Getting Started with Google Analytics for Non-Technical Users

Google Analytics tracks and reports how visitors use your website. These reports can help improve your website and promotional tactics— if you know which ones to look for and where to find them. But with Google Analytics’ complicated maze of unfamiliar terms, settings, and filters that only a geek could love, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed from the minute you log in. In this article, I’ll lead you directly to 5 key reports, and offer insights for each.

Google Analytics Demistified

Getting Started with Google Analytics

If you haven’t already done so, the first thing you’ll need to do is sign up for a Google Analytics account and add the tracking code to your website. For small businesses, the free “Analytics Standard” account is all you’ll need.

Adding the Tracking Code

Google’s tracking code is a javascript snippet that must be installed on your website before you can begin recording data and generating reports.

However, if your website runs on WordPress, and you have the ability to install plugins, the easiest way to get started for non-developers is via the “Google Analytics by Yoast” plugin, in which case, you will simply need to enter your “Tracking ID” in the plugin’s “Settings” menu from within the WordPress dashboard.

To find your tracking code and or ID, just log into your Google Analytics dashboard, and click on the “Admin” menu. Then, click on “Tracking Info” in the “Property” column.

ga-trackingcode

Once your tracking code/ID has been installed and is working, it may take a week or so before the following reports and metrics become useful. Otherwise, if you’ve already been tracking data via Google Analytics, let’s dive in!

Once you log in to Google Analytics, you’ll want to click on the website you are tracking from the home screen, or, in some cases, just click on the “Reporting” menu at the top of the screen. Just make sure you are viewing your website, since it is possible to include multiple websites within your Google Analytics account.

1. How Many People Visited Our Website?

  1. Go to menu: Audience -> Overview
  2. Set the date range (upper right corner)
  3. See the “Users” sparkline chart

Audience Overview

Report Insights

Assuming you can convert 5 out of every 100 visitors to paying customers, subscribers, etc., are your promotional tactics successfully driving enough traffic to your website to reach your sales goals?

Tip

Some of your visits may be from you and/or your employees visiting the site. There are ways to filter employees out of these reports using filters (Admin -> Account -> All Filters).

2. How Did Our Visitors Find Our Website?

  1. Go to menu: Acquisition -> Overview
  2. Set the date range (upper right corner)
  3. See the “Acquisition” table subhead

Acquisition Overview

Report Insights

Which channels seem to yield the greatest amount of quality traffic? Should you invest more or less time/money on any particular channel?

Tip

Click on the “Social” text link to see how much traffic is coming from Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc.

3. Which Pages are Most/Least Popular?

  1. Go to menu: Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages
  2. Set the date range (upper right corner)
  3. See the “Page” column

Behavior Site Content

Report Insights

Are mission-critical (i.e., money making) pages, particularly those associated with important calls-to-action (e.g., “buy now”; “request a quote”; “subscribe now”, etc.), among the most/least popular pages? Is there something that is preventing your visitors from easily finding these pages?

Tip

You can set up “Goals” in Google Analytics to better track your conversion rate (Admin -> View -> Filters). 

4. What Did Visitors Click On When They Arrived?

  1. Go to menu: Behavior -> In-Page Analytics
  2. Set the date range (upper right corner)
  3. Review click percentages in orange bubbles

In-Page Analytics

Report Insights

What can you do to increase the percentages of clicks on your most important calls-to-action? Change the button label? Make the offer more appealing? Move it closer to the top of the page?

Tip

If you are using the Chrome or Firefox browser, and you have trouble loading the report, click the shield icon in the address bar to allow insecure content, or, use the full-view option.

How Many Visitors Used Mobile Devices to Visit Our Website?

  1. Go to menu: Audience -> Mobile —> Overview
  2. Set the date range (upper right corner)
  3. Review the “Mobile Device Info” column

Audience Mobile

Report Insights

Are most of your visitors using a mobile device or tablet to visit your website? Is this trend increasing? Should you improve the experience for these visitors?

Tip

Go to menu: Audience -> Mobile -> Devices for more specific information (e.g., number of visitors using iPhones to access your website).

By the way, most of these reports allow you to create “shortcuts” for easy access when you visit again. You’ll find this feature just under the title of each report in a small menu. Just click on “Shortcut”.

Hopefully, the information I’ve provided here will get your started with viewing your stats on a regular basis, and taking smart, proactive measures to improve your visitors’ experience and your online marketing efforts. 

Is your WordPress website not converting like it should? Stop the madness and let me help. From new custom websites, to complete makeovers, to monthly maintenance. Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields marked with an asterisk.


*