5 Things I’ve Learned About Google Analytics

Learned Google Analytics

Have you noticed Google Analytics has changed it’s look?  I’m not sure exactly when that happened, but I’m so glad it did!

In fact, just today I noticed they’ve added an “Ask a Question” box.  While I think that’s great, it still doesn’t quite help me.  I think that’s because I’m still not 100% comfortable with all the terms and reports that are available.

I have a previous post on my blog where I gripe about how I have NO IDEA what I am looking at inside Google Analytics.  After going back and reading that post (you can read it here) I realized I never did make that “Best of…” post.  Now that GA has changed it’s format a bit I think I could manage it, assuming, of course, that pageviews is the thing to determine a “best post”!  (Seriously, go read that older post – some other bloggers have great thoughts on what makes a popular post.)

That being said, I wanted to share some things I (finally) have figured out inside Google Analytics.

The boxes on the home page show a variety of metrics.  I like that I can pull down the piece in the lower left of each box to change the time frame displayed.  This is great because some months are slower than others, and to get a real idea of monthly averages I like to look at 90 days and divide by three.  I feel it gives a more accurate long-term number of how my blog is doing!

Things I've Learned Google Analytics

Another great thing is the ability to click through from some of the home page boxes to see the metrics expanded.  For instance the front page told me that most of my readers are from Canada and the United States.  (No surprise there.)  But when I click “Location Overview” at the bottom of that box it opens my Location page.  When you scroll down there there is a ton more information!  For instance, my readers from the UK read the most pages and stay longer than either my US or Canadian readers.  

I can see which pages people visit the most.  This is key for me.  I did a sponsored post (you can read it here) and they wanted reports of how the post was doing.  I had no idea what numbers they were looking for!  Inside my WordPress dashboard I have 2 other statistics programs besides Google Analytics, and, of course, they all showed different numbers.  So ultimately I gave them all the numbers, with a little blurb about where I got them from.  This was before GA changed it’s look.  Now I can see on the front page (at the bottom) the pages my users visit.  And it includes the bounce rate right there too, which is great!  When you click Pages Report at the bottom of that box it takes you to the Pages page and again, there is a ton of info there!

Things I've Learned Google Analytics

Remember when you are looking at your stats – on almost every page (or maybe every page) you can edit the date range displayed.  This has caught me out a few times when trying to figure things out.  It looks like the default is the last 7 days.  If you need numbers from when a post went live, make sure you pull down the date range in the upper right corner to catch all the days (or months!) you need.  

5 Things I've Learned About Google Analytics

You can also pull down the boxes at the bottom of the pages.  I often like to see more than 10 posts per page, so I choose 25 when I’m looking at things like Bounce Rate or Exit Rate.  It’s neat to figure out what posts lead to other posts and what is often visited, read, and then the user leaves.

While I’m feeling more comfortable exploring Google Analytics now, I know there is still a lot for me to learn.  As I muddle through this blogging business it’s really neat to see what people are enjoying on my page.  Sometimes it inspires me to create new content with older ideas. 

Share what you like, and use the most, on your Google Analytics home page – or any other page.   Anything you’ve learned will be helpful for me, so leave a comment!  

And don’t forget to join my on my blogging journey.  My emails go out once a week with an update of what was published on my blog that week, and a sneak peek of what’s up next.  (I’ll never spam you or sell your email – though I may shoot an email your way when I’m looking for input or ideas!)




I’m looking forward to hearing what you love about Google Analytics (or at least what you use most!)  Don’t forget to leave me a comment!

~Jess

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26 Comments

  1. This is really useful, thanks! Like you, I’m not very good at using Google Analytics and it’s all a mystery to me. It’s useful to find the page views, I’d not seen that before. I’m guessing the page value would be relevant if you were to use Google Adsense? That’s something else that completely mystifies me!

    1. I think that’s what the page value columns are for. I’m not into AdSense so they all show zeros for me. I’m glad I figured out page views, so I can provide proper numbers when I have sponsored posts.
      ~Jess

  2. I don’t use GA yet. I haven’t even gone self hosted yet so hats off to all you bloggers deep in the GA game. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it from where I currently am, and to be honest it scares the cr@p out of me! lol
    Thanks for linking to #globalblogging

    1. I used to be on Blogger, and all the stats were there so I never bothered with GA. Now I find WP reports stats as well, but they don’t always jive with what GA has to say – and for some reason all the “companies” want those statistics. There sure is a lot to know! 😀
      ~Jess

    1. There sure is Jayne! I was so happy to see a bit better layout – at least for me. I think it’s just a matter of clicking around and seeing what all the pages show. I don’t think I’ll ever have it all straight though! 😉
      ~Jess

  3. I have a love-hate relationship with Google Analytics. I like to know what’s going on, but can get so caught up in the data that I waste a ton of time exploring. It’s definitely not built to be easily or quickly understood.

  4. I don’t really understand Google Analytics, but am very grateful for posts like yours that help to explain it. I’m also very grateful for my web manager, who keeps tweaking my site so that we stay ahead of the game.

  5. Ah this is so useful, I rarely use analytics, well not as much as I should because I STILL haven’t sussed it all out yet – thanks this has been a great insight Thank you for sharing at #familyfun

    1. Truth be told, I don’t visit my analytics very often either. I get so overwhelmed (or lost) so quickly. I should probably be paying more attention to my traffic, but who has the time?!
      ~Jess

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