Are you planning to start a new blog or an online business? If you’re still in the planning stage, then I have another question for you – how much do you know about Google Analytics? If not much, then you’ve landed on the right page. Here, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about this amazing product that Google offers website owners for free.
When we decide to make money through a website, we design it well, enrichen it with great content and practice SEO so that it ranks on the search engines.
However, an important aspect that many of us forget about is following-up on all of these things that we do. If you really want to know whether your efforts are going in the right direction or not, the tool that’ll provide you with the most detailed data is Google Analytics.
What is Google Analytics?
In order to make your efforts more efficient, Google came up with this tool back in November 2005, after acquiring Urchin. It is a service that gives you access to Google’s machine learning capabilities to get SEO analytics for your site.
Basically, what you receive here are Google statistics revolving around your website traffic. You’ll get data on almost everything you need to know:
- The amount of traffic you’re receiving
- Bounce rate (single page sessions with a duration of 0 seconds)
- From where are you receiving the maximum traffic?
- Which web pages are receiving the most traffic?
- How much time are people spending on a page?
- The devices from which you’re receiving traffic
And so much more. Basically, the data comprises of all the information you need to know in which direction are your efforts going. You can figure out which audience to target upon, which pages need improvement and where are you exactly lagging behind.
What Information Does Google Analytics Provide You?
To be precise, the app provides you with Google statistics revolving around your website traffic. There are plenty of sections you can look into. The home page includes the following:
- Once you have signed in, the home page will show you data for Users, Sessions, Bounce Rate and Session Duration.
- You scroll down, and you will find information on traffic channel, source and referrals that tell you about how you acquire your users.
- Next, you find two graphs on the time trend when your users are active and how well you retain them.
- You scroll down ahead and you’ll see the exact time when your users visit you, the countries where they are located and the devices that they use to view your website.
- The last graph on the home page is of the pages that your viewers have visited.
Now, in order to look at more detailed insights, you need to look at the column on the left. Here’s a description of each of them:
This column comprises of dashboards, custom reports, saved reports and custom alerts. If you want to look at anything specific, you go here and create your own report or alert.
Next, under “REPORTS”, you have 4 very important sections:
This is the section where you receive the latest data within seconds of any activity taking place. You’ll know the following about what is happening on your website at the moment:
- Number of people viewing your website
- The location (country) from here the visitors are viewing your site
- Which keywords did they use or through which websites did they land on yours?
- The web pages they are currently viewing
- Any conversions taking place
This is the section that gives you demographic insights about your audience. You’ll get data hourly, day-wise, week-wise and month-wise. Here’s what you get to explore:
- Total number of users
- Number of new users
- Current number of active users
- Total number of sessions
- Average number of sessions per user
- Total number of page views
- Average number of pages viewed per session
- Duration of session on an average
- Bounce rate
- The cities and countries your audience belongs to
- The language in which they view your site
- Details about the operating system, browser, service provider, mobile device and screen resolution the audience uses to view your site
- Number and percentage of users coming through social media, direct search and organic search
- Amount of revenue earned per user
- Number of page views per user
- Session duration per user (average)
- Average number of sessions per user
- Number of transactions per user
- Insights on the age, gender and interest category of users
Now this section has more focus on your traffic, ad campaigns and social media score. Some of the data here is similar to what you’ll find in the audience section like the total number of users, new users, session details, bounce rate and conversions.
- Additionally, here’s what you’ll get to see in this section:
- User behaviour in every channel from where you receive traffic
- Data from Google Ads (if you link this account with your Adsense)
- Google Search analytics (if you link this account with Google Search Console)
- User engagement with the social plugins
- Social media pages and communities that lead to your website
- Any conversions made through your social media pages
- Organic and paid keywords through which you received traffic and user behaviour according to them
- A report of the cost incurred for paid campaigns and revenue received against them
This section revolves more around the pages viewed, what users did there and how much time did they spend on an average. You’re studying the behaviour of the audience, but from a detailed perspective of every web page.
So far, you could see which pages were viewed by the audience and how much time they spent on the website on an average. Here, you’ll get more data on:
- The behaviour flow of the audience – as to how they went about navigating in your website
- Total number of views and number of unique views received by every page
- The amount of time spent on every page
- Bounce rate of every web page
- The average loading speed of every web page
- Speed suggestions (if any)
- Average time taken for redirecting, connecting to server, receiving response and downloading
- Total number of unique searches
- Number of search results viewed and visited
- Data on impressions and clicks from Adsense (if you link the 2 accounts)
This is the last section under “REPORTS” where you learn how much money you could make out of your website. However, this works differently when you start:
- Under “Goals”, you actually need to set your goals regarding how much you wish to earn in the day, week or month.
- If you have an ecommerce site, there’s a separate section for you – upon setting up the ecommerce tracking code in your site or app, you can view data regarding your sales here. It’ll include details like product performance, time of purchase and overall sales performance.
- The last sub-section under conversions is for Multi-Channel Funnels, which is also meant for ecommerce sites only. You’ll get a funnel view of various channels that lead to sale on your website.
Step-by-Step Process of Using Google Analytics
The best thing I like about Google is that it gives you everything you need in the form of web applications for free. Moreover, signing up is as easy as setting up a Gmail account. Here’s how it works:
In order to sign up for Analytics, you need to open analytics.google.com and do the following:
Step 1. Sign in with the Gmail account that you use for your website.
Step 2. On the home page, click on the button that says “Set up for free”.
Step 3. Fill in the account name and click on next.
Step 4. You’ll be asked what you want to measure – website, apps or both. Click on the one that’s appropriate to you.
Step 5. Here, you fill in the website name, URL, Industry Category and your home country in the “Reporting Time Zone”.
Once you click on “Create”, you’ll be done.
Metrics That You Need to See
I already told you what you’ll find once you open your Google Analytics sign in page in the section above. However, you can’t go to literally each and every portion everyday you open the app. So, what do you do?
Whether you own a blog or a website, there are certain important aspects that you need to see every time you login into Analytics. These include:
- How much traffic did you receive?
- The number of unique users you gained
- Whether you achieved the goals you set up previously
- Your website’s bounce rate
- The most viewed web pages
- Speed of the website
- Brief overview of user behaviour
If you own a blog, you need to additionally view the following details regularly:
- Detailed demographics of your audience and each of their user behaviour
- Adsense reports on the impressions and clicks you receive
- Time spent by a user on every page
- Social behaviour – whether people are pinning your posts on Pinterest or sharing them on Facebook
- Sources of your landing page
The other detailed insights that Analytics provides you are also important. However, you don’t have to check them every day. You can check them once a week or even once a month if your website is established enough.
To make this easier for you, you can use the customization feature provided by Analytics. By doing so, you can view whatever you want to in one report.
Other Related Products by Google for Your Website
Google has plenty of web applications and Chrome extensions that can help you get information. Apart from Analytics, the following help you with data you might need for tracking your website performance:
Google Tag Manager
In order to collect data for your Analytics, there’s a code that you need to add to your URL. This code is known as a tag. The Google Tag Manager is a tag management system, or a software that automates the update of tags on your website. Thus, by using this along with Analytics, your work becomes faster, smoother and simpler.
Google Conversion Tracking
This tool is used for specifically tracking the conversion of your ads. If you are into search engine marketing, this tool is helpful for you as you’ll be able to find out details regarding the actions taken after clicking on your ad. Your conversions don’t necessarily have to be sales – it could be as simple as a subscription made to your newsletter or downloading of your app.
Google Trends – Providing You with Google Search Analytics
Now this may not be directly related to your analytics but do complement its usage. Before and after viewing your reports on Google Analytics, you can check Trends to gain Google search analytics on which keywords and topics are in trend right now. Usually, it is the first step of your Google search engine optimization planning.
This too isn’t directly related to your analytics but is the next step to take after using Google Trends. On the basis of the data you receive from the Google search analytics, you look for keywords in this tool. You can then cross-check on Analytics whether your keyword planning has been working well for you or not.
Google Tag Assistant
This is a Chrome extension by Google which will help you handle all the above web apps. It will help you ensure that your google tag manager, analytics and conversion tracking are working smoothly. This includes troubleshooting any issues you may face.
Google Analytics Certification Programs – Signup for a Google Analytics Course Online
What I gave you here is a brief insight of Google Analytics. If you want to learn more, you can go to the Google Analytics Academy and take free courses on learning how to use Analytics as well as other related products.
If you want to get Google Analytics certification, following are some of the courses that may help you:
From setting up Google Analytics account to learning how to use its metrics for growing a website, you’ll be gaining enough knowledge for taking your website to the next level.
This is a one-day Google Analytics certification program that will enable you to utilize the app for growing any website. You can not only use it to grow your own website, but also provide paid services to other website owners by sending them reports and suggestions.
This is a more detailed course on learning how to use Analytics for a website. From setting up the account, you’ll learn to generate customized reports and track events. Gain a deeper understanding here to get more detailed insights on your website traffic.
On a Final Note
Tracking your website is not rocket science – anybody can do it. You can even integrate Google Analytics with WordPress if that’s where you’ve made your website. As a website owner, you should be knowing how much traffic you receive, even if you have an entire team working on the reports.
So, are you ready to get started now?