Make Google Analytics your friend on Blogging journey

Google Analytics is a tool to analyze visitors’ presence, movement and associated activities in your website, blog or app.

What is analysis? Analysis is the process of studying or examining something in an organized way to find out more info about it.

Hence Google Analytics is an equipment that helps webmasters to study or examine web visitors’ activities- expressed or implied, in an organized way.

More specifically, Google Analytics is a online-based software that is used by website owners to study and examine and, thus, control site-visitors’ presence, activities, behavior and expectation in an organized way aiming to hit the target of success.

There are multiple visitors’ info-tracker tools out there like AWStats, ShinyStat, StatCounter etc. But there is no alternative to Google Analytics equipped with rich features and functionality which is completely free.

Though there is pro version of Google Analytics, I can assure that you needn’t go beyond free version of GA till you’re standing out as a millionaire.

Introduction to Google Analytics

Contextual to say that most users neither have clear idea nor necessary knowledge of what Google Analytics can give them. They use a trifling part of it- just checking out the User, New user, pageviews, Bounce-rate, Extracting a typical report and looking up the real-time overview. Vast probability of GA remains unexplored, uncovered and unused to them.

However by and through this article, we’re going to contribute a transparent and pragmatic guideline to the enthusiastic Analytics users on how to elicit the most benefits out of Google Analytics. This is the lesson that will tie you in bond of friendship with Google Analytics.

Why Analytics? Why Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is world’s most influential controller of flow of web data. About half of all business across the world rely on GA. Google started the first version of Google Analytics in November, 2005. Before that no such universal, public-oriented free tools were available to webmaster to research on broader scope with their site audiences.

But there were paid analytics services offered by I.B.M, WebSideStory and WebTrends to limited extent. However, in this historic background of web-data-analysis system-development, Google Analytics came into being aiming to bring the web advanced analytics to the reach of masses. This easily-available analytic tool paved the way for the webmasters to monitor web visitors’ movement instantly that helped greatly in decision-making to develop performance of any webpage.

What can you do with Google Analytics

What can Google Analytics do can be represented in many ways from different perspectives and stages. But simply here are the most common things you can do with Google Analytics. You can-

  1. Know Common stats about your visitors
  2. Learn where your visitors came from
  3. Detect what visitors did in your site
  4. Set goal and observe output accordingly
  5. Watch your visitors’ activities live
  6. Extract, observe and analyze report numerous ways you wish
  7. Integrate Google Adwords with GA and get advanced combined report
  8. Integrate Search Console with GA and get advanced combined report
  9. Create Custom Dashboard and Report to get custom stats
  10. Save, Export and Share any extracted Reports
  11. Get intelligent answers to detective questions about your data

Before we start detailing, let’s have a look at GA Home Dashboard screen literally what we’re going to run experiment with-

Analytics Home
GA home screen (partial)

1. Know Common stats about your visitors

Google Analytics, in most cases, terms visitor as User. You can know the common stats of your users as the Audience Overview in Audience tab in the Report Navigation panel on left (see screenshot above) which includes-

  • Total number of Users, New Users and Returning Visitors within default and custom date ranges that can be viewed by hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis graph.
  • Number of Sessions by the Users, How long they stayed in your site, Bounce rate etc.
  • Total number of Pageviews by the Users.
  • Users’ language, country and city.
  • Number of Users Gender-wise.
  • Number of Users based on age.
  • Users’ Browser, Device Operating System, Internet Service Provider etc.
  • Device-wise User’s information (Desktop, Tablet, Mobile) etc.

2. Learn where your visitors came from

This is Acquisition tab in the left Report Navigation panel (follow screenshot) that provides you with the information relating to origin of visitors. This topic includes-

  • Visitors’ info based on Channel, Source and Medium.
  • Number of visitors coming from different Search Engines, Social Media, Other websites or Paid Campaigns, Email Campaigns, Advertisements, Referral sources, Direct sources etc. separately
  • Info about visitors’ Landing pages and Exit pages
  • Best-performing and least-performing Traffic sources

3. Detect what visitors did in your site

This is Behavior tab under Report Navigation panel that provides you with the information relating to behavior and activities of the visitors. This topic covers up-

  • How much average time visitors spent in your site
  • Unique Pageviews and Repeated Pageviews
  • Which pages visitors left within short time or in no time which is termed as Bounce Rate
  • Title of the pages users visited and which page was visited how many times.
  • Which Search Terms they used to reach your site
  • Page loading time of your site etc.

4. Set goal and observe output accordingly

Through Admin panel on left-below, you can set up goal for your site. In other word, you can set target how much Revenue or Conversion you expect from your audiences. As per preset goals, you can next time check up in Conversion tab in the Report Navigation panel on left that provides you with the stats regarding how much you achieved (as revenue, purchase, conversion events or other). Google Analytics has their predefined goals. You can also set up your own Custom goals.

5. Watch your visitors’ activities live

By Google Analytics Realtime feature (see screenshot), you can observe live how many visitors are active in your site at this moment and what they’re doing. It is really exciting to see visitors’ movement, coming and going from a single page. The Realtime feature shows you-

  • How many visitors are surfing your site just this moment.
  • User indicator number showing how many are landing on and exiting from your site
  • Which pages they are visiting
  • Which country they are from.
  • What device-type they used
  • The Keywords they used
  • Traffic sources and much more

6. Extract, observe and analyze report numerous ways you wish

You can generate Reports-

  • By changing Dimension out of many options.
  • By changing Metric out of many options
  • By applying Segment
  • By using Secondary Dimension
  • Changing Date Range numerous ways
  • By applying Display frequency- Hourly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly etc.
  • By setting Custom Goals, Channel, Medium, Source etc.
  • By creating Custom Dashboard
  • By creating Custom Report

So, it is clear that you can extract thousands of Reports hundreds of ways which might help you learn each and every aspects of your website traffics.

7. Integrate Google Adwords with GA and get advanced combined report

Google Adwords is Google’s advertising platform where you can advertise for your products targeting any definite Keyword. Actually Advertisers here bid on definite keywords so that their clickable ads appear on top of Google’s Search Result.

Those who are Google Adwords advertisers can integrate their Adwords account with Google Analytics. In this way, they can get accumulated Analytics data about their Paid Search Engine traffic by Adwords. They can also observe the paid traffic interactions (clicking ads, making purchase etc.) with their site from Analytics.

To link Adwords account with GA, follow this path: Admin>> Property column>> PRODUCT LINKING>> Google Ads Linking.

If you’re not of Account, Property and View setting located under Admin, follow this link-

8. Integrate Search Console with GA and get advanced combined report

Google Search Console is a free tool and a reliable platform for the webmasters and site owners to monitor their site’s performance and overall conditions and activities of Search Traffic in Google Search Engine. This is the official Googlic way to communicate with the Site owners.

Anybody can submit his/her site to Google Search Console by Google account. This inclusion will make a site showable in Google Search Result.

by getting a site included in Search Console, a webmaster can-

  • Monitor and manage site’s presence in Google Search Result.
  • Get notification about any search-related issues.
  • Take initiatives to improve site’s performance and thus increase traffic.

So, by connecting Search Console account with Google Analytics, you can get information about the performance of your organic-search traffic, see data relating user queries and observe how often your site URLs appear in search results.

To link Search Console account with GA, follow this path: Admin>> Property column>> PRODUCT LINKING>> All Products>> Search Console.

9. Create Custom Dashboard and Report to get custom stats

Beyond all of the default Dashboards and Reports, you can create your own Dashboards and Reports by adding Widgets, Metrics and Tabs as you like. You can save, edit, import, export, share and view them anytime if needed.

You can create Custom Dashboard and Custom Report, by clicking Customization from left panel on Homescreen.

10. Save, Export and Share any extracted Reports

You can Save any Reports you created or Extracted. You can also Export and Share them with anybody including your clients and stuff.

You can do this from Action bar on top-right of any Report.

11. Get intelligent answers to detective questions about your data

Analytics Insight is a machine-driven Intelligence feature that lets you understand and act on your data. Through Insight panel (on upper-right in Home Dashboard), you can extract logical answer to subtle, critical and heart-felt questions about your data which is absent in Reporting stats.

You can do it two ways-

  • By Automated Insight: It is automated intelligence notified to you which is driven by GA if any unusual change or trend is detected. You can be informed of and read such questions and answers by Insight Dashboard.
  • By Custom Insight: You create Condition about your data that you think to be important. When conditions is fulfilled, you notice the Insight in Insight Dashboard

That’s all. This is the part-by-part exposure on how Google Analytics can help you providing Traffic-related information. This knowledge will certainly make you skilled and confident enough to master the complicated inter-related features in Google Analytics and to use it for your site like the advanced.

Now let’s look at Google Analytics from a different perspective-

Look at Google Analytics through a different glass

What can you do with Google Analytics? Or, what can Google Analytics do? Or, what can you get from Google Analytics?

We ran a long search to find answers to these questions so far and gathered a long-list of answers which are quite true in all sense.

But can we express all of these in one word that Google Analytics can give? One and only one word.

Probably you’re stuck with wonder. Yes, one word only; I can assure you that Google Analytics can give only one thing to its users. If you accept this attitude, everything in GA will be at you fingertips and you’ll turn into a boss in dealing with Google Analytics within short time.

Yes, that one thing is REPORT; nothing other than that. After a long-term research and experience, I discovered that Google Analytics only provides you Report. In a word-

Google Analytics is a Report-generating tool/machine

If you think this way, it will be much easier for you to understand and capture everything in Analytics.

Now questions, why did we go through so much efforts so far; why long list of things GA provides?

The answer is: nothing is useless, everything is essential. Everything we discussed in previous step will make sense and turn simpler to you if you inquire into them with reference to REPORT.

Let’s try to unveil the secrets by questioning about Report various ways-

  • Question: GA provides us Report; which Report?
  • Answer: Reports about your site traffic?
  • Question: About What kinds of traffic can we learn from Report?
  • Answer: All kinds of. To represent the types of traffic easy way, GA has categorized them as Channel, Source Medium etc.
  • Question: What can be learnt from Report about Traffic?
  • Answer: All possible information– Users’ country, city, gender, age, device-type, pageviews, keywords and hundreds of things.
  • Question: What does Behavior tab tell about Report?
  • Answer: Through Behavior tab, you can learn the behavior of the users in your site such as Subscription or link clicking tendency or which Search term they use most etc. By observation of these, you can take initiatives to improve site’s performance to get better result in future by Reports.
  • Question: Why is Customization of Report, Dashboard, Channel, Medium, Source necessary?
  • Answer: This is to ensure your freedom. Whatever formats of Report, Dashboard or so GA has bound up, you might want those to be just as your heart wishes. Such is the option GA has left for you by Customization features.
  • Question: Why Goal-setting or Conversion comes in the Report Scenario?
  • Answer: This is your opportunity to monitor site’s performance as per your aim or expectation. Setting goal means setting your probable expectation by definite parameters. Through Conversion Reports, you can estimate how much your dream fulfilled and how much it collapsed and take measures to overcome issues.

This way, you can make such hundreds of questions and guess answers that might go around the basis of Report. And sure, I can bet! Out of this friendly Thinking and Analysis, Google Analytics must take you as a friend.

Hope you could take the gist of what I focused on so far. All I’ve created is to make Google Analytics enjoyable to readers.

Any question or opinion or expectation through comment is welcomed.

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