What You Need To Know About Google Analytics
Part 1 - Dashboard
Google Analytics is one way to determine how people are finding and using your website. Many people use this free service yet do not know exactly what they are looking at. Google Analytics is a very powerful tool with lots of features. Consequently, this series of posts will concentrate not on every detail but on the features you will interact with frequently and those that provide you a basis to know how it can make your website successful.
Part One: Dashboard
Right out of the chute is the Dashboard - the first page that displays when you open your Google Analytics profile. On this page is a load of facts and figures and charts.
At the top of the page is a chart of the traffic numbers for the past 30 days. You can select a different time period by clicking on the date range in the right corner - this displays a calendar.
Below the chart is the Site Usage data. This is a snapshot of visitors and what they are doing on the site. The terms used on the page are fairly straight forward but some need a bit of explanation:
Visits: this is the number of times users have visited your site.
Pageviews: the number of pages that have been viewed. This will likely be higher than the total number of pages on your site (hopefully). Each view of a page is tracked separately - even those made by the same person.
Pages/Visit: the number of pageviews divided by the number of visits. This gives an average of how many pages are viewed during each visit. Not a hugely helpful number though.
Bounce Rate: a Bounce is when someone visits your site and then leaves immediately. We've all done it when we've ended up where we didn't want to be. This just tracks that activity. It also tells you if people are staying on your site. A low Bounce rate is a good thing.
Average Time on Site: The average length of time a user has spent on their visit to your site.
Percentage New Visitors: How many people have come to your site for the first time as a percentage of all visitors.
The rest of the Dashboard displays condensed reports of other user behaviors which will be covered in future entries to this series. They include Visitor Overview, Map Overlay, Traffic Sources Overview and Content Overview
Dashboard: What you need to know
Seeing your traffic and visitor numbers from a high level view helps you quickly track how well your website is performing. You can tell right away if something is going well (or not) just by seeing how your traffic is doing. You will need to drill into each area if you need more details to help determine a solution to slow traffic - unless that is what you expected in the first place.
The next post in the Google Analytics Series:
Part 2 - Visitor Overview
Other posts include:
Part 3 - Map Overlay
Part 4 - Traffic Sources Overview
Part 5 - Content Overview