Google Analytics is the standard bearer for web analytics tracking today. There is a lot of information you can get from what it is able to track. And you can use that information to figure out what elements are working on your website, what elements aren’t working and what you need to fix in order to optimize your website.
Goal: To discuss why analytics tracking is something they need to be doing. To go over what Google Analytics is and how to set up a GA account and hook it into their website.
Keyword: Google Analytics
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Hey there and welcome back!
So how many people do you have coming to your website? How long are they staying on your website? What’s the bounce rate of your homepage?
If you have analytics already set up on your website, especially Google Analytics, well you either know them off the top of your head or you can quickly find those statistics.
But if not, you really need to get analytics tracking set up for your website. The data you get back will either tell you that your website is working for your business or it will point you in the direction of things you need to fix on your site.
So today, let’s talk about the need for Analytics, how to get Google Analytics set up for your website and some of the things you can do with it to get some really good data. Let’s go!
Why do you need to track analytics?
So in order for us to figure out if our website is working and helping our business, we need to figure out our users are navigating and using our website. We need to see the number of people coming in, what pages they are going to, where they are coming from and even how far down our sales funnel they are going.
So we need some way to figure all of that out. And we do this through web analytics tracking. And before you start to really get concerned about privacy, and those are legitimate concerns by the way, don’t worry. We’re just focusing on anonymous data. We’re just focused on results and not really the who. So we’ll use something like Hotjar, Google Analytics or some other software that’s able to track that data for us and present it for us.
From there we can learn a lot about our web pages. We can figure out which pages are performing the best. Which pages people are leaving the most. How much time people are spending on a particular page, and so so much more.
Getting analytics set up on your website opens up a window into how your website is performing. And it helps guide you on what changes need to be made on which pages so that it helps your business even more.
Why use Google Analytics?
So why should you be using Google Analytics for all of this? Well, the answer is that it’s the standard bearer for web analytics tracking. It’s been around for a long time now and it’s only gotten better with age.
Also, Google Analytics is fairly easy to use, especially for beginners. There is some code that you’ll probably have to place on your website, but we’ll talk about that here in a minute. But other than that, you can do almost everything inside of the user interface. With just a couple of clicks, you can see things like bounce rates, exit rates, conversion rates and more.
Plus you can hook it into Google Tag Manager to see more in depth things, like internal link clicking, scroll depth and even YouTube video stats from your website. And you can also hook it up with Google Optimize and Search Console.
Simply put, Google Analytics is the analytics tool to use.
Starting with Google Analytics
Okay so here we are. After you create an account on Google or if you already have one after you log in you should be able to see your account over here. And then for this we’ll go here. Alright and then pick our recording time. Pick your timezone. Create.
And then it’s created a property for us. And then what we need to do is add this into our, add this into our header inside the HTML. Okay so here we are. I’m just going to drop it in. It’s a WordPress theme, so we drop it in basically right here and then we hit save and we would upload the folder and what not. And then Google Analytics would pick that up basically. So simple as that.
It gets even more simple if you’re using a WordPress website. So here I am on my website, and all we use is this Google Site Kit plugin. It’s relatively new. It came out towards the end of 2019, but already it’s grown and there are a lot of new features. And one of the best things is you can even hook your Analytics right into it. You can hook in Analytics, Search Console, Pagespeed Insights, Google Tag Manager. You don’t have to worry about any actual code. So if you use a WordPress website I highly recommend you install this plugin. And it’s open source and new features are coming out all the time.
Creating your views
Okay once you’ve got your Analytics all set up, we need to do something with what’s called views. This is a view, and it’s basically a view of all of the data coming in that you specify. So really when you first start out you’re going to get this raw, sort of this raw data view. This is bringing in everything that analytics is picking up, this includes spam traffic, traffic that has different URL parameters, like Facebook likes to put a parameter which causes some issues especially if you’re trying to look for page data. It technically creates different pages and what not. We can filter that out through different views.
And the standard practice with Google Analytics is to at least start off with three views. We start off with the raw data view, a master view and a test view. And the reason we have a test view is that when the data comes in, you can’t back edit it basically. It comes in as is and it stays that way. So when you install Google Analytics, you can’t see data from before you installed Google Analytics. It’s the same way with views. When you create a view, you can’t see anything before that. So we have a test view that we use to test out different filters to make sure it’s showing what we want to see. From there we can create an actual view for that data we want to see.
So the first one you’ll want to create is the master view. And to create a view or edit a view, you come into the admin spot, and then View Settings, and then this is all basically the same. Here you would put in query parameters that you would want to exclude. If there’s a Facebook link, that’s a query parameter that you want to exclude as well. You want to filter out bots obviously for your master view and any other custom views that you create because you don’t want that data at all.
So that’s simple. That’s the master view. Straight forward. And then you can do other things like I have a view for people viewing my website from inside the U.S. And for that it’s basically the same. So you see here the settings are basically the same except you go to filters and we have a country filter. It’s custom. We include basically anybody who’s viewing from the United States. And there’s a whole bunch of things that you can do here when you’re defining filters for a view that you have. You can do campaigns, ecommerce, you can even get down to the city or any of that. So there’s really a whole lot that you can do right here.
And highly encourage you to play around with it. Create that test view and then play around with the filters and all of that stuff.
Looking at your statistics
Okay, we’re back here and I’m just going to show you some of the stats that I like to look through that are meaningful to me. These are just basic ones. I have some others that are custom Google tags set up, but we’ll save that for a different time. For now, obviously page views is a big one. How many page views does it have? That always seems to be sort of the first metric you look at.
And then I like to look at sort of the average time on page and see which ones are getting the highest or being looked at the longest. This is a little bit disappointing. This is the homepage, and it’s only 53 seconds average time on page. And that’s a problem. And this is something that I’m covering in a different series currently about how we’re going through and using this data and some other data to figure out what needs to be fixed on the website or on the homepage and then making those changes. And then we’ll see, hopefully, those changes increase the average time on page and also the bounce rate.
And speaking of bounce rate, that’s also something I like to look at. So basically bounce rate is when someone comes to a webpage and immediately leaves your website. So they just see that page and go. And obviously they see something that they don’t like and they’re not coming back. And that’s a problem. And you really want to aim for under 10 percent bounce rate. These are a little bit higher than I would like, but they’re also sort of tutorials where people will come in, get what they need and go. And I’ve done that with other websites so I get it. But yeah, the page view, the average time on page and the average bounce rate are the three biggest things I like to look at right off the bat.
Advanced searching and filtering
Okay so something else we can do is do sort of this advanced searching and filtering. So for that we hit advanced here and I’m just going to look for the homepage to start with. We want exactly matching. Slash is our homepage. We hit apply. And we now we’ve filtered out all of the other pages, just the homepage. And then we can add in a secondary dimension, and we want to know sort of the source and the medium of how people got to the website. So we can see you usually have direct, organic and referral sort of as the medium. So we had eight pageviews from Google searches. Interestingly enough, we got three pageviews from the Italian version of the WordPress dot org website. And we also have a couple of page views from Facebook.
And you can go through different things. You can see the hour of the day and traffic type. And then you can do it for and add in other dimensions. Those sorts of things. You can check for bounce rates greater than 10. And now we can see sort of our difficult pages. So those sorts of things. So play around with the search and the filtering and see what all you can find.
Creating custom reports
And then finally we can create custom reports that are sent to us either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. So for that we come into custom reports. I don’t have one right now. But we will. This is a new custom report. Here we have tab and you can have multiple tabs for different metrics. Keep it the same. And then filters, we’re not going to do that. There’s a whole bunch there that you can do. You can filter it out. I know I have different reports in other views that I cover landing pages and blog posts.
But anyway, so here’s our custom report. And this is for data that I just picked randomly. And then we save it. And then we can also share it. And this is where we can get it into our inbox. So send it to my email. You can pick once, daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. Landing pages I like to do weekly, just a personal thing. The blog posts are monthly so I only get a month’s view over more data so I can make better decisions over what posts are working, what aren’t and what needs to be better and that sort of thing. Options for how long to send the report. And then you can add in the message especially if you’re sharing it to somebody else or yourself and you need to remind yourself that “Hey, I created this report and it’s now in my inbox. This is what I need to look at.” And then the captcha and then send and we’re good to go.
So there you have it! You’re set with Google Analytics and you can seeing your data and figuring out if your website is working or if you need to start making changes so that it works better. If you are just starting out with Analytics, I would wait about a month or so so that you have a lot of really good data to base your decisions on.
And I’ve just barely touched the surface of what Google Analytics can do. I’ve placed a link to Google’s Analytics learning website where you can watch videos on how to do more complicated things with your analytics data.
But in the meantime, do you have any questions about Google Analytics? If so be sure to leave them down in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer all of them. And if you want more videos about analytics, digital marketing or other website-related topics, be sure to subscribe.
And I’ll see you next time!