Ever wonder how people see your website? Is your web design bringing people in or turning them away? And how much traffic are you experiencing at different times in the day? The device to answer all of these questions is Google Analytics—a website tracker that makes it easy for anyone to monitor visitors to his or her website and analyze data to improve the website’s performance.
In this article, we will explore the art of using this powerful tool to help improve your website and keep your site ahead of the competition.
1. Setting Up Google Analytics
In order to use Google Analytics, you first need to set up an account. Simply go to https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=analytics&userexp=signup&hl=en to create an account. Once you’ve finished, Google will provide you with an identifying code that is unique to your website. Keep track of this code, because you’ll need to implement it on your website to allow Google Analytics to gather information.
The process of imputing this code is different to each system. Platforms like WordPress or Tumblr require the code to be implemented only once on the theme, while custom built sites may require it on each page. Google Analytics will provide you with more specific instructions for your website when you set up your account.
2. What’s On Google Dashboard?
When the code is implemented properly, Google should begin gathering data from your site within 24 hours and provide you with charts that can give you an overview of your site’s performance.
To see these data collections, go to Google Analytics and hit “view report.” This will load the main Dashboard, which will display the types of data you can access. As with all things Google, the problem with Google Analytics is not navigating the menu, but figuring out what exactly you want to measure. Are you looking for the traffic flow or the average time visitors’ spent on your site? Is it more helpful to look at data by the hour or by the week?
These are questions only you can answer based on your needs. To help you get started, we’ve included a list of the Dashboard data sections and a description of what you can expect to find in each:
- Visitors: This displays information about users on your site, including where the users are located, what language they speak, how often they visit your site.
- Traffic Sources: This section will show you how people stumbled upon your site. More specifically, you can track what sites have links to your page or keywords people search to find you.
- Content: Here, you can get insight onto specific pages of your site, such as which ones are most popular and how people navigated the site to find different pages.
- Goals: Have a specific objective in mind for your site? In the Goals section, you’ll find data about desired actions from users, including downloads and purchases.
- Ecommerce: If you are selling merchandise on your site, this section gives data on transactions and revenue activity.
3. More advanced features
The best thing to do with the data sections given above is to experiment—determine what works and what produces the best data. That being said, below are some features of Google Analytics that we found most help.
Content Drilldown: this gives you all the info of your pages in one quick summary. If you are looking for data that reflects your site as a whole, this is a good place to start. Not only does it provide overall data on the number of hits, it also analyzes the use of different pages of your site. This allows you to know which pages have the least amount of traffic and may require improvement.
Entrance Sources: This feature lists all the search engines that your visitors are using to access your sites, whether Google or a competitor. To access this, simply click on Dashboard’s top 5 most accessed pages and click on the Entrance Sources link on the chart that appears. This feature can help you determine your success in using keywords on your page, so your site shows up more often on search engines.
Content by title: This feature will show you which of your posts and links are most popular with users. Understanding what resonates best with your visitors can help you create similar content that will continue to attract your target audience to your site.
Understanding how viewers see your site is crucial in making improvements to your site—that is the whole purpose behind Google Analytics. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of Google Analytics, so you can use it to make the most of your website and grab the attention of your target audience.
Category: Website Tips