Google Analytics: An Introduction

Google Analytics logoDo you want to have a better idea of who is visiting your website, but you’re not sure where to start? We have a basic introduction to get you started with what you need to know about using Google Analytics:

– First, go the Google Analytics website and create an account. If you don’t have a Gmail email account you will need to create one to access Google Analytics, which is all web-based and requires an email log-in.

– Next, Google Analytics requires that you to insert code on your website, so it can track the site activity. To do this, click on “Get Tracking ID” and accept the Google Analytics Terms of Service. The next screen will show the Tracking ID, which is a snippet of code you will need to cut-and-paste into the backend of your website. Regardless of what platform you are using (i.e., WordPress, Blogger or something else) the code will need to be installed on every page you want to have tracked by Google Analytics. This implementation can usually be achieved by adding the code to a persistent page, or to the template that is used on every page of the site.

– Now that set-up is complete, you can start looking at the analytics. Note, however, you won’t have much data until a few days, or even weeks, have passed. During which time Google Analytics will be collecting information; it’s worth the wait!

– Take some time to get familiar with the Google Analytics dashboard. While you wait for the information to roll in, get comfortable with the tools. Click on “Overview” to get a general idea of how many visitors you are getting to your site, and how long they are staying — the longer the better. Take a look at the bounce rate, which indicates how many visitors only go to the homepage before “bouncing” off the site. Ideally, bounce rates should be under one percent.

– Continue to explore the Google Analytics interface. It’s truly amazing how much you can learn about your visitors. Try to determine days of weeks and times of day that get the most visitors, so you can post accordingly. Click on “Demographics” and you’ll get important insights about the age and gender of your visitors. In addition, you can find out where your visitors come from, both by country and by state. You might find two or three states account for the majority of your traffic, and that one country you never thought of is actually sending a significant amount of traffic your way.

– Look for trends. If you click on the calendar on the right-hand side of the Google Analytics platform, you can sort your data by week or by month, and then see if you have specific weeks or months with signficantly more traffic than other, similar periods of time. See if it was a specific post, or share or shares of a post, that led to the traffic. And even more importantly, see if you can figure out how to replicate that performance in the future.

Have questions? Need someone to help you make sense of all this information? Contact us at Anna@sandlerwald to learn how we can create custom Google Analytics reports to help you understand audience behavior, and how to maximize it through smart email and social media campaigns that drive cusotmers to your website.

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