Google Analytics for Complete Beginners

Google Analytics is the single best free tool for website owners out there. Unfortunately it’s also one of the most complicated.

Fortunately, 99.9% of website owners just don’t need most of what it can do, and what’s left might be simpler than you think! Let’s look at a handful of things you can do today to learn more about your users, no engineering degree required.

Real-time Visitors

Real-time Overview in Google Analytics

How to get there

Click “Real-time” and then under it “Overview” in the sidebar.

What you see

Every visitor currently on your site.

What it’s good for

Getting excited! There’s nothing better than seeing the visitors come after a big post gets published or an email blast goes out. Fire it up, sit back and enjoy!

Keeping it calm

There’s a big graph on the right, and even more data below it, but you don’t need any of it to get started, just look at the big number on the left. That’s how many people are on your site right now!

Fortunately, 99.9% of website owners just don’t need most of what it can do, and what’s left might be simpler than you think!

Adding Google Analytics to your website has never been easier.

Install Google Analytics

Audience Overview

Audience Overview in Google Analytics

How to get there

Click “Audience” and then under it “Overview” in the sidebar.

What you see

How many people have visit your site each day.

What it’s good for

Knowing how well you’re doing. The bigger the spike in the graph, the more impact your blog post, tweet or email blast had. Use the graph to decide what works best for your audience to drive even more traffic.

Keeping it calm

There’s a lot of numbers on this page, but the default big graph at the top gives you all the info you need to get started.

Referrals

Referral Traffic in Google Analytics

How to get there

Click “Acquisition” and then under it “All Referrals”.

What you see

How people get to your site.

What it’s good for

Knowing how your visitors found you. If you see a lot coming from twitter.com, it means people must be tweeting about your posts. If you see many coming from a specific blog, plan a guest post or giveaway to capture even more of that attention.

Keeping it calm

There are a lot of columns in the table. The one that matters is all the way on the left “Sessions”. You can ignore everything else until you’re ready to learn more.

How to install Google Analytics

Google Analytics can be added to any website in just a few minutes. Just visit Google Analytics to get started.

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