Getting actionable insights from Google Analytics


This is part 2 of our series on using Google Analytics. Check out part one for a guide to installing Google Analytics using Website Builder.

Great job on getting Google Analytics installed. If you’re anything like most people, exploring the statistics quickly gets overwhelming after being initially amazed by how much you can track.

That’s where we come in today. Instead of trying to comprehensively cover every metric. we are going to focus on the important ones that help you make pertinent decisions about your website. After all, being able to track a metric does not make it worth analyzing. So let’s jump in.

What you want to find out: How many people are visiting my website each month?

Why is it important?

Knowing the top line number of visitors is a conversation opener for a number of things. Maybe you would like to earn money through advertising, approach someone for an interview or request for a guest post. This allows everyone to have a working estimate to calculate the payoff instead of taking a stab in the dark.

How can you track this statistic?

The main Audience Overview section gives you a good selection of numbers around this. By setting the time period in the top right corner, you are able to slice the data as thinly as you’d like. Here’s what the numbers mean.

Users: The unique number of people who came to your site over the period

Sessions: The number of times someone visited your site

Pageviews: The total number of pages everyone coming to your site saw

Bounce Rate: the percentage of people leaving your site after looking at just one page

What you want to find out: How are people coming to your website?

Why is it important?

If you would like to grow your traffic, this is one of the most important metrics to track. By knowing how your audience finds your site allows you to make strategic decisions. If search gives you a good amount of traffic each month, you may want to pour more resource into a good SEO campaign or if your social media outreach program isn’t giving you the traffic you thought you would get, it might be worth taking another path.

How can you track this statistic?

On the left navigation column, you can find this metric under ‘Aquisition/All Traffic/Channels’, giving you a breakdown of the main sources of traffic. For an even more granular view, you click on Source/Medium – it breaks the numbers down by website.

What you want to find out: What is the most popular content on my website?

Why is it important?

Knowing this metric allows you to spot patterns in what kinds of content would be popular among your audience. For example, if step-by-step guides are frequently more popular, you could consider putting more resource into making the content more robust, giving your audience much more value from these articles. You could also tweak the editorial calendar so that you give your audience more of what they want.

How can you track this statistic?

In the navigation bar, go to Behavior/Site Content/All Pages. This gives a list of the most popular content sorted by a variety of parameters.

What you want to find out: How much should I focus on the mobile version of my website?

Why is it important?

In recent years, responsive design has become a mainstay (and minimum requirement) for web design. While your site may work on both desktop and mobile, there are cool features that take a bit more time to implement on mobile, such as directly calling a phone number, or sending an address to your maps app. If you knew that more than 50% of your traffic is from mobile devices, wouldn’t it make sense for you to create a mobile site first, and then adapt it to the larger screen, rather than vice versa?

How can you track this statistic?

In the navigation bar, go to Audience/Mobile/Overview. This gives a breakdown of device type – this should give you enough information to come to a decision.