Knowing how to set up, access and interpret traffic data is key to the success any website. A good analytics program can guide your marketing and advertising efforts, maximize ROI and increase traffic to your site.
In the past, the options for traffic data ranged from basic traffic counters to complex server stats. In 2005, Google launched the free Google Analytics (formerly Urchin) interface. We recommmend installation of Google Analytics for all of our clients.
Installing Google Analytics is a relatively simple process. Once you establish a Google account, you can sign up for Analytics whether or not you are using Google Ad Words. When you sign up for Analytics, Google will provide you with a “snippet” of unique code. Add this code to every page of your site that you wish to track. If you are selling products online, we recommended adding the E-commerce feature of Analytics, which tracks all data related to sales. Set up for ecommerce is slightly more complex, and may require the help of an experienced web technician.
This article is about how to access, read and analyze the traffic statistics available once you have sucessfully installed GA on your site.
To view your account, go to http://www.google.com/analytics and login with your username and password. Click on “View Reports” next to the site you wish to review.
Exploring The Dashboard
The first page on your Google analytics page is the Dashboard. The dashboard gives you a “big picture” summary of what has been happening on your web site for the time period that you specify. The default time period is the past thirty days. You can easily alter your choice of dates and see comparison charts of two different time periods. You have a choice of viewing results by day, week or month.
There is a wealth of information from Google Analytics. The first step in using Analytics is understanding the terminology related to the reports you are viewing.
Visits: The total number of people who have visited your web site.
Page Views: The number of pages that have been viewed within your site. This metric is also known as “hits” which tends to be an inflated number, and does not represent a true visitor count.
Pages/Visit: How many pages the average visitor looked at while on your web site.
Bounce Rate: How many visitors came and immediately left the web site.
Average Time on Site: How much time the average visitor spent on your web site.
New Visits: The number of people who visited the site for the first time.
Read more about Visitors Reports
Traffic Sources Overview
Direct Traffic is visits from people who clicked a bookmark to come to your site or who typed your site URL directly into their browser.
Referring Sites shows visits from people who clicked to your site from another site.
Search Engines shows visits from people who clicked to your site from a search engine result page, icluding organic and PPC search engine results. Read more about Traffic Sources.