Starting Out With Google Analytics

19th January 2011

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.

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