Snappy, The HostGator Mascot

Gator Crossing

The Official HostGator Company Blog!

Dragonfly
AirPlane

The Ultimate Resource for Google Analytics

Written by Taylor Hawes

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

ultimate google analytics resource

If you aren’t yet familiar with the benefits that Google’s free analytics tracking program offers, it’s time to get with the program!

Google Analytics is a comprehensive web data tracking suite that – once installed – allows you to monitor the number of visitors your site receives, as well as how these users move through your site.  Going further in-depth with the data that Analytics provides, you can even use this powerful tool to determine which of your site’s pages are the most popular, how often your articles are being shared on social media websites and even how many of your visitors are converting into buyers.

Over the course of this article, we’ll cover all of the different things you can do with Google Analytics – as well as a number of resources that you can use to get more information on the specific topics that interest you.  Be sure to bookmark this page so that you can come back to this ultimate resource again and again as your specific Google Analytics needs change.

 

Setting Up Your Account

google analytics setup

The first step to getting the most out of Google Analytics is – as you might expect – setting up an account.

In general, the process is quite simple.  You’ll need to register for a Google Account (if you don’t already have one), identify the site on which you’d like to install Analytics, confirm that you own the website through one of four different verification measures and then install a small snippet of tracking code onto your website.

The following resources will walk you through the process of signing up with Google and installing the necessary tracking code on your site, depending on the specific website platform you’re using:

 

Basic Analytics Monitoring

basic analytics monitoring

Once your Google Analytics account is set up correctly, it’ll begin generating data based on the visitors your website receives and their activity on your site.  When you first log in to your Google Analytics account, you’ll see the Standard Dashboard, which contains a broad overview of the following traffic metrics:

  • Traffic trends – This blue-lined graph is the most noticeable feature of the Standard Dashboard and represents a visual overview of your site’s traffic trends over the last thirty days.  To change the period that’s displayed, click on the dates in the upper-right hand corner of the graph and select your own parameters.
  • Visitor stats – Below the graph, you’ll see a number of different visitor stats, including your site’s visitor count, number of unique visitors, page views, pages per visit, average visit duration, bounce rate and percent new visits.  Each of these metrics provides important information about your site’s performance, so take some time to study up on what each measurement means and what it can tell you about visitor behavior on your site.
  • Demographic information – Finally, the last thing you’ll see on the Standard Dashboard is a collection of information on your visitors’ demographics, their languages, the systems they’re using and how they’re accessing your website from their mobile devices.  Again, pay attention to these statistics, as they can give you valuable information on how to better target future website updates to your audience’s preferences.

For more information on how to interpret the information generated through basic analytics monitoring, take a look at any of the following resources:

 

Google Analytics Tips & Tricks

google analytics tips and tricks

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the Standard Dashboard and the information contained in this area, you’ll want to start looking for ways to take your interpretation and usage of web data to the next level.

All of the following articles contain tips and tricks that will help you to get more out of your website’s statistics.  Take a look at these resources once you feel confident in your ability to understand and utilize the most basic Google Analytics features:

 

Using Google Analytics Goals

google analytics goals

In particular, one of the more advanced features found within Google Analytics that you’ll want to adopt as quickly as possible is Google’s “Goals” program.  Goals allow you to measure instances in which specific actions are completed on your site.  There are currently four different types of Goals you can set up, including:

  • URL destination goals (for example, a goal event that triggers whenever a new buyer reaches your site’s “thank you” page)
  • Visit duration
  • Pages/visit
  • Event goals (as in, goals that trigger whenever a specific event – like a PDF download, a shopping cart checkout or a specific video being viewed – occurs)

One of the most powerful ways to use Goals is to determine the number of website visitors from different traffic sources that turn into paying customers, as gathering this information will allow you to make better informed decisions on how you’ll allocate your marketing budget in the future.

For more detailed instructions on how to set up this type of Goal – as well as all of the other types listed above – take a look at the following resources:

 

Advanced Google Analytics

google advanced segments

After you’re comfortable with Analytics’ beginning- and intermediate-level features, take things to the next level with the instructions found in the following advanced articles.

In particular, pay special attention to the resources listed on “advanced segments,” as this allows you to observe the way visitors from different traffic sources interacts with your content.  As an example, setting up advanced segments for traffic that arrives on your site from different guest posts will enable you to determine which specific audience is engaging with your content at a higher level – helping to inform your future guest posting decisions.

Complete instructions on this technique and many more can be found at the resources listed below:

 

Google Analytics Reporting

google analytics reporting

Google’s basic reporting features enable you to easily print off attractive records of your on-site activities, which can then be shared with other members of your team or stored for future reference when observing visitor behavior over time.

In some cases, though, you may find that your reporting needs go beyond the default templates offered by Google Analytics.  If you’d like to customize your reports – or even schedule them to be created and delivered automatically – take a look at the following resources on this important topic:

 

Google Analytics Integrations

google analytics integrations

Finally, be aware that Google Analytics isn’t just a standalone program that can be used to measure on-site visitor activity.  In fact, the program can be integrated with a number of other Google tools and other third-party products in order to provide a more robust web data and reporting environment.

In particular, two popular integrations you’ll want to pay attention to include the ability to combine Google Analytics data with information from Google AdWords and Google AdSense.  Pairing up Analytics and AdWords will allow you to monitor the behavior of your PPC visitors, while also enabling you to make better decisions about the keywords you target with your campaigns based on measurable ROI data.

At the same time, integrating Google Analytics and Google AdSense can help you to improve your ad effectiveness by measuring where your paid clicks are occurring and which pages of your website generate the most ad income.  If you rely on Google AdSense as a revenue channel, setting up this integration is an absolute must.

For more information on the different integrations that are available with the Google Analytics program, take a look at any of the following resources:

Hopefully, this guide has given you all of the information and resources needed to help you add Google Analytics to your website or to take your usage of this popular program to the next level.  If you have another Google Analytics article or resource that you’ve found to be particularly useful, please share your recommendations in the comments section below so that other beginning and experienced users can benefit as well!

Posted in

Tips and Tricks, Web and Hosting Tips
Comments

8 Responses to The Ultimate Resource for Google Analytics

  1. lyndawass says:

    I was wondering from the number of post but i can’t get satisfaction information from there. But when I was reading your post my process is ending. I was being too much happy with your post information….

  2. Jill Whalen says:

    Your readers may also be interested in CustomReportSharing.com which is a free resource for custom Google Analytics reports, dashboards and advanced segments.

  3. ehoward says:

    Thank you so much for the thorough set of instructions.

  4. ambreen11 says:

    Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I
    will be waiting for your further write ups thanks once again.

  5. lionology says:

    This is awesome!

  6. Internet Business Kick Start says:

    Too many business owners don’t spend time understanding their analytics and it’s so easy to add a Google Analytics plugin to a WordPress website. As heard at the BrightonSEO conference this month, smarter measurement=smarter marketing. Thanks for a great post!

  7. Dee says:

    Cool. I’m kind of addicted to google analytics. Make sure you enable the adwords and adsense integration. It is so rich!

    Dee
    WorkOnlineBlog.com

qwaszxerdfcv3.14 | 1776zxasqw!!