A Quick Start Guide for Google Analytics

For those who are creating a web site and want to gather data on how your                

 Trivia Corner : Where did the expression”Things are

tied up in red tape” come from?

Last week’s answer: Jazz musicians during

the 20s & 30s called getting a gig in a

town or city an apple. If you got a gig

in NYC it was a Big Apple

site is performing, there are a number of tools that can address this need.  A popular data-gathering tool is Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics/).  While it may not be the most extensive, I would recommend it for two main reasons; one, it covers a good range of statistics for those who are just starting in this area and second, it is free (not bad considering today’s economy).


The following are some initial guidelines in getting started and tracking some of the critical variables.       

 1- Tracking Code: To collect any data for review you must first install on your web site what Google calls its tracking code.  After signing on to Google Analytics go to overview and click on Edit and then click on status.  It will show you a copy of the tracking code and explain where to paste the code into your web site.  Once you have installed the tracking code, wait at least 24 hours for Google to provide some initial data.  After waiting, sign in to Google Analytics and click on view report.  You are now ready to starting analyzing your web site’s performance.

 2-Bounce and Exit Rates:   After clicking on view report, look on the left side of the page, click on content and then top content, scroll down to see the details.  You will see bounce rates and percent exits.  Bounce rate tells you that for this particular page the viewer came and left just that page.  If you have too many high bounce rates, you might want to reconsider the contents of these pages.  Exit rates tell you that the visitor left your site via this page.  Again, like the bounce rate, if you have many exit pages, you might want to change the content of these pages or the linkages.

 3-Keywords: Go and click on traffic sources and drop down to keywords.  This page will give you an idea of which keywords are driving clients to your web site.  You may want to modify some keywords if you are not seeing the results that you are want.

 4-Landing pages: Click on Content and then Top Landing Pages.  Landing pages are the pages on how visitors got to your web site.  It is important that these landing pages have viewers go to other pages or stay on these pages.  Again, if the data shows otherwise, you might want to modify the content and/or insert an offer or put a call to action on these pages.

 5- Average time on page: Click on Content and then Content by Title.  Average time tells you how long a visitor is on each page.  This is an important piece of data because it tells you if the viewer is just “passing though” or is actually reading the content of the various pages.  Again, if the average time is low on certain pages, you might want to modify them.

 6- Goals: Google Analytics provides you with the capability of setting up four (4) goals.  By creating goals, you can see if activities like campaigns, emails or promotions are meeting your targets.  To setup your goals click on view report and then Edit.  Scroll down to the goal section where you can name the goals, select types and input a value for each goal.

 Well these are just some of the basics in getting started with Google Analytics.

Regardless of which data collection tool you choose, pick one and start gathering so you can see if you are meeting your goals and how your web site is performing.

 If you have any questions or issues with Google Analytics drop me a note and I will get back to you.  Until next time, turn that data into information!

 RHL  11/ 05/09








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