Understanding Data in Google Analytics – Part I – Visitorship
Like any business expense, you need to ensure that the investment you make in your website is worth it. Regular collection and review of your site metrics is the way to do this. Google Analytics offers you the power to capture some of the most critical data you need in order to make sure your site is working for you.
Google Analytics’ metrics can be broken out into four main categories—visitorship, sources, interactions and results. Let’s take a look at what visitorship data you can receive via Google Analytics.
Total Number of Visitors
Knowing how many people have come to your site in a given time period is a good benchmark to have. It allows you to track seasonality or to notice dramatic shifts that may not be as explainable, indicating further research is needed.
Number of Unique vs. Repeat Visitors
A unique visitor is someone who has never been to your site before. Taking your total overall number of visitors and identifying how many of them are new and how many of them are repeat visitors can give you a valuable window into your prospect base. Ideally, you want a good mix of both new and repeat site visitors.
Number of Page Views
This will tell you how many times individual pages on your site were viewed. From this data, you will be able to know which areas of your site are most popular. If what you consider your primary pages are among your most viewed, good job. If, however, your most viewed pages are not your top selling pages, you may need to make some changes.
Time Spent on Site
Seeing how long people stay on your site can give you an idea as to whether or not your site provided useful information to them. If they leave after just a few seconds, it may be that they came to your site inadvertently or that they quickly determined that you did not have what they wanted.
When a visitor comes to your site and leaves from the same page without taking any action or navigating elsewhere, he or she is said to have “bounced” from your site. Hence, your bounce rate is the percentage of overall visitor that did just this. Clearly this is an important metric as a high bounce rate signals your site is not offering what people need.
Put It All Together
Looking at all of the items above on a regular basis will yield valuable information about your site’s basic traffic rates. Without visits to your site, all other data becomes moot so making sure to keep the visitors coming—and staying—is job number one.