Google Analytics — an explanation.

Knowledge is power — a phrase we often use but in this instance one of real importance. The great thing about using online tools to connect with you new and existing customers is that you can follow the referral trail. One tool that helps with this is Google Analytics. Don’t worry it’s not as scary as you may think.

Google Analytics — what the metrics mean

Sessions

This is the time that a visitor is on your website and engaged with what you have to offer — browsing you blog or online shop for example. It is better, in most instances, to look to increase the length of each session, this means that your content (what you have on your website) is of interest to the visitor.

Users

A user is someone who has visited your website at least once — the more users you have on your website the better.

Page Views

This is the total number of pages that have been viewed on your site within the date range selected. For example, one user in one session could visit more than one page. A high number of page views suggests that visitors to your site are interested in what you are selling or have to say — this is one of the reasons why blogs can be so important to SEO.

Average Session Duration

This gives you the average time each user spends on your website. If you have longer sessions it would suggest that you content is engaging and of interest to the person visiting your site.

Bounce Rate

The number of single page views on your website. For example, previously I was listing my workshops via eventbrite which was directing all of my customers off my website straight away — to go and book their place on the external website. A high bounce rate can effect your AdScore if you are using Google AdWords, but if you’re goal is to direct them to an external site — Eventbrite, Etsy, etc. then a high bounce rate isn’t to be worried about.

New vs. Returning

This gives you a general understanding of how many new ‘leads’ your website is generating. It is a good idea to keep an eye on this especially if you are using paid services to refer to your site, such as Facebook Ads, Twitter Cards or Google AdWords.

What are goals?

On Google Analytics you can set up goals to help you better monitor the ‘traffic’ and ‘visitor behaviour’ on your website. One goal of mine for example, is to increase the average duration on my site and especially on my blog pages — I hope you’re still reading! Google Analytics takes you through the process of setting up your goals, but so that you can think a few of them through before hand, here’s what is on offer for you.

Destination

This option should be used to see how many people go to a specific page on your website. I for example would like to increase the number of people who visit my workshop page. So, in the Goals section, I simply type the url (http://bobirobson.net/workshops) and set the number of visits I would like to start with. The great thing about goals is as you see the number of times your achieve them increase you can edit your aims accordingly. Additionally, If I wanted to track the value to my business of the goal being reached I can add a figure when setting up the goal.

Duration

Simply a goal to allow you to track the length of time people spend on your site. I love this as it really gives you a boost to see an increase in the amount of time people are spending on your site — it means that the content you’re creating is top notch!

Pages per visit

This is great to see how engaged in your website each visitor is. To start I would set a goal of 2 pages per visit, so as to set a ‘benchmark’ and build your ambition from there.

Event

These need an experience developer to help you set up. But, in essence it shows you how many people have clicked on an advert or an application on your website.

I will be launching a workshop on Google Analytics this year. If you would like to be contacted with further information, please sign up to my mailing list.