The idea of gaining a whole load of information on your website users and their behaviour is very appealing. But a lot of people become intimidated when faced with the Google Analytics dashboard. The sheer amount of data available is daunting, and the different options raise more questions than answers. My advice at the beginning is to keep it super simple until you become more confident using the interface (before you know it you’ll be creating goals and funnels, and custom reporting with your eyes closed).
Here are the top 3 questions you’ll want Google Analytics to answer for you:
1. How many visitors are coming to my website?
You want to know how many individuals are coming to your website, not counting repeat visits by the same person.
This metric is on the audience overview of your Analytics dashboard. You want to focus on the long-term for this metric – can you see an upward trend? Are there any seasonable variations? Look for spikes around specific marketing campaigns to measure their success.
2. Where are the visitors coming from?
You want to know what is bringing the most traffic to your website, whether that is the search engines, direct or other websites.
This is a great metric for checking which other websites are bringing you the most traffic. You might decide to pursue links with similar sites, or further improve your profile on these successful sites.
These are the visitors who already had your website address and typed it into the browser, had the link already stored in their bookmarks or clicked on the link from an email or document.
Your organic traffic comes from people searching for related terms on a search engine. This report lets you see which terms people were searching for when they found your website. This is a great indication of what your users wanted from your site.
3. What are the visitors doing on the website?
You want to know which pages people are landing on when they arrive at the website and which are the most popular. Also which pages people are leaving your website from.
These are the most popular pages on your website and this metric is quite often surprising as people don’t always do what we expect!
Thanks to search and marketing campaigns the home page is now not the only place to enter a website. Most people will enter your site at a deeper level. Make a list of your most popular landing pages and see how they can be improved to make them more engaging.
OK so users have to leave your site somewhere but it can be really useful to see which pages people were on when they decided that their visit to your site was over. As you get more proficient with Analytics you’ll want to know if people are abandoning in the middle of the purchase procedure (for this you’ll create a funnel – more on that later).
This is the percentage of visitors who view one page of the website before going elsewhere. This could be because your content is not engaging enough to make them want to stay, but it could also reflect a problem with your marketing campaigns attracting the wrong type of visitor.
These metrics are a good starting point to understanding the Analytics interface, and the activity on your website. From here you can start to gain a feel for what is the most important data for your website and understand your priorities.
See our Google Analytics training packages for more information.