Google Analytics Overview - dummies

By Leslie Poston

Your Overview in Google Analytics will become your home away from home for social media metrics on your website, Facebook, and many other tools and sites that offer ways to work with this versatile Google tool. Your Overview is your gateway to all the data from the websites in which you’ve installed Google Analytics.

The sections of the Google Analytics Overview are as follows:

  • Dashboard/Website Profiles: This is where you will find a list of all websites you’ve opened Analytics accounts for. At this time, account ownership can’t be transferred, so the owner of the website itself should be the owner of the website’s analytics account. Of course, if a person owns multiple websites, those websites should all be in that person’s Overview for one-stop maintenance.

  • Name: This column holds the website URL and Google Analytics code in bold on the top line; the account installation link appears below it in regular type with a star next to it. The star simply gives you a way to “favorite” a site, just like you’d use it to mark things as favorites in other Google tools, like Gmail. Marking a site as a favorite is helpful if you own many websites and want to be able to sort them by most viewed.

  • Reports: Under this column, you will find the blue View Report link for each website. This link is how you access the actual data coming in for that site.

  • Status: A green check mark indicates that all is well with the analytics code running on that site. If you see a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark, you need to go into the settings for the site to figure out what is wrong or try replacing the code.

  • Visits: This section reveals how many people have come to visit your site in a certain period, generally a week.

  • Avg. Time on Site: This area measures the average time a visitor spends on your site per visit and tells you the average time on site for all visitors during the time period. Sites that are sticky have longer visit times than the average website — they’re designed well, so people want to spend more time interacting with the site. That’s a good thing.

  • Bounce Rate: This area simply measures how quickly someone who came to your site leaves without visiting any other pages than the one they clicked in on. The lower the percentage here, the better you’re doing at keeping folks interested in your site.

  • Completed Goals: This area requires going in to your site reports by clicking View Reports and setting goals to track different landing pages and campaigns. A site with no goals set for that time period will show 0 here.

  • % Change: This quick snapshot tells you whether you’re improving in any one of the previous four columns over the time period. A significant increase would merit a day-by-day look at the site to see what encouraged the improvement, and a significant drop might warrant some troubleshooting.

  • Actions: This column allows you to add new profiles for each site, edit the analytics for the site, or delete the site.