Last week I attended a talk by Melinda Samson, a Google-qualified Analytics expert, on the basics of how to use Google Analytics. There was so much great information shared, so I thought I’d pass on a few little bits of wisdom that particularly stood out.
For those who’ve never looked at Google Analytics, it’s a free tool provided by Google to help track data about your website. To get started, you need to:
There’s so much information you can get from Google Analytics about your website, but some of the most essential information includes:
I’ve always had a very vague notion of what the bounce rate is, but Melinda cleared that all up for me last week. In very simple terms, the bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your website and leave without clicking on anything. This could happen for any number of reasons, so a high bounce rate is not always cause for concern. It just depends on what the function of your website is. Here are a couple of reasons you might have a high bounce rate:
A surprising bit of information that I learnt at the talk was that not all visitors are tracked by google due to their cookie settings. The percentage of untracked visitors isn’t known, but Melinda estimates it could be around 10-20%.
Google Analytics requires cookies to capture data from your visitors, and many web users block these in their security settings. So the ratios will still be about right in your data, but the actual numbers may be a bit lower than what is actually happening. This is why you might see a discrepancy between some other tracking tools and Google Analytics. On the plus side, if your visitor numbers are really low in Google Analytics, you can take heart that they could be higher than what you’re seeing! That can only be good for the ego.
For more information on getting started with Google Analytics, take a look at Google’s Guide to Getting Started with Google Analytics.