How to Use Google Analytics for Beginners

This page will teach you how to use Google Analytics, even if you're a beginner. Google Analytics is one of the top tools out there for analyzing traffic on your website. With a little bit of setup, it will give you an enormous amount of information about who is visiting your site, what they're looking for, and how they're getting there. With just a little practice, along with the information on this page, you too will be able to use Google Analytics like a pro.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for monitoring all aspects of your websites traffic, from referrals to search engine activity.c Like any application designed to do so much, Google Analytics comes with a rather steep learning curve, which can be intimidating at first.

However, by familiarizing yourself with the program, using the tool can become second nature. This page is designed to ease you into the application and teach you how to use all aspects of Google Analytics.

Step 1: Set Up Your Account

In order to use Google Analytics, you'll need to set up an account with them. This will provide you with a unique identifier to add to your site. You can only access information about your own site.

You will not be allowed access to information for other sites unless the site owner explicitly grants it to you. The only people with access to your information will be yourself, and those you give special permissions to.

  1. Go to the Google Analytics website (Google.com/Analytics).c
  2. If you do not have a Google account, click "Sign Up Now," which is located to the left of the sign-in box. This will take you to a page where you can sign up for a Google account.
  3. If you have a Google account already, use your email address and password to sign in.
  4. Click the Sign Up button to continue.
  5. In the next window, provide Google with the URL of the site you wish to analyze.
  6. Give the site an account name that is easy to remember. If you will be tracking multiple sites, this is especially important.
  7. Select the country your site is based in, or the country it is serving. Then select the appropriate time zone. If your site is based in India but all your users are in the U.S., you can either select a U.S. time zone to figure out when in their day most choose to use your site, or you can set it to your city's time zone to see when you need the most workers on staff.
  8. Click Continue.
  9. In the next window, provide your contact information.
  10. Click Continue.
  11. In the next window, read the Google Analytics terms of service. If you agree with them, click the Yes box.
  12. Click Create New Account.
  13. Google will provide you with a block of code. Copy this - you'll need to insert it into your web site.

Step 2: Insert Google Analytics JavaScript Into Your Pages

You must insert the code that Google Analytics provides you with into every page you want tracked. If you have a technical person who takes care of your pages, you can have them add the code for you.

Inserting Google Analytics Code for Most Sites

To insert the Google Analytics code, you need to get into the HTML of your page. If you are using a service like WordPress, you'll need to open the footer.php file to place this code.

  1. Find the </body> tag at the very bottom, just above the </html> page.
  2. Do you see the code urchinTracker(), utmLinker(), utmSetTrans(), or utmLinkPost() above the </body> tag? If so, you must paste the Google Analytics Javascript above that code. If not, paste it immediately above the </body> tag.
  3. If you have templates, insert the code into them as well.
  4. Once you have uploaded the pages back to your site, you can begin tracking information.

Some other websites may allow you to add Google Analytics code to their website. You may have to add the code to each individual page, or you may just be required to insert the number code that starts with UA-. Check with the website to see if adding it is acceptable, as well as the proper way to do it for that specific website.c

Step 3: Get an Overview of Your Site Performance

The moment you set up your account and insert Google's JavaScript into your pages, Google Analytics will be ready to provide you with charts that will give you an overview of your site's performance, however the service may take up to 24 hours to begin gathering data for your site.

  1. Log in to Google Analytics.
  2. In the center of the page is a section titled Website Profiles. Click on the View Reports link to the right of the name of the site you're interested in. This will bring you to the Dashboard.
  3. At the top of the page is a chart that gives a visual representation of your site traffic over the past month.
    • This chart will only give you data from the time you inserted the tracking code into your pages.
    • If you want to change the span of time the chart displays, click on the dates in the upper right-hand corner. Click on dates in the calendar that is revealed or manually type in the dates you want to view a different span of time.
    • To compare traffic over two different time periods, select one date range you want to use, click Compare to Past, and select the range you wish to compare it against.
    • Just below the dates is a menu that says Visits. Click on it to change the graph to page views, pages per visit, average time on site, bounce rate, or percentage of new visits.
  4. Immediately beneath that chart, you'll see a header that says Site Usage, with six small charts underneath. Under Site Usage, you'll find quick information on various site traffic statistics for the time period shown in the main chart. Each one has an individual chart.
    • Visits tells you how many visits there were to your page. A visit is defined as a page view when that user has viewed no other page on your site in the past half hour.
    • Pageviews tells how many times the pages on your site have been viewed.
    • Pages/visit tells how many pages, on average, users view when they come to your site.
    • Bounce Rate tells what percentage of users left after viewing only one page on your site.
    • Avg. Time on Site shows how long each user spent on your site.
    • New Visits shows what percentage of your users have not visited your site before.
  5. The Visitors Overview graph shows how many visitors have come to your site.
    • This number is usually lower than the Visits statistic, and sometimes it's a lot lower, because some visitors may visit your site over and over again.
    • Click on View Report to view more detailed information about your visitors.
  6. "Map Overlay" displays what countries your visitors are coming from.
    • The darker the green, the more visitors come from that country.
    • Click View Report to get in-depth information on where your visitors come from.
  7. Traffic Sources Overview shows which percentage of users are getting to your site by typing your URL directly into their browser, as well as via search engines, referring sites, and other avenues such as emailed links.
    • Click on View Report to get breakdowns of exactly what places your users are coming from, and what keywords they're looking for.
  8. Content Overview specifies the top five most viewed pages over the time period you're looking at.
    • Click on the name of any page to get extremely detailed information about where the people viewing that page came from, how long they spent on the page, how many of them were new to the page, and a lot more.
    • Click on View Report to get access to information about the performance of all pages on the site.

Step 4: See How Your Site Is Performing Daily and Hourly

If you want to find out whether your site has peaks during certain times of the day or on certain days of the week, Google Analytics can tell you.

  1. In the menu to the left, click on the word Visitors.
  2. To the left beneath the main chart, you'll see a number of different statistical breakouts.
  3. Click on any of the words to get a bar-chart breakout of the daily performance for that aspect of site traffic measurement.
  4. If you want to learn hour-by-hour trends, click on the word Hourly above the bar chart to see an hour by hour graph for the time period at hand.
  5. To compare two different time periods, click on the dates above the line graph. Select the first set of dates you want to work with, check the Compare to Past box, click on the second set of dates, and click the Apply Range button.

Step 5: See Where Your Traffic Comes From

If you want to see whether you're getting most of your traffic from search engines, or if other websites link to your site, here's how to find out.

  1. In the lower right-hand corner of the Dashboard you'll find your site's top 5 most-accessed pages. Click on any of these.
  2. Below the chart on the right hand side, you will see a heading labeled Landing Page Optimization. Click on the link beneath it labeled Entrance Sources.
  3. Beneath the chart, you'll see a table. This table lists all the places your users came from to visit your site.
    • In the first column to the right of the source name is the number of pageviews your page received from that source.
    • The next column tells how many of those were unique pageviews (someone coming to your page who had not been to that page before in the time frame you're reviewing).
    • Time on Page tells you how much time, on average, users from that particular source spent on the page in question.
    • Bounce Rate shows how many people from that specific source left your site after looking at that page, without viewing another page.
    • % Exit shows how many people from that specific source went to another site from that page. (This number may be lower than the Bounce Rate number; if a visitor closes their window or shut down their browser, it is not considered exiting.)
    • When you set up certain financial measurements in the Goals section, Google will crunch the numbers to show you how much return you're getting with the $ Index column.
  4. If you want to get information on other pages, under the Content menu on the right, click on the Content by Title menu item. You can now go through all of your content to learn information on every page.
  5. Return to the main dashboard by clicking on the word Dashboard in the upper-left corner.
Although it involves a few technical steps that may be hard to learn at first, using Google Analytics is something that gets much easier as time goes by and as you get a better feel for the exact kind of data you need.

And since it's an application from Google, you can be certain that new and useful features will be added often. So make sure to keep an eye for new announcements and you'll be an Analytics Pro in no time.c

References

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You can upload a JPG, GIF or PNG file. Do not upload pictures containing celebrities, nudity, artwork, or copyrighted images).

Specify an image URL

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Search

Type the image URL in the text field above and click 'Search'. Large images may take awhile to process.

Please remember that using others' images on the web without their permission is not very nice.

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Just click and drag on the image below to start cropping! Use the handles on the crop box to resize it.

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