using Analytics

How much traffic does your website get?

Do you even know?

Well, it’s something you should know about if you want to measure the results of your hard work in growing your presence online. Luckily, there’s this free tool that does it for you called Google Analytics.

In this post, I will show you how to install the Google Analytics service on your WordPress website and walk you through how to track and check your traffic and even give you tips on how to improve an reach more people.

Installing Google Analytics on WordPress

You’ll need to have an account with Google, so head on over to Gmail and sign up if you don’t.  Now visit the Analytics webpage, and click ‘sign up’, there you’ll sign in with your Gmail credentials and it’s pretty simple from there on in.

After filling out the information about your website, you’ll have to install the tracking code.  You can copy and paste the code onto the pages of your website.  If you’re using WordPress however, you can install a plugin which will make the process much easier.

Below is a video stepping you through the process, but first:

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How to use Google Analytics – the basics.

Going through the various reports and information about your website’s traffic is quite easy, and any curiosities you may have can easily be found with a quick search through the options.

In the video below I show you exactly how to navigate Google Analytics

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When you first log in you’ll see an overview of your website’s visitors, and perhaps some of the most interesting information – how many visits you’ve received this month (or selected time period),  what language they speak, bounce rate, pages per visit, etc.

By exploring the left sidebar, you’ll notice for areas you can explore:

  • Real-Time: See information about who is using your website right now.
  • Audience: Learn about who your website visitors are, where they come from, etc
  • Acquisition: Information about where your website traffic is coming from.
  • Behavior: This area shows you what people are doing when they’re on your website.
  • Conversions: Where you can set goals and track their succession.

Below are some areas you can start with…

Learn About Who the People Visiting Your Website Are

One important thing you must understand about your visitors is who they are, what language they speak and where they come from!

The first and foremost thing is to discover what language they speak (under Audience ->Geo->Overview in the left sidebar).  For example, if you write a blog post in German and the spoken language of your visitors is 78% English – you’ve just catered for a minority of your audience while comprising the largest group! This can easily be overcome however by using a translation widget from Google (or plugin for WordPress).

Secondly what country they’re from (Audience ->Geo ->Location) will give you some idea about what’s culturally acceptable to the majority of your readers.

Being an Aussie, talking about Australian Events mostly to my Primary US audience would be an ineffective way to connect or engage my readers, but discussing Hollywood movies or famous American Entertainers gives us some common ground.  So try to keep your information relevant.

country analytics

The better you understand your visitors’ background the more chance you have of giving them what they want – which means return traffic and new traffic via word of mouth.

What Interests Them?

What are the most viewed pages on your website?  The most viewed are generally the most popular.  But you can also track which pages tend to lead to more page views, and which have a higher bounce rate.

This can be discovered by going to the left sidebar under Behavior-> Site Content ->All Pages.  You’ll see which pages have the most visits, and also which have the highest/lowest bounce rate (sort the rows by clicking on the column title).

Pages that receive decent levels of traffic and have a low ‘Bounce rate’ (the rate at which users leave directly from your website) or a high ‘average time on page’, then do your best to drive more traffic to these pages. The type of information on those pages seems to be sought after so expand on them to deliver better & more detailed content to attract more visitors.

If you have a page that receives a high amount of traffic but has high bounce rate, then you need to make that page interesting.  People are showing up, you have their attention and they’re turning straight around and leaving.  So try to improve these pages and reduce your bounce rate!

There are even specific sections in analytics for landing pages and exit pages under Behavior-> Site Content  – so you can quickly identify where people arrive and when they leave.  Try to improve the exit pages to decrease the frequency of a user leaving your website.

Investigate your traffic sources to see where people are coming from before landing on your site –  this helps not only to tell you where to further focus your efforts (build on your strengths) but also where your readers are visiting when they aren’t on your website.  For example, I run a martial arts website, if I constantly get referrals from a Bruce Lee site then I need to write more about Bruce Lee!

You can constantly investigate and identify strengths and weaknesses to improve the content you want to deliver, and keep people coming back.

What Technology Are They Using?

If you’ve got a good idea of who your audience is, where they’re from and what interests them, try to perfect the delivery by paying attention to what they’re using to view your content.  Under Audience -> Technology You’ll find ‘Browser & OS’ – this is useful information for the design of your website.  Be sure to test your website out on various browsers, particularly those taking up the biggest percentage of your visits.


Another important aspect of good design is finding a good resolution to design your website for – under Audience -> Custom -> User Defined – click on Secondary Dimension -> Technology -> Screen resolution (you can type ‘screen resolution’ up the top.

Then you can sort by highest to lowest sessions (by clicking the column ‘sessions’) and discover what the most popular screen resolution is for your website – but instead of designing for that, try to find the lowest resolution which accounts for a decent amount of your traffic.  For example, I have a website that is viewed in 320 x 480 by 1% of my visitors, so I don’t fuss over designing for that resolution.  Instead, I go up from there and find that the next lowest resolution with more traffic.  It is 1024 x 768 –  this is 16% of my traffic.  Therefore I aim to make my design fit at least 1024 x 768.

But it doesn’t end there!

Under Audience -> Mobile -> Overview you’ll see just how many people are using a mobile phone to view your site.  Generally speaking, it’s essential to design for mobile, so planning for a Responsive Design may be the answer to both the Mobile Phone users as well as those viewing your site with a lower resolution.

Where are they coming from?

By cycling through your Traffic Sources (on the left pane) you can find out where most of your traffic originates from.

If you’re getting a lot of ‘direct traffic’ this can mean many things. Either people remember your website and are visiting because they’ve memorized the URL (which should be easy if you’ve got a good domain name)  or they’ve seen your website address elsewhere and visited by typing it into their browsers.

In the first case, this means you’re delivering quality content and people are checking back.  In the second case then your efforts to market your website by displaying your URL are working. So figure out where your URL is displayed and spread the word through that medium to gain more traffic from those sources.

If certain websites are sending traffic your way then try to get more links up on similar websites or get more links up on the existing websites already linking to you.  This also works for social media.

If you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr or any other website that has a very social & sharing theme than work harder on the ones delivering more traffic.  Gain more followers, make your content more shareable, post more often and make an effort to take it to the next level.

Explore Google Analytics

It doesn’t end there and I can’t possibly list every way of utilizing Google Analytics.

Ask yourself if there’s any aspect of your traffic or visitors that can be analyzed with this extremely useful tool.  Try to understand it more in order to have a better idea of the next step you need to take.  Try simply exploring Google Analytics to see what reports it does offer and weigh up its usefulness – you might find a good idea will land right in your lap.

Either way, if you haven’t tried out Google Analytics it’s well worth a look to better understand your website and people using it.

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