It's great to know how a site being navigated by its users. You may have a number of questions, such as:
- How many people visit my site?
- What areas of the world are they coming from?
- How do they navigate through the site?
- How long are they spending on each page?
- What browsers are they using?
You can find these answers and more with Google Analytics, an excellent and approachable tool for gaining valuable data on your site and its visitors. It offers a number of easy-to-read charts and graphs showing the number of visits to your site by time period, visitor data such as geographic area and available software, the pages that get the most views, and more. It also makes it easy to make reports from your data, and to export it into a variety of formats for use with other software.
You can request analytics for your site. But before you do, you must have a Google account. The Google account that you provide us is the one that will be able to log in and view the analytics.
These are some helpful tutorials that can get you started with undertanding Google Analytics:
- Lynda.com offers a couple of courses on Google Analytics such as Google Analytics Essential Training and Google Analytics Tips. Lynda.com is a UNC Chapel Hill licensed online video-training library that has more than 1,900 software, career development, and technology training titles that you can access from anywhere using an internet browser and your Onyen login. The service is FREE to UNC Faculty and Staff. Learn more.
- ConversationMarketing.comoffers a 5-part video tutorial series that describes many of the functions of Google Analytics. Here is a sample of some of the main points that the site covers:
- Absolute Unique Visitors are the number of unique individuals who've come to your site in a given time period. So, if I come to your site 20 times in a week, I still only count as a single unique visitor. This statistic is important because it tells you your reach, or the total size of the audience coming to your site.
- Visits are the number of times folks open your site in their browser. If I come to your site 20 times in a week, I count as 20 visits. This is important, too - a high ratio of visits to visitors means you've got a loyal audience.
- Page Views tell you how many pages of your site are viewed in a given period. If I come to your site 20 times in a week, viewing 3 pages each time, I count as 60 page views. Page views are an indication of just how interested folks are in your site. A high ratio of page views to visits likely means an interested audience.
- Finally, Referring Source, found under Visitor Segment Performance, tells you where folks are coming from. And, you can use the Analysis button to drill further down, viewing keywords searched, etc... Source: http://www.conversationmarketing.com/2007/02/google_analytics_video_tutoria.htm
- SEO Speedwagon blog describes another key idea of Google Analytics: bounce rates.
The Entrance Bounce Rates report shows you a list of "entrance" URLs for your site (those URLs that people used to enter the site, whether via a search engine, third-party link, etc.) and the percentage of visitors who left your site after viewing only that page. Thus, if your bounce rate for a page is 100%, that means each person who entered the site on that page viewed that page only, then left the site. Like golf, the lower the number, the better.