The Basics of Google Analytics

Analytics: the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics

Basically, analytics is a what you look at to get any statistical information about your site. The way that we will focus on it here is by looking specifically at how analytics can be used in regards to personal, or small business, websites. To do this we will be using the free Google Analytics software.

Setting up your account:

To access this, you need to open up an internet browser to the google server. Then search for Google Analytics. This will be found at analytics.google.com. Once here, click on the Sign Up tab on the right side of the screen.

The tab will then bring you to a page where you will fill in some information about your website. Once complete, click the Get Tracking ID button on the bottom left side of the page.

Then a terms a service box will pop up outlining the terms for your area. Accept these terms to continue.

Now that you have accepted the terms of service you will be brought to a page that has your tracking ID. Note that if you are using a third-party site such as WordPress, there may be additional steps you need to take through that sight itself.

Navigating Google Analytics:

Now that you have an account set up, let’s look at how to access some of the important basics. The things that we will be covering are audience information, acquisition, and behavior. Let’s get started.

Audience:

Look at the left side of your screen and select Audience from the Reports panel. When you select this, more options will appear as a drop down. From this list, select overview. The main things to focus on when first starting off in this section would be page views and users.

Page views will tell you the total number of times that anyone has viewed your page. Note that this will count the same person visiting your page every time that they do. Therefore, numbers from this, while accurate, may potentially be misleading.

Users on the other hand, will simply tell you the number of people that have been to your page. This number does not include multiple visits from the same person. Because of this, many people prefer to look at this when determining how big of a reach their site has.

Acquisitions:

Next, we will move on to acquisition. This again will be found by looking at the left side of your screen and scrolling down in your Reports panel. Again, after clicking on this you should select overview.

Here you will see charts and data concerning channels. Channels are the various ways that your users are getting to your site. Examples of these would be searching, links, through other sites, social media, and so on.

This is important to know when starting off as a business because it helps you know where your audience is coming from. This then tells you what areas to focus more of your energy on and what places you should perhaps disregard.

Behavior:

            The final sections of analytics we will be looking in to is behavior. Once again, this can be found on the left side of your screen by scrolling down under the Reports panel. After clicking on behavior, we are going to, one last time, click on overview. The main things that we will want to pay attention to on this page when starting out is page views and the amount of time spent on page.

Page views will tell you how many times specific pages within your website are viewed. This will let you know which pages are the most popular and should perhaps be boosted in your site to appear first. It will also allow you to see which pages get fewer views, which can indicate either an unpopular content choice, or can show that you need to put more time and thought into the design and content of that page.

The other important thing to focus on would be the time spent on pages. This will tell you how long viewers actually spent looking at specific pages. Again, this will show you which pages are more popular and which are not. If a page appears to have viewers spending a lot more time on it, you may want to take another look at it and consider revising the page. The goal is to make sure that viewers spend a lot of time on the page because they want to, not because they can’t find what they need.

 

Clearly there is a lot that you can tell by looking at you websites analytics, and Google Analytics is a good place to start. We have only scratched the surface so far, and I am certainly no expert, so please feel free to watch the following video or visit one of the sites listed to learn more!

Optimize Smart

Google Help Center

MOZ

~Jennifer

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8 thoughts on “The Basics of Google Analytics”

  1. Thank you for this! I didn’t really know the benefits and complete features of software like Google Analytics and how it can be beneficial to a website or blog. I run the website for my fraternity and I use the site weebly.com. The site is really useful for what I want it to do but it’s analytics feature is fairly confusing and only goes to an extent, without paying for a subscription. I will have to see if Google Analytics is compatible to a weebly website and how much more it will do for me than the weebly site already does. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never used Google Analytics before, but with one of my internships I used a website called Sprout Social. It was a great tool for tracking impressions, interactions, and demographics (especially for Twitter)! I’m interested in learning how to utilize Google Analytics after reading your post–thanks for including a video tutorial too! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennifer,

    For someone whose pretty unfamiliar with Google Analytics but who is graduating soon, this is super helpful to get started! I see in so many job descriptions that they are looking for people who know how to use Google Analytics, so I know it’s an important skill to have, even if it is just the basics. I also especially like the MOZ website, it seemed easy and very informational, even mentioning WordPress and how to use Google Analytics with this site. I’m sure I’ll be using this in the future! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not having used Google Analytics before, this post is super helpful! I’ll be having a PR internship soon, and this could definitely benefit me! Otherwise, I would have never even considered using it, because I had no idea what it was. Another great post, I can’t wait to see what else you post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As someone who hasn’t used google analytics before, this was definitely a welcome surprise, I appreciated your depth, and the amount of information conveyed, both of which helped make the software a lot more understandable, and less intimidating, the way that analytical software can sometimes be. The link to the YouTube video that you provided was also super helpful and informative, your blog is really interesting to read, as it exposes a side of small business that isn’t necessarily always thought about by consumers. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If in the future I plan to keep my blog going, or I plan to start up a new one. I think that this information could be very helpful for me. It is important to know who is viewing your pages, how they are finding your pages, and how long they are spending one each page. As of for the class right now, I am not too concerned with how many people are on my blog, as long as they understand the basics of it. I find your information very helpful and can’t wait to see what else you have to say in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I never knew there was such thing as Google Analytics until I read this! It was super nice to see the video at the bottom of the blog so I could follow along. It sucks I have’t been taking advantage of Google Analytics even though I never knew about Word Press either. I’ll definitely try to use it though in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There was a lot of useful information in your post! I like that there are no limits as to who would want to use this guide because the information applies to everyone trying to improve their online presence no matter what their content might be. You did a great job with explaining why each feature was important and also troubleshooting any problems that might occur in each step. I thought the behavior analytic was probably the most useful and sometimes overlooked, Rather than going in blind with trying to fix things it gives you a good idea of what people like and what people don’t like. Your blog is very helpful for other people and like I said before no matter what people are posting about, they all need something to help them improve in the areas that your blog addresses!

    Liked by 1 person

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