Google analytics can give you a tone of information about your web site and if you are a beginner you can easily get lost in the reports. My goal in this post is to explain and demonstrate those 6 best reports to help beginners understand some basic information about their web site. These are the absolute essentials for any webmaster looking to answer the 4 w’s (‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘who’).
1. How many visits do I get per day and from where?
This is a report I run on a daily basis. You can arrive at this report by selecting ALL Traffic from Traffic Sources > Sources
What this report shows is the number of visits and their origin for the selected period. You can see how many visits are coming from search (i.e. organic), how many visits are direct etc.
On the top bar (below the graph) you can also see:
- Pages / Visit: the pages per visit, i.e. how many pages on average your readers are viewing before they leave your web site – the greater the number the better
- Avg. Visit Duration: How long (on average) your visitors stay on the site – the greater the number the better
- %New Visits: What percentage of the visitors are new readers
- Bounce rate: The percentage of people who left your web site without viewing other pages within your site. – the lower the number the better
2. What keywords do people use to find my site in Google?
While you are viewing the above report click the Google/Organic link. This shows you the total number of visits from Google. Next, click the Secondary Dimension drop down box and select keyword.
This will show you the different keywords people use in Google to find your web site. This is a very useful report for every Internet Marketer. You can group the different keywords together and understand the terms people use to find your site.
3. Which are the most popular pages of my site?
To find out which are the most popular pages of your site select All Pages from Site Content. You may find out a number of surprises like that your most popular page is not your home page or which of your site’s categories are more visited etc.
4. Which pages do people see first (landing pages) when they visit my site?
The landing pages report shows which pages are first seen when people visit the web site. You can combine this report with keywords (select Keyword from secondary dimension) and get an accurate picture on the keywords people use and the page you enter your site. To view this report select Landing Pages from Site Content.
Remember that you can always use different combinations using the secondary dimension feature and see a whole new set of reports.
5. How many people are viewing my web site right now?
This is a very useful report that shows in real-time the number of visits. You can find this report by selecting Overview from Standard Reports / Real time / Overview.
6. What do people click when they browse my web site?
Besides the different reports, another very nice feature of Google Analytics is what is called the In-Page Analytics. What in-page analytics can tell you is what links do people click when browsing your web site. This is good to know for many obvious reasons and can really help you analyse and optimize your web site. Maybe you should move some content above the fold or see what your readers prefer more (text or images) and many other useful information.
You can find In-Page Analytics under Content.