Ever wondered how many people visit your website? Ever wondered how they found your website? Ever wondered what they did once they arrived?
It’s easy to find all of that information. All you need is Google Analytics? I know what some of you are thinking right now:
What the heck are Google Analytics?
Answer: one of the most important tools that any website owner or blogger has to determine the effectiveness and direction of their online marketing.
To be more specific, Google has a set of online tools that will help you track how many people visit your website, how they found your website, what they looked at and how long they stayed. If that doesn’t sound useful to you, please get off the internet right now. Really.
For those of you who would like to know more about Google Analytics – we’re going to kick this off with a primer on using it.
You’ll need a Google account. Maybe you already have a gmail or Google+ account, in which case – you’re good. For the rest of you, you’ll need an account. You can sign up for one at the Analytics home page.
Add the tracking code to your website and save it.
Now head on over to the Analytics page. click on HOME and you’ll see a snapshot of your website traffic.
Why isn’t there any traffic on my website? What happened?
Calm down – Google has just started tracking your website, so it has NO IDEA what happened yesterday or the day before. All of your data will be from this point forward.
What kind of information can you see in Google Analytics?
Let’s take a look at the “Standard Reporting” for a brand new website. This site hasn’t launched yet, so the only traffic we’ll see is the one or two times I’ve visited it while adding the Analytics code.
On the left side of the page, you’ll see a menu where we can drill down on all of the different data available.
Audience – who is visiting your site.
Demographics – what countries are they located in and what languages do they speak
Behavior – are they new here or returning visitors.
Technology – what browsers are they using, what network are they on?
Mobile – how many are using mobile and what devices are they using
Traffic Sources – where are they coming from
Sources – are they here via a link, a search or a direct visit
Search – what search terms led them to you
Google Analytics Graphs
The graphs take up most of the screen and give you a quick visual clue as to how your site is doing. Let’s take a look at what’s here:
That great big graph on the top is the number of VISITS in the last month. You can change it to hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. You can even change the time frame and compare it to a previous time period. As you can see, my new site has only 2 visits today.
Below this big graph, you’ll see a bunch of smaller graphs and a pie chart. That pie chart tells you how many of your visitors were new vs. returning. Click on any one of those little graphs and it will take the place of the Visits chart so you can see the data better.
Visits – this is how many times someone has navigated to any of the pages on your website that have the tracking code installed.
Unique Visitors – If someone visits twice, they will only be counted as one unique visitor.
Pageviews – how many total pages have been viewed. If a page is viewed more than once, it gets counted each time someone looks at it.
Pages/Visit – when someone comes to your site, how many pages do they look at?
Average visit duration – how long does someone linger on your site? If it’s a few seconds, you know that they didn’t find what they were looking for.
Bounce Rate – this is always fun to explain: it is the percentage of visitors who visit your site and “bounce” (leave the site) instead of staying to view other pages.
% New visits – how many of the people haven’t visited your website before
In the next post, we’ll look at a real example and how to interpret some of the results. In the meantime, get started on adding Google Analytics to your site. If you have them already, spend the next couple of days getting familiar with the data available. If you have questions about them, ask in the comments below!
Note – most of this information was previously published in a series of articles on my other blog. http://massagetherapyworld.com/2012/08/google-analytics-part-1/ and http://massagetherapyworld.com/2012/08/google-analytics-part-2-what-does-all-that-data-mean/