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  • Evan Ryan

Getting Started with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most commonly used tools for measuring website traffic, page traffic, and understanding your user base.  Most importantly, it’s accurate, and it’s free.

In this post, we are going to talk about the following things:

1.     Why Google Analytics matters

2.     How it works

3.     How to set it up

4.     What to look for in your first week of using it

In this post, we are not going to cover:

1.     What is the difference between a bounce rate and exit rate?

2.     How do you find different referral sources?

3.     When should you be aware of page load?

4.     What does time on page mean for you and your viewership?

google-analytics-header

Why Google Analytics Matters

Before we start, what is the purpose of a website?  To make more money!  Whether it’s informative or an online store or a blog or shows ads or allows people to book your service, in some capacity or another, the purpose of a website is to make money or give a person the opportunity to make money.

My perspective on Google Analytics begins with that premise.  It is a tool to allow you to measure your viewership’s response to your content and how it found your content.

Measuring your viewership, the pages they visit, how long they spend on those pages, and what pages they’re on right before they exit your site is the easiest way to understand how your market is reacting and make changes to increase conversion.

Think of Google Analytics as home base.

How Google Analytics Works

Two parts: the person viewing your site has a Google cookie, and you have installed Google Analytics.

When you add Google Analytics to your website, it injects a bit of code into your website that allows it to send out what you can think of as a radar signal.

That radar signal beeps when it hits a Google cookie in a user’s browser.  Just like a radar, if someone with that cookie is on your site, no matter the page, the signal beeps.

If someone doesn’t have the cookie will the radar signal beep?  Nope. 

But how many people that you know haven’t been to a Google webpage?  Probably a very, very small percentage. 

So, Google Analytics sends out their radar signal based off the code you put into your website, people who are on your site register as a “beep” along with the location (the page they were on)  and their time at that location (how long they spent at that page) along with other metrics.

Setting up Google Analytics