When it comes to free programs that can help vastly grow your business and website, Google Analytics is the very best. It’s a program created by Google to help you examine your website and determine everything from traffic, traffic sources, popular web pages and much more.
The biggest problem is the program can be difficult to understand and navigate. Google has tried over the years to simplify everything, but it’s still difficult to understand what to do and where to go. If you want to learn Google Analytics, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you navigate some of its most common features.
You Can Learn Google Analytics After Installing It
Unlike many other programs, you can’t simply install it on your website. You first need to go to analytics.google.com and set up an account. Once you give the programs some basic information and it can verify you own the website, it will give you a snippet of code.
This code is the nuts and bolts of Google Analytics. It’s what records all the data for the website. For it to work, then it needs to be on every page of the site. If you have a business website with a shopping cart, then you need it on that as well.
It gets a little more complicated if you use a third-party shopping cart that takes people off-site. Contact your shopping card provider as they may have an easy way to connect the two. If not, then transactions that go offsite to the shopping cart and then return are counted a new visit instead of a continuation of an original one.
Once the code is set up, then it begins reading your site about 24 hours after installation.
Understanding the Home Screen
When you first open Google Analytics, it’s on the home screen. This contains various statistics, maps, etc. that you can customize. On the left, is a navigation menu that takes you to the various areas of Analytics.
Customization is where you can create custom reports, dashboards, and alerts. You’ll find as you delve deeper into Analytics that you’ll want specific information that it may not create without customization.
Under the Reports section, the first is called Realtime. This provides traffic and user information about your site at that second. This is a great resource if you have a time-specific event or if there is an issue and you want to know what’s happening on your site at that moment.
Audience provides information about the people that visit your site. Google doesn’t provide user-specific information because of privacy issues, but it does have general data based on time, interests, demographics, etc. It can even break down users based on what mobile devices they used.
Acquisition is perhaps the most-used section of Google Analytics. It contains all the information about traffic, revenues and third-party apps connected to Analytics. If you have Google Search Console or Google Ads, then you can connect them to GA and combine the information.
Behavior is all about how people are using your site. Where did they come to, where did they stay longest, etc.? This is also where you access any events you created, check the page speed of your site and what queries were placed in your search box.
The final section is conversion, which tracks your revenue and marketing information. The goals created in this section don’t have to be business-related. You can call anything you want a conversion, not just when someone buys something.
Reading Traffic Source and Medium
No matter what kind of marketing you plan for your website, knowing how your traffic ebbs and flows week by week, month by month and year by year can show you if the marketing is working and if your site is growing.
If you choose acquisition and then source/ medium, you can check out the traffic for the last month, day, week or create a custom time frame. You can even compare that time frame with the previous year’s time frame or the period prior to the time period.
Once you’ve chosen the period, you can see exactly what traffic has been coming to your site as well as other factors such as revenue, conversions, new users, bounce rate and more. In fact, you can customize the stats that show up.
This breaks it down by traffic medium such as organic, paid, referral and direct as well as a source like Google, PPC, and Facebook.
You can use this information to determine how the traffic changes and if there are patterns. Perhaps you have your highest traffic during the week, and it drops on weekends. There could be a traffic spike or drop over various holiday seasons.
What’s Your Most Viewed Pages?
Knowing the traffic to your site is a great statistic to have, but it also helps to know where they’re going. If you choose Behavior and Site Content, then it can show you statistics for your individual pages. All Pages shows you the most popular pages by page-view.
If a PPC campaign is designed to bring traffic to a page, then you can use this to see if there was a spike in page views during that specific period. There’s also a section for landing pages and exit pages.
If you see a page with a high number of exits, then it might mean there is a problem with that page, or you need to improve user experience.
Once you make changes, you can go back and see if the stats improved.
Data is Power for Your Business
With so much data available to you at a mouse click, Google Analytics can give you insights into your business, traffic, and revenues. Use the data to make changes to your site and marketing and then track how the data changes.
If you learn Google Analytics, then you can transform your business and bottom line. If you’d like to learn more about Google Analytics and digital marketing, please explore our site.