Google Analytics for Beginners

google analytics

I just recently completed a web analytics class, this is the third class I’ve taken for my Digital Media Certificate, and with this class came a Google Analytics Certification. I will be honest, I had no clue how to use Google Analytics or where to even begin before this class started, but once it was over I  left with a basic understanding of how to use this tool. The great part about analytics is, once you have a basic understanding of what you are looking for and how to navigate the software, Google Analytics kind of does the rest for you. This tool is a must-have if you use a blog or run your company’s website.

Google Analytics does the hard work for you.  Not many people want to manually track the activity on their website,  the amount of people who have filled out requested forms or how many  sales opportunities came from their  website. That’s where analytics comes in. Some frequent questions Google Analytics can help answer are:

  • How many people are visiting my website?
  • Where are thevisitors coming from?
  • Would a mobile- friendly site be beneficial to my website?
  • Which pages are most popular on my website?
  • How many of my visitors have become leads or customers?
  • Should I improve my websites speed?

These are all really great things to consider when you have a website, and I’m sure you’re ready to get started. The next step how do I begin tracking this information? It’s really easy! All you have to do is install Google Analytics and set up all of your website information into the system. From there you will click on the “Get TrackingID” button, this will give you your personalized tracking code, which you will install on every single page of your website so you can find the answers to all of those tricky questions above.

Once your tracking code is installed, you will need to set up goals.  These goals do exactly what you think they would; they will tell Google Analytics when something really important happens on a page. For example, if you have a website where you generate leads via contact form, you will want to set up or create a “thank you” page where visitors end up once they fill out a contact form. The best part about setting goals with Google Analytics is that you can set up to 20 different goals on each website you manage.This allows you to track more data and make sure your visitors have the best experiences on your site.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “This is all really great, but how do I know what I’m doing is working?” You are ready to view and start reading your data that Google Analytics produces for you. Every time you log into your Google Analytics account, you will automatically be taken to your audience overview report for your website. This report will give you graphs and numbers  to show you how many hits you’ve gotten on certain pages, how many people have been to your site, where your visitors came from, and, essentially, all of the questions we asked above. You are also able to change the dates of the data shown in the top right hand corner of the report just in case you wanted to look at past data or compare data from month to month. Hovering over data will give you a more in depth look with what is being shown. For example, if you hover over the line graph,  you will seea number of sessions for a particular day.

Google Analytics can seem scary at first, but once you do some research and learn about all the numbers and data that it can generate for you, it can only help your website. There are so many resources online and Google has courses on Google Analytics for free. Once you learn and study, you can even get certified in analytics because the test is free as well! These are some really great resources which everyone with a website or manages a website should take advantage of.