Google Analytics: Getting Started

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Google Analytics is a free service that lets you monitor your website statistics, such as the number of visitors received to your website in any given period. There is a whole range of different data sets that allow you as a website owner to begin to understand the behaviour and demographics of your online website visitor. Google Analytics displays these results through a dashboard, which can be customised to give you the overview that you want to see.

Google Analytics contains a large volume of data and it can be a case of information overload for the typical beginner. This article contains some useful tips and information to get you started.

Useful Metrics To Know About Your Website

There are several basic metrics to measure on your site:

  • Sessions. The total number of times your site was visited in a given period. You can also compare to a previous period to help identify changes.
  • Users. The number individual people accessing your site – one user may have multiple sessions, which can be useful information if your site desires repeat visitors.
  • Pageviews. The total number of pages visited on average by each visitor. This can be broken down further so you can see which pages were most popular. A high number of pageviews can help confirm that people are interested in your site as they are interacting with it.
  • Pages Per Session. The average number of pages each user viewed during any given session.
  • Average Session Duration. Helps measure the length of time people stay on your website.
  • Bounce Rate. When someone clicks onto your site then immediately hits back on their browser, that’s a “bounce.” High bounce rates mean your landing page may not be appealing or relevant to what your customer was hoping to find..
  • Keywords:. Help you identify the search terms people are using in Google to find your website. If a keyword is receiving a high “bounce rate”, you should review the content of this page to see how you can improve it.

Setting Good Business Goals

One of the most useful features of Google Analytics is being able to set tangible goals on your site. A goal on Analytics is simply something you are trying to achieve from your visitor. This may be a conversion measurement, such as completing an enquiry form, buying your product or signing up to a blog. It could also be achieving a number of users to your website in a month or an average number of pageviews. These goals will be recorded for the number of times they’re achieved, and you can set either a numeric or monetary value to start measuring the true effectiveness of your website.

Improving Conversions

“Conversion” is another word for goals, and usually signify that they have some financial benefit for your company – direct or indirect. The purpose of any commercial website is to increase the rate of these conversions, and the statistics provided by Analytics can help you do the following:

  • Identify strong points and weak points in your conversion process. “Funnels” are graphics that display how many users get to a certain page (eg, the confirmation page of an order), and how they got there. It also shows where they’re abandoning the process, giving you a solid starting point to reassess your site design.
  • Figure out which of your landing pages are providing the most conversions, and optimise and focus further traffic on them with SEO and advertising techniques.
  • Develop your conversion pages and techniques. Google Analytics data is constantly flowing in, so it’s possible to observe how changes affect your conversion rates. Using the data provided, make alterations to the parts that are turning people off and keep track of the difference this makes.
  • Create custom reports. Keep all the most important numbers in one easy place.
  • Refine your strategy. If you’re finding a lot of traffic is heading to pages you weren’t expecting, or is coming from keywords you weren’t necessarily targeting, it may be time to readjust your focus. Likewise, if your conversions are simply too low, a complete overhaul of your online strategy may be needed to get you back on track.
  • Share the data. Once you’ve compiled it, Analytics gives you several options for presenting it.

The most important information that Google Analytics gives you is where your website is going wrong, and where your site is going right.

Related Posts: An Introduction To Top Reports, Building A Custom Dashboard, Goals and Conversions, In-Page Analysis, Sharing Data, Social Media


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Katie is a lover of words and art, born and raised in Christchurch. With a BA in English and Japanese, she’s happiest tapping away at her keyboard writing copy or articles, or else working on the latest illustration. To balance the creative side, Katie is also very motivated and a bit of a perfectionist, which helps with her SEO duties. Although her hobbies could probably be described as art, art and more art, she also enjoys long walks, good friends and travel.

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