Arghhhh! That’s quite often the response when people start looking at the data in their Google Analytics account.
If you’ve set up your Google Analytics like I showed you in a previous post, you may have already had the same experience. This post aims to start leading you gently through some of the basic things you’d want to get from your Google Analytics account.
Log in to Google Analytics
and log in to your Google Analytics account.
You’ll see a page with a list like this:
With a list of websites – yours will just have one if you’ve just set up your Google Analytics account.
Open up the folders like this:
And click on All Website Data – you may see the web address instead, but that seems to be for sites set up in the past.
You’ll be taken to the main Analytics screen for your account. Click on Dashboards and My Dashboard on the left and you’ll see a screen with many of the key pieces of data. I’ve customised my dashboard and added another customised Dashboard, designed for bloggers – so don’t worry if my Dashboard looks nothing like yours.
Until you get to know more about the summaries on the Dashboard, it will probably make more sense to look at the individual report pages.
Check the date
Look towards the top right of the screen. Here, you can set up the timespan you want to look at in the drop-down window.
Most people want to look at the last month (28/29/30/31 days) but you might want look at the current or last calendar month, the last 12 months, this year or last year.
You can set up the dates as you wish. And you can compare your time period with a previous one.
How many visitors are you getting?
This is one of the fundamentals we all look at. Are your online marketing efforts bringing in more traffic? And what are the characteristics of the traffic?
Some facts and figures – and what they mean
Have a look through the tables and graphs, and you’ll see a list of:
- Number of visits
- Number of unique visitors – visitors may come to your site more than once, so this gives you a better idea of the size of your audience
- Pageviews – literally, the total number of views there have been of any of the pages on your site
- Pages/Visit – how many pages, on average, are looked at during a visit. This is a guide to how appealing your content is
- Average Visit Duration – how long a visitor, on average, stays on your site. Also an measure of how appealing your content is
- Bounce rate – the percentage of visits that do not move from the landing page into the site. Often used as a measure of the quality of your content, and possibly the appeal of the site’s design
- % of new visits – how many visits have been made by people who haven’t visited your site before. Some argue that more new visits means better search engine, social media and e-mail campaign performance; others argue that increased repeat visits mean a greater level of loyalty. What have you been trying to achieve?
At this stage, try clicking on the pull-down menu under the Overview tab – you can set it to show any of the above, and get an idea of the trends.
Where do your readers live?
Or, at least, where are they located geographically when they visit your site?
Simply click on Country/Territory or City, under Demographics.
This kind of information can be very important if your business is a locally-focused one, or you operate in a clearly-defined territory.
How do you use this data? Does this article help you make more sense of what’s happening on your site?