Google Analytics is a free tracking tool that generates detailed website statistics. It’s easy to set up, easy to access and anyone can use at least its basic features. I integrate it with every website build, so here are a few practical ways of utilising its reports (other than simply checking how many hits you’ve had) for those who are just getting started.
- Select Traffic Sources > Referring Sites. This is an essential report for anyone running advertising campaigns. It will tell you who is linking to your site and how much traffic they’re bringing in.
- Select Content > Content By Title. This will bring up a list of all your pages and how many times they’ve been viewed. Pay particular attention to the ‘Time on Page’ and ‘Bounce Rate’ because if a certain page has both a low time on page average and a high bounce rate, chances are there’s something on it that’s driving people away from your site.
- Select Visitors > Network Properties > Connection Speed. Find out how many of your visitors are still coming over dialup or ISDN. If its a significant percentage you might want to look at reducing the size of your pages so they can still be loaded in a reasonable time.
- Select Content > In-Page Analytics. It allows you to visualise how your users interact with your site. You can see which links they’re clicking and so this is a great tool in assessing whether your ‘call to actions’ are being answered. Are people clicking on your product features and adverts? Are they finding your navigation easily enough?
- Select Visitors > Map Overlay. This will give you a good idea where in the world your visitors are coming from. You may be surprised how far afield people are finding you from.