UNDERSTANDING GOOGLE ANALYTICS
A Guest Blog Post & Free eBook From Karen Repoli
Understanding Google Analytics (Free eBook)
(1) What Google Analytics Can Do For You
Welcome to Understanding Google Analytics Crash Course. In this special report you will learn the ins and outs of using Google Analytics to monitor your website, track visitors and enhance its overall performance.
First, let’s talk a little about what Google Analytics is and what it can do.
Google Analytics, also commonly referred to as GA, is one of the many services offered by the search engine giant Google. It is primarily a resource which Internet marketers and webmasters or companies owning website’s can use to measure the performance of their sites using statistics.
The statistics record every activity to, on and from the website which helps the Internet marketers, webmasters or companies to know exactly how their website is performing. Although Google Analytics is a tool predominantly purposed for Internet marketers, webmasters and bloggers also use this powerful resource and find it immensely helpful.
With GA the performance of a website is assessed in many ways, a company would typically look at the end results which would be sales or lead generation eventually leading to more revenue through Internet marketing. However, the consequential factor of sales and lead generation are preceded by various stages and different kinds of activities on the website.
Google Analytics records the traffic to a website, the redirected or rerouted visitors from other sites, search engines, directories, advertising platforms or even people accessing a website by directly entering the URL onto a browser.
The tool goes even further and records the amount of time a visitor spends on a website or on a given webpage within a website, the geographical location of the user or viewer, whether or not the user is eventually buying anything, signing up for a service or expressing interest in a product.
There are various ways Google Analytics tracks user activity on a website. Right from the advertisement links to referring through social networks, every source, route and access of a user is recorded. It records all data in real time and offers a quick real time snapshot for the Internet marketers or webmasters.
Marketers can access the analysis made by Google Analytics by using the dashboard of the application, where a summary of the assessment is displayed or they can view comprehensive reports based on different aspects of the website, such as; traffic, page views, visitor behavior etc. which detail everything extensively.
Google Analytics has multiple utilities. It can be used to gauge the popularity of a website, the ranking on search engines, the performance in regards to sales and activity and to understand if the marketing practices of the company owning the website are effective.
Google Analytics is also useful in understanding if the content on your webpage’s is impressive, if the ads posted on certain affiliate networks are getting results and conversions and every other aspect associated with a website performance resulting from Internet marketing strategies.
(2) Setting up Google Analytics For Your Site
Setting up your Google Analytics account is very simple and the entire process can be over in a few minutes.
The first thing you need is a general Google account. This can be your Gmail account or some other account. If you don’t have any type of Google account then you have to create one.
It is better not to use your primary Gmail account which you already have because this way your Google Analytics account and Gmail would be juxtaposed and you would have too much information on one email address.
Ideally, you should go to the Google Accounts page and create an email address, unique for a specific website. You can name the email address as per the domain name of the website.
Once you have a general Google account, you should go onto the Google Analytics page. Analytics account. For optimum results you should let Google know about all of the domains that you want to monitor and collect analytical data on.
Additionally, you may or may not choose to share your Google Analytics data with third parties and other Google products and services.
After you complete the sign up process, you will get a ‘tracking code’ from Google Analytics. This tracking code needs to be inserted in your website for Google to start recording data. It must be placed after the body tag in the code of the webpage’s you want to track. If you have different files for different webpages on your website then you have to insert the tracking code on every page.
The process is fairly simple and Google provides you with detailed instructions, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself then you can hire a webmaster or a developer to do the job for you. They should know exactly where to place the tracking code so that it will work properly.
Here, you will be asked a few simple questions and there will be several checkboxes. Most of the checkboxes are self explanatory and if you are a little confused as to whether you should go for ‘custom’, ‘advanced’ or ‘standard’ configurations, it is better to go with ‘standard’, especially if this is the first time you are using Google Analytics.
It’s a good idea to choose a domain name for the account name. While, you can use any name you want, having a website URL as your account name can help you easily track which Google Analytics account is for which website. If you have multiple website’s you can create different profiles for each one later, from within your Google
Once the code is in place it will begin collecting data and you can login to your Google Analytics account and start observing the analysis in real time on the dashboard.
(3) Powerful Google Analytics Reports.
Google Analytics has numerous types of reports ranging across various parameters. The types of reports Google Analytics can generate and display for you will depend on your preferences. For instance, you can opt to display standard reports, custom reports or advanced reports.
You may recall that you were prompted to choose from standard, custom and advanced options when you were signing up for your Google Analytics account.
The standard Google Analytics reports are what the service typically offers. With custom and advanced options you can have any type of report generated from the data that the tool records.
The first and basic kind of reports you would get from Google Analytics will pertain to the activity on your website. It will offer you a real time record of the traffic on your website which will include the active users or viewers of the site and the origin of the access.
The origins can be advertisements, social networks, emails, links posted on directories, search engine results or a direct feed which is a user directly entering your website address into the browser.
As you receive this real time analysis of traffic, Google Analytics keeps recording the data as well for your future reference. From your dashboard you will have access to
statistics, graphs and all of the details about the traffic in real time.
Google Analytics also records new traffic, returning traffic, conversions and the time viewers are staying on your website. You will get to know precisely where, when and how a viewer has accessed your site, how long they have remained and if they took any action.
Providing you with a comprehensive analysis and reports on how the links are generating traffic, which webpage is triggering more traffic and which part of the website content is not being explored by the viewers.
With custom and advanced options, you can get any type of report you need to analyze different areas of your sites performance.
Google Analytics ecommerce section covers everything that you need to know about online sales, conversions and tracking of every user activity through the site.
The powerful dashboard offers you a glimpse into these reports, a kind of a snapshot and info-graphic of all current information available, with additional data stored in your Google Analytics account. You can access this data anytime for any type of assessment needed.
You can also choose which type of reports you wish to have displayed on your dashboard. Apart from offering all the data attained, Google Analytics has reports that can simply provide you with a summary of every activity, so that you don’t have to analyze the entire database unless necessary.
(4) Using Google Analytics To Enhance Your Results
The Google Analytics dashboard usually offers all the necessary reports you will need to keep track of your website’s activity. With the custom and advanced options, you can also create reports that meet your personal and business preferences.
However, you may wish to use a mobile application or a different type of interface to view the reports generated by Google Analytics.
For this, there are several widgets and gadgets which can be used to access Google Analytics available directly from the official website. Some of them are made by Google, but many are not developed by the company, instead by third party, independent developers who offer them to consumers.
Which means there are many to choose from, depending on what you want to do. Some gadgets are specifically aimed at certain phones or tablets. For instance, there are widgets that offer you various types of info-graphic such as bar charts, comparison graphs, heat maps and many forms of visualization.
You can get a Google Analytics gadget that runs on Mac OS or mobile operating systems. These gadgets are typically created keeping in mind the user interface and specifications of the targeted phones, laptops, tablets or operating systems. Thus, as a user you can get a perfect application to access you Google Analytics account from anywhere.
However, widgets and gadgets are not solely for the purpose of changing the outline, layout or design and the manner in which you access the reports. They can also make the task simpler.
Widgets and gadgets can save enormous amounts of time. For instance, you can get a gadget that pulls together reports from various profiles or different accounts. This will bring multiple reports from various websites that you own within one application and you don’t need to visit each independent account or every profile to get the summaries of analysis.
Some widgets and gadgets even go beyond the extent to which Google Analytics records data and offers analysis. Specific applications can assess different reports and offer a systemic analysis based on the data provided. There are widgets that can display the statistics of Google Analytics on your website or on a specific webpage.
With widgets and gadgets, using Google Analytics can become powerful, time saving and extremely convenient to use.
(5) Getting The Most From Google Analytics
As we have been discussing, the enormous amount of data and statistics that Google Analytics generates and offers can be overwhelming for even the most savvy marketers, webmasters and business owners.
Most people who begin using GA have a specific objective in mind. While the obvious aim is to get more sales or to generate more revenue, the specific matrix can vary greatly among users.
One thing that all GA users have in common is for the process to be as simple, convenient and time saving as possible. However, when it comes to exploring all of the data GA provides it can be extremely time consuming and even confusing.
Now let’s go over some simple things that you can do to get the most out of Google Analytics:
- First, determine your objectives and set the parameters clearly. As I have mentioned before, GA will offer you data about traffic, real time activity, new or returning users, geographical locations of users and from where the traffic is generated.
Now you may not require all of the data provided to know for certain whether or not your website is getting enough traffic or if your marketing strategies are paying off. You may only need to know the amount of time viewers are spending on your website, the number of viewers filling out a form or those who are buying a product.
Likewise, you may need to find out the specific keywords that are generating more traffic and not necessarily the source of all that traffic. To get such an outlook, you can use filters, custom configuration or advanced segments of GA to get exactly the details or data that you want to access.
There are many widgets and gadgets that can be used for GA. Some offer better, more comprehensive analysis of reports and some applications offer a more interactive summary of the analyses provided by GA. So be sure to take advantage of the different widgets and gadgets and using them can be very helpful.
- Setting up email reports or updates is very important, especially if you want to be regularly updated with specific reports. The email alerts can be configured to your own personal preferences. For instance; daily, weekly or in frequencies that you want and you have the option to merge different profiles or accounts or keep them segregated.
When it comes to making the most of your GA account keeping things simple is much more helpful than trying to figure out everything that the extensive GA reports provide. Having a clear objective of what type of results you are looking to achieve will help you to get the best results possible.
Meet Karen Repoli
Karen Repoli, is a successful entrepreneur who has realized her dream of owning a successful business and having the freedom to live the lifestyle she desires. A seasoned business professional with 30 years of experience in office management, internet marketing and bookkeeping, she holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of NC, Greensboro and is VACertified.
Karen’s practical, proven systems help entrepreneurs accomplish their business goals. Karen is passionate about helping motivated entrepreneurs so they can manifest their brilliance to the world.
She is the author of How To Create, Publish and Sell Your eBook as well as several ebooks including The Nuts and Bolts Series. This series includes books on Coaching Management, SEO, Social Media and Webinar Management. These manuals provide entrepreneurs with the practical tools they need to grow their business. Also, she is the Charleston Internet Business Examiner on Examiner.com. Examiner.com is a top 100 website, reaching over 37 million unique visitors a month.
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