I had no idea what it was, but everyone was saying how good it was for your website, so I made an account. Google analytics was pretty intimidating at first. I cannot tell you how confused I was once I logged in. None of the page made any sense! I kept blinking, hoping I would have an ah-ha moment, but it never happened. So long story short, I didn’t ever use my account and it pretty much sat dormant for years.
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Fast forward two and half years. When I log into Pinterest and see a Google Analytics post right at the top. Well, naturally I clicked on the pin, thinking maybe this site would have more detailed instructions on how to use it. And surprise, it did! I started understanding what I was seeing and started caring about what my analytics actually were.
At the beginning of this year, I rebranded. And with that came new Google Analytics. I was determined to learn everything I could about how they worked and how Google Analytics could help my website out.
So today, I’m sharing the basics of how Google Analytics works for all you newbies out there. Hopefully, this will be easier to understand than some of the posts I read when I was a beginner.
If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, go here to set one up.
If you do have one, log in and click on your blog’s name. This first page page is called your Home page.
The next page is called Reporting and it’s right next to your Home page along the top of your webpage. This is where you will see your Audience Overview. This is the page I’ll be talking about today.
START AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE
1 | Where you see the date stamp in my picture, this is where you can choose how much of your analytics you want to see. It could be a week, month, 6 months, etc. You simply click the box and your calendar will pop up. Select the start and end dates and then click Apply. Now you see your results on the entire page for the time frame you specified.
2 | This is your overview graph. Simply put, it shoes how your traffic is doing. Where the individual dots are along the line are dates you can mouse over to see how many pages were viewed for a particular day. Where the red box is is where you can control what time frame you see your results in. This box works similarly to the one above, only this one controls just the graph and you can only choose from the four choices given.
MOVE TO THE MIDDLE
1 | SESSIONS Now we’re moving into more detailed views. This is your sessions view meaning, how many times someone visited your site. For instance, you could have one person visiting multiple times during time period you specified above and this particular measure will record every single one.
2 | USERS This measure tells you how many individual people visited your site during the time frame you specified at the top ( Step 1 above ). This used to be called Unique Visitors. Some websites will still ask you for those and this is what their talking about.
3 | PAGEVIEWS This is how many pages were viewed on your site. This will generally be your highest view count out of these top three.
4 | PAGES/SESSION Read PAGES PER SESSION. This is the average number of pages your individual readers visited when clicking on your site.
5 | AVERAGE SESSION DURATION This is the average amount of time spent by the readers in their individual session.
6 | BOUNCE RATE This is a super important one! When someone clicks on your site, they will either read what they for and leave, or they will stick around and read other content you’ve published. When someone clicks onto the website and then leaves after only reading one page, this is called bouncing. The more this happens, the worse it is for your blog ( I’m not talking about businesses here, just blogs ). You want a very low bounce rate, which signifies that your readers are sticking around to read your awesome content.
7 | NEW SESSION This is the percentage of new visitors coming to your site in the specified time period you chose.
8 | NEW VISITOR/RETURNING VISITOR GRAPH The green side shows people who have already been to the site at least once before and the blue side shows brand new readers who just discovered you.
I hope this post was helpful for deciphering the world of Google Analytics. If you have any questions, please leave a comment or shoot me an email!