Using Google Analytics to Track Website Traffic

What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a tool for analyzing traffic on your website. Many such tools exist but Google Analytics is easy to install and provides an enormous amount of information about your website traffic. It can tell you who is coming to your site, what they're looking for, and how they're getting there. But the downside of using this tool is that it can provide so much information it can become overwhelming!
Read on to learn a little about the features and jargon.

How do I setup Google Analytics?
To use Google Analytics, you'll need to set up a Google account. You (and anyone you give specific access to) will be the only one able to see analytical information about your website.

1. Go to Google Analytics.

2. If you do not have a Google account, click Sign Up Now, to the left of the sign-in box. This will take you to a page where you can sign up for a Google account.

3. If you have a Google account, use your email address and password to sign in.

4. Click the Sign Up button to continue.

5. Cut and paste the code into the top level page of your website.

Now What?
Once you set up your account and insert Google's JavaScript into your pages, you can see the charts and graphs Google uses to overview of your site's performance. However, information for your site may not appear until 24 hours after the code has been inserted into your website.

After the waiting period, you can log into Google Analytics to view reports about website that will give you useful information that can be used to better target your marketing effort.

The Jargon
Some common analytics vocabulary:
  • Average Time on Site shows how long each user spent on your site.
  • Bounce Rate tells what percentage of users left after viewing only one page on your site.
  • Content Overview specifies the top five most viewed pages over the time period you're looking at.
  • Map Overlay shows you what part of the world visitors are coming from.
  • New Visits shows what percentage of your users have come to your site for the first time.
  • Pages per Visit tells how many pages, on average, users view when they come to your site.
  • Pageviews tells how many times the pages on your site have been viewed.
  • Time on Page tells you how much time, on average, users from that particular source spent on the page in question.
  • Traffic Sources Overview shows which percentage of users are getting to your site by typing your URL directly into their browser, and via search engines, referring sites, and other avenues such as emailed links.
  • Visits tells you how many visits there were to your page. A visit is defined as a page view when that user has viewed no other page on your site in the past half hour.