A Crash Course in Google Analytics: A Peek Under Your Website’s Hood
Google Analytics, in its most simple form, is your website’s dashboard showing you how people behave on your website. Curious how long people spend on your website? Google Analytics. Interested in which cities contribute most to your traffic? Google Analytics. Do want to know what % of people visit from a mobile device or a tablet? Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is powerful, deep and reports on a plethora of data. In this Hollander Excellence blog, we point out a couple of the most important sections in your Google Analytics dashboard, and show how you can take action to maximize user visits to your website. This blog assumes you already have Google Analytics installed (if you don’t, click here).
With that in mind, let’s start with the two universal goals of your website:
1. Convert visitors into customers (via phone call, contact form, email signup, etc.)
2. Keep users around longer (more page views, more clicks, longer visits, etc. ultimately supports #1)
The above dashboard is the 1st thing you see when you log into Google Analytics.
1. The left-hand side is our menu, showing each high level category/option
2. The primary graph shows total daily traffic
3. The lower secondary graphics show “quick hit” information, such as:
- Total visitors (sessions)
- Total pages viewed (Pageviews)
- How long users stay (Average Session Duration)
- How many people visit just your homepage, and immediately leave (Bounce Rate)
Keep in mind, the original goals of our website: garnering more visitors and a (what’s called) deeper visits, meaning users visiting more pages, staying longer, etc. At surface level, how many users are visiting 2-3 pages? On what days did your traffic peak? Then from there… how can we improve each of these numbers?
Next up, what I consider to be the 2 most important sections of Google Analytics:
Under Audience -> Technology -> Browser & OS (left-hand side), you can see what % of users visit your site using a tablet or mobile phone. The reason this is important is because with tablet and mobile usage on the rise, mobile website optimization is one of the single biggest factors impacting your website’s usability.
Under Audience -> Geo -> Location, you can see on a country, state or city level, where your visitors are coming from. Again, the data may surprise you. I personally like to look at this information to contrast the data with my advertising efforts. Advertisements hit users differently and it’s possible a Facebook campaign or radio ad peaks users from one city over another.
In conclusion, the reach of Google Analytics is so great, there will most certainly be a follow up article on Google Analytics (and maybe a video)! But before signing off, my last point is this: the numbers don’t lie. As a business owner if you run a promotion and more dollars come in the door, it was considered successful. Similarly, if you review your Google Analytics and the numbers look like they can be improved – it’s because they can. Stay tuned for Part 2 and happy reporting.