesting to your then have a read of Event tracking guide using Google Analytics, which I found very helpful when I wanted to set up a few myself. It's quite a long read, involves a bit of coding but the results are worth it.
That's just a brief intro into setting up goals with Google Analytics. There are lots of cool things you can do with your goals on GA, aside from checking conversion rates and step by step goal conversion, but I decided not to go into too much details on this or else this would be a very very long post. But hopefully it should all make sense. And if it doesn't or you have something to say about setting goals, please drop me a comment or send and email and I'll get back to you.