Now you understand how you should be approaching Google Analytics before even opening the tool and the benefits of getting to know your data.
The next step is start to look at reporting that tells us about your overall site traffic. This is a great report to start getting your feet wet in Google Analytics and understand the basic concepts.
Ready? Ok, on the left side menu of your Google Analytics reporting, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
Essentially, this report shows up your overall site traffic, by the base metric being Page Views in the first numbers column. That doesn't mean we should just be focusing on Page Views but it is a anchor point for this whole report.
So, in general the first value you see at the top of this report is "/". Mysteriousss...but yes, that is your home page if your wondering. It might also come up as /home/ depending on how your URL is set up.
The next column says "Unique Pageviews". What is the difference? This is metric eliminates multiple page views on the same page within one visit. So, if I visit your site this morning and look at the Home page 3 times, that second column will only count 1 (while the first column would count 3).
Average Page Time can be a useful metric but you need me to careful analyzing any sort of averages.
Actually, with all analysis, don't make decisions off one or two isolated metrics. You need to build a hypothesis with several reports and once you feel like you have something truly distinguishable, then you can decide to action on it.
That doesn't mean you can't use what you have in your analytics today but the point is not to take anything to literally. Overtime, you will be able to better interpret your data and understand what is the likely actions of visitors to your site.
The fourth column, entrances are the number of visits that started from that page. Home Page is usually the highest here but you'd be surprised to see certain blog posts or other specific pages you share often and get incoming traffic.
Bounce rate we will look at on Day 8 so sit tight for that one. And finally, % of Exits, is the percentage of exits/pageviews for that specific page. It tells us the likeliness of a user to exit on that page. Keep in mind that a user has to eventually exit the site somewhere so this metric shouldn't be interpret as good/bad. Instead, maybe we should see where would be the ideal place for a user to visit and see if we can mould the visit in that way.
We will also be leaving the final Page Value for a future post. For now, pick one of the 5 metric columns I explained above and spend 5 minutes looking through the numbers and values. Write out on a piece of paper or type in a Google Docs any observations you have about the data. What is the most popular site page? What is the least in the top 10? Which has the most entrances? Keep it simple and write your interpretations.
Ok, good work! Share your findings in the blog comment below and let me know if any questions come up :)
Next up: Day 6: Case Study with Website Superhero on how she was able to use this data to impact her business.