Beginners Guide To Google Analytics

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Google Analytics

Google Analytics has fast become one of the most popular website Analytics applications used by web designers and online businesses today. If you’re not yet familiar with its wide range of tools, or if you’re yet to be convinced that Google Analytics is for you, here’s what it’s all about…

Is Google Analytics For You?

What Does It Do?

Google Analytics performs a detailed analysis of a website’s functionality. It allows you to get a clearer picture of how your site is used. For example: you’ll learn how many people per day leave your site without clicking a single link (known as bounce rate), you’ll find out which pages are most frequently landed on, which channels direct the most traffic and which routes are most likely to lead to commercial results. Armed with this information, you can begin to make tailored improvements to address your site’s particular needs.

Here are some examples of the data that you can find in Google Analytics;

Visits

Google Analytics

Unique Visits

Google Analytics

Pageviews

Google Analytics

Pages / Visit

Google Analytics

Bounce Rate

Google Analytics

Avg. Visit Duration

Google Analytics

Location Demographics

Google Analytics

Who Is It For?

Anyone with a website or an online business can make use of Google Analytics. It’s an application for anyone who wants to learn how best to improve their site in order to achieve goals, whether this is the number of T-shirts sold, customer surveys completed or business inquiries received.

Visit Tracking

Analytics allows you to separate site users into a number of different categories. For example, an e-commerce site might use categories such as: ‘new user,’ ‘new users who create accounts,’ ‘new users who add to cart,’ ‘new users who purchase,’ etc.

You can also track the activity of returning visitors—to  see who comes back to browse products or purchase or who continues to land on the site without taking further action.

New vs. Returning Visitors

Google Analytics

Conversion Rate Optimization

Once you know more about who is visiting your site, how long they stay and what they do there, you can start to work on your Conversion Rate Optimization. This means holding attention for longer, getting more clicks, more views or more sales. To learn how your site could reach the next level, you’ll find top conversion tips here.

Set Fresh Targets

Analytics allows you to set a range of goals, from keeping people interested in your site or getting more customers to add themselves to your mailing list and (via the ‘e-commerce’ feature) keeping track of sales and revenue. By dividing your targets into simple categories, you’ll be able to effectively measure your progress in each. For example: if you’ve improved your interface and customers are spending longer browsing your products, that’s a great result. If this still isn’t translating to sales then perhaps you need to work on creating a more intuitive route to take users from cart to checkout.

Widen Your Platform

One of the most useful features of Google Analytics is that you can see how many people are accessing your site through a tablet or mobile.

Mobile Device Info

Google Analytics

If your site doesn’t offer great functionality to mobile users, this could affect conversion rates. Make sure that your site is accessible to everyone, however they reach you.

Stay Informed

‘Intelligence’ is a new feature of Analytics that allows you to keep on top of the information that Google Analytics provides. It allows users to customize their update settings, so when a certain kind of data is received – when a particular route is followed or a number of sales have been made – an update will be sent you as an email notification.

Social Media

If your website is linked to social media sites, Analytics will help you to see how effective these are at directing traffic back to your site. You can see how many visits came via Twitter or Facebook and experiment with improving your use of these tools to see how more traffic might encouraged.

Social Media

Google Analytics

These are just some of the ways in which Google Analytics can help your website, in reality this is just the tip of the iceberg.  The biggest benefit to your business is seeing areas that are working, and more importantly, areas that aren’t.  Once you know where you can improve, you can set about working to fix those aspects and ultimately grow your website.

Keen to give it a go but not sure where to start? Using a whole new application – particularly one as intricate and multi-functional as Google Analytics – can feel like an intimidating move. But you can make life easy for yourself when you follow the step-by-step directions contained within this simple Google Analytics guide.

About Alyssa Ennis

Alyssa is a Seattle-based blogger who also works at Distilled. With her strong understanding of marketing strategy, business blogging, and content creation (her personal favourite), Alyssa loves sharing tips and ideas that will help individuals jump-start their own business. You can learn more by following her on Twitter or Google+.

  • Andi Leeman

    Wow an excellent detailed post. You cannot get better than knowing information about the people who visit your site and how long they stay, we can spend months writing content for Americans (example) but it would be useless if 90% of our visitors were Australian. If we knew that then we could write accordingly for our Australian market and keep them on the site longer then also write content on terms we know Americans will use to come to the site.

    I myself need to focus more on these tips, I know them but I really need to get into the habit. The pay off is important.

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Andi,

      Google Analytics is arguably the best tool that a blogger can use. It can tell you SO much about what is happening on your site, the information is priceless.

      You make a great point about knowing who is visiting your site. If you are getting the vast majority of your traffic from, say, India, then you can tailor your blog posts to reflect that. After all, blogging is a community, so you need to cater to your audience.

    • Alyssa Ennis

      Thanks, Andi! I’m so glad you found it helpful! And yes, knowing who makes up your audience is crucial to being successful—you have to be able to deliver the right content to the right people.

      • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

        Hi Alyssa! Just wanted to say a BIG thank you for writing this post for us. :)

        As you can see, I have updated your author info as well.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnBanksBlog John Banks

    Its awesome – I like to use the various third party apps that work with it. There is one on my Android phone I use called gAnalytics, it basically takes the data from your Google Analytics account and then presents it in a nice way on your smartphone. Great for checking stats on the go!

    Nice one Alyssa…

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Great tip John! I’ll have to download that App and take a look at it.

    • Alyssa Ennis

      Thanks, John! It’s great having a platform like OnlineIncomeTeacher where I can share things I have learned. Great tip on the app as well!

  • http://www.webthesmartway.com Ghua

    thats a superb explanation of google analytics, thanks!

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      No problem Ghua! Glad you found the post helpful :)

    • Alyssa Ennis

      Thanks, Ghua! Glad you found it useful!

  • http://www.magnet4marketing.net/ Fabrizio Van Marciano

    Great tutorial, the mobile device data sound interesting. I’ve not looked at my Analytics since before Christmas and when I do it’s usually to get a quick glimpse of what keywords people are using to land on specific pages on my blogs, and also check the bounce rate. I must pay more attention to it. Great guest post Matt :)

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Fabrizio! Alyssa did an excellent job writing this post for us.

      It always amazes me just how much information Google Analytics gives you. There is so much to analyse about your site, it really is a great tool.

  • http://techbush.com/ Thejas Kamath

    Hello Alyssa,

    This guide explained everything that I wanted to know. Before reading this post, I didn’t know what Bounce rate actually was. But now you have taught me everything I need to know.

    Keep up the great work! :-)

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Thejas!

      Glad you found the post useful. Analytics can teach you a lot about your site, a great resource to use.

  • http://twitter.com/Akos_Fintor Akos Fintor

    Hey Alyssa,

    Better overview of Analytics than the official.

    cheers

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Akos,

      Alyssa did a great job writing this post for us. I’m sure it will help many other people get started with Analytics.

  • http://www.autoprofitincome.com/ gregjeffries

    Great overview of Google Analytics

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Thanks Greg!

  • Sanjaya

    Great guide Alyssa,

    Just managed to install this for my site. Looking forward to seeing how my site grows and where my visitors are coming from.

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Sanjaya,

      It exciting starting your own site and watch how it grows. I’m always fascinated by the fact that so many people from all over the world with such diverse backgrounds can come and visit the same site.

      Not only that, but Analytics can really help you to identify areas to improve upon. A VERY useful tool to use.

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