Google Analytics is one of the most useful tools you can use when it comes to your business or blog website. In part 1 of my Google Analytics guide I want to show you how to set it up for your site and then how to get started in using the wealth of information it gives you!
What is Google Analytics and why use it?
It's basically a free, web-based, tracking and reporting service that allows you to see vital information on how well your website is performing.
You can see things like; how many people are visiting your site, where they come from, how long they stay for, how they found you and what pages or blog posts are being viewed the most. All super valuable stats that can help you to refine your website over time!
The only caveat to it is to try not to get too worried over the numbers. They are very interesting and useful to help you improve your business or blog but don't get sucked into checking them obsessively. Just keep an eye on them maybe once a month or to analyse certain activities, they're there to help you not to stress you out!
How to install Google Analytics on your website
1 - Create an account at www.google.com/analytics and click on 'sign into Google Analytics in the top right hand corner to be guided through the set up process
2 - You'll then need to set up a 'property' which is essentially your website for Google to track. This guide tells you how to do this step-by-step.
3 - Finally set up web tracking (instructions on how to do this are HERE) and add the Google Analytics tracking ID code (the UA-XXXXXXXX-X number) to your website so that it can start collecting data to show you. To find your tracking ID code in Google Analytics click on the 'Admin' tab then select 'tracking info then 'tracking code' from the middle column headed up as 'Property':
How to get started with reading your analytics
Once you've set up Google analytics I'd recommend giving it a week or so to collect some data but once you've got some figures in there here are three overview reports to get your started. I'll come back to how to use google analytics and read your statistics in more detail in a future blog post as it can get fairly involved!
1 - Audience overview
This is the first set of information you'll see once your logged in. On a basic level it shows you how many visitors have been on your site in a specific time period. It usually defaults to the last month so make sure you've set the date parameters in the top right hand corner drop down box!
Here's what some of the statistics listed mean (again they're shown for a specific time period so make sure you select the right dates first!):
Sessions - the total number of times your website has been viewed (so it includes multiple visits from one user)
Users - the total number of individual people who've visited your website
Pageviews - the total number of pages that were viewed by the 'users' that visited
Pages / Session - the average number of pages someone views when the visit your site
Avg. Session Duration - the average length of time that each visitor spends on your website
Bounce Rate - the percentage of visitors who leave your website after landing on your home page (so have only viewed one page)
% of New Sessions - the percentage of people who are visiting your site for the first time (in blue on the pie chart on the right hand side) and the percentage of new visitors are in green.
2 - Acquisition Overview
If you click on 'Acquisition' from the left hand side menu then select 'overview' this basic report will show you where your website visitors are coming from (in your specified date range at the top):
The categories here are fairly self explanatory:
Social - the number of click-throughs to your website from social media (apart from Instagram)
Direct - the number of people who just type in your website address to the navigate bar visit your website
Referral - the number of people being referred to your website from a link on another website
Organic Search - the number of people who have found your website through a search engine like Google when searching for keywords related to your business or blog
3 - Behaviour Overview
Click on 'Behaviour' then 'Behaviour overview' on the left hand side of your screen to bring up a summary of what content on your site has been most popular in your given date range:
You can see from the example above that the number one viewed page is listed as '/' which is referring to your website home-page. The other's will all be pages on your website or blog posts that have been viewed the most.
I hope this guide has been helpful for you to get started with Google Analytics? Look out for part 2 on how to use Google Analytics to enhance your website coming up in a few weeks!