Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can help you better understand how your website is performing from a variety of angles.
Data is an essential component of websites, yet many firms either don’t have analytics, or they don’t pay much attention to the data that they are collecting. When we start the redesign process for clients, one of the first questions we ask is “Do you have website analytics?” And to our surprise, many times the answer is no.
Any firm can and should utilize Google Analytics for their website since it is a free tool available to all users. Google Analytics tracking involves more than opening an account—setting up your Google Analytics tracking code correctly is paramount to getting the most out of the tool. However, once you’ve created an account and added the tracking snippet to your websites, you gain access to a world of data. Here’s a basic guide to Google Analytics so you can begin taking advantage of this information.
Within your website property, you can create different “views” (a level in the account where you can access reports) to track your analytics. In each view, you can add custom filters to help show only a subset of the data available in your reports. For example, if you’d like to see your website traffic WITHOUT including the traffic of your employees, you could add an “internal IPs” filter to remove that data from your reports.
Before adding filters, it’s important to set up at least three separate views:
It’s vital that you set up these views FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. Why? Because, as we mentioned earlier, data can’t be changed retroactively and will be lost if you wait to create these views later.
If your website has a site-wide search, be sure to set up your Site Search settings. By activating this setting, Google Analytics will track any searches made on your website so you can learn more about what your visitors are looking for.
While the amount of data you can access using Google Analytics seems endless, there are a few high-level data points that can help you easily gauge your site’s performance. Google Analytics is split into five sections: Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions. While each section houses important data, some quick insights can be found in the tabs listed below.
Google Analytics data can be invaluable when making decisions on the structure and effectiveness of your website. We hope this basic guide will help you launch into a long, informative adventure in Google Analytics. Happy hunting!
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