What You Need To Know About Google Analytics
Part 2 - Visitor Overview
The Visitor Overview provides information about the people who have visited your website. At the top of the page is another chart tracking the number of visitors for the past 30 days. Change the date range just as you would on the Dashboard.
The most important thing to remember with the Visitor Overview is that the term visitor is different from the term visit. A visitor is defined as actual unique people rather than the number of times they have visited. Yes, the same person can visit your site multiple times, thereby increasing your visit numbers but not your unique visitor numbers. The key thing to take away from this is that to truly know how many people are visiting your website, you need to know how many Absolute Unique Visitors have come to your website.
Other really cool things about the Visitor Overview is that it displays the number of pages the visitor has viewed (PageViews), an average per visitor (Average Pageviews), the percentage of visitors who have left immediately (Bounce Rate) and the percentage of visits that are from new visitors to your website (New Visits).
The coolest thing however - in my opinion - is the Time on Site results. This is the amount of time your users spend on your website and is part of what is known as "stickiness". I'll discuss stickiness in more detail in a future post but for now just keep in mind that the higher the Time on Site results the more time your visitor stays on your website - leading to greater stickiness. One rule of thumb I've heard is that any Time On Site over 30 seconds is a success. That means the average of all visits to a website has been over 30 seconds. Keep in mind, though, that Time on Site can be skewed by people coming to your website and then leaving their browser window open without ending the session. So while it is is a cool number to know, drill into the numbers to see if it is a trend or just a fluke. Time will tell.
Also on the Visitor Overview is Visitor Segmentation which allows you to see the Languages your website has been viewed in (this tracks the default language selection as defined by the user's browser), Network Locations (helpful in determining trends among users) as well as Browser Profiles (allowing you to customize your website to your users technical capabilities - things like Flash version, browser/operating system combination and screen resolutions most visitors use to access your website.)
Lastly, on the Visitor Overview you will see the Technical Profile of your visitors. This is a list of the prevalent Browsers your visitors use to access your site as well as their Connection Speed. Why is this important?
Knowing which browser your visitors use to access your website may impact how you interact with them and what applications/plug-ins you offer (example: some applications/plug-ins don't work very well with Safari browsers - if you have a lot of users coming from Safari, you may want to re-think using that applications/plug-ins).
Connection Speed is becoming less relevant with the expansion of broadband acceptance. However, if you find that you have a lot of dial-up users, you may want to avoid using a lot of video on your website (for example).
Visitor Overview: What you need to know
The Visitor Overview tells you if your traffic is coming from a few people visiting you many times or several people visiting once. It also allows you to see how sticky your website is (more on that in future posts) and what technical issues may be impacting your traffic.
The next post in the Google Analytics Series:
Part 3 - Map Overlay
Other posts include:
Part 1 - Dashboard
Part 4 - Traffic Sources Overview
Part 5 - Content Overview