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Google Analytics 101

by Brandon Welch
Web Designer/Developer & Web Expert
Connect with me: | Facebook | LinkedIn

Logo Google AnalyticsWeb stats (or analytics) are very important, even for small businesses. We have come a long way from the “Hit Counter” at the bottom of a website.

At ClicksCrazy.com, we set up Google Analytics to send you a simple report each month to help you stay up to date on your site.

However, you do have the option to have full access to your analytics, and even have a professional analysis completed by us.

If you choose to start analyzing your sites traffic and performance on your own (which we encourage), this brief writeup should help.

Accessing your Analytics

This is super easy. Ensure your web developer has given you access to them using your Google Account.

Login: http://google.com/analytics (There is also an Android App available)

Once you are in, you can start gaining a wealth of knowledge about traffic on your site. Don’t get overwhelmed though. Start off small, and keep focused on understanding the basics & goals mentioned below.

How Google Analytics Reports
Analytics provides you data/metrics based on the dates you provided. For Example, if you choose June 1st thru June 30th, all the metrics it provides will be based on those dates. This is important to know, as you read the definitions below.

Understand the Basics & Goals

Though it can be overwhelming at first, you will find that a small business needs to know just a few basic ideas:

  1. How many people are visiting the website.
  2. Where are the people coming from.
  3. What pages are they going to.
  4. How are they finding what they want.

Yes, you can find out much more details within those main points, but sticking to this high level is a good start.

Understanding the “Metrics” that provide this information, can help you make better decisions about the flow of your website, and its content.

Understanding the Basic Metrics Lingo

Unique Visitors

Unique Visitors represents the number of unduplicated (counted only once) visitors to your website over the course of a specified time period that you search.

Example: You request data for June 1st to June 30th. If you visited the site 20 times within that time period, you are still 1 unique visitor.

Visits

A user that visits your site. Multiple visits by a user during any given date range is considered to be an additional visit and an additional visitor.

Example: You request data for June 1st to June 30th. If you visited the site 20 times within that time period, your site had 20 visits.

Pageviews

This is easy. It’s the total number of page views by a visitors.

Bounce rate

It represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and “bounce” (leave the site on from the same page they entered) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site.

A visitor may Bounce by:

  • Clicking on a link to a page on a different web site
  • Closing an open window or tab
  • Typing a new URL
  • Clicking the “Back” button to leave the site
  • Session timeout (They set on the page too long and did nothing.)

Example: I do a search in Google, and find a link to your about us page. When I get to your about us page, it’s not what I want, so I click back to my search results.

Note, that a high bounce rate is not necessarily bad. It could just mean the person found the information on that page they were looking for, like a phone number.

Exit Rate

This is often confused with bounce rate. It is the percentage of visitors exiting or leaving your site from a particular page on your site.

Exit rate is calculated for every page separately because it is the property of an individual page independent of any other page on the site.

Example: A visitor goes to the site, looks at 3 pages. The last page they were on was your about us page. They leave your site from that page. Their leaving on that page counts towards that pages exit rate.

Using Analytics Effectively

As you can see, Analytics can be extremely in-depth. So don’t expect to know everything about the metrics and interactions of users because you won’t be able to. Analytics research is actually it’s own industry and profession.

Therefore, as your business grows, and traffic increases, you will want to hire someone in house, or utilize your web design company to periodically review your Google Analytics. In the meantime, do your best at understanding some of these basics, and look to your web professional for insight.