A guide to website statistics with Google Analytics

Astronaut Designs uses Google Analytics for website statistics on all our projects as it provides an unparalleled analysis of your website for great value (it's free). Below is a short video tour of the interface, followed by a basic how-to guide on accessing and understanding your website stats.

Beginner's video tutorial

How to log in

Google Analytics login page

Go to www.google.com/analytics and click the "Access Analytics" button to login.

Login with your Google Account details. If you have not been given access to your analytics, please contact us.

In the account overview page you will see you website listed in the table. Click the view report link.

Google Analytics account overview

The Dashboard

Once logged in, you will see your 'Dashboard' with numerous charts and graphs. The large blue line graph shows the basic traffic trends for your website, with each blue dot representing one day. If you hover your mouse pointer over one of the blue dots, it will show the specific value for that day.

Google Analytics visits graph

Setting the date range

Google Analytics - change date range

The date range is shown in the top right corner - by default the date range will show the statistics for the last month. You can change this date range to any other by clicking the down arrow to the right of the date and then clicking on your start date in the calendar, followed by your end date and then clicking the 'Apply' button.

Visits vs Pageviews

By default, the graph shows the traffic measured in 'visits' - the number of unique visitors to the website each day. If you want to see how many pages of your website that visitors are viewing, switch the metric to 'Pageviews'. Click the dropdown menu above the top left of the graph to reveal the panel of options and select 'Pageviews'. Click the dropdown arrow again to hide the options panel.

Google Analytics - switch to pageviews

Map of traffic

Google Analytics - map overlay

In the Dashboard, you will see a panel called 'Map Overlay'. To see where in the world your website visitors are, click the 'View report' link below the world map.

You will see a larger map showing more details of the origin of your traffic, with dark green indicating the most traffic. If you hover your mouse pointer over a country it will reveal the total visits for that region.

Google Analytics

If you click on the country, it will zoom in to show more detailed statistics for that country. The chart below the map lists the total number of visits from each city or town.

Google Analytics - map

What pages are your visitors looking at?

The 'Content Overview' panel below the Map lists the 5 most popular pages on your website. Your homepage is indicated by a single forward slash " / ", and is always the most popular. Click the 'view report' link to go to the Content Overview page.

Google Analytics - top 5 pages

You will see a graph of your pageviews (the total number of pages viewed by all your visitors) with some options for further analysis. Click the 'view full report' link below the top 5 pages list. This will display the top 10 pages on your site. To see more than 10 pages, click the 'Show Rows' drop-down menu and choose another number.

Google Analytics - popular pages

How do your visitors find your website?

Google Analytics - traffic sources overview

The 'Traffic Sources Overview' panels in the Dashboard shows a pie-chart of how your visitors arrived at your website. 'Direct traffic' means a visitor typing the address of your site directly into their browser; 'Referring sites' means a link to your site was clicked on someone else's website; and 'Search engines' needs no explanation. Click the 'view report' link to access more details.

Keywords

The bottom right corner of the Traffic Sources Overview page shows the top 5 keywords that have been used in web searches that have led visitors to your site. Click the 'View full report' link to see all keywords that have resulted in traffic to your website.

Important note: You will mostly likely find that some of the most popular keyword searches are all derivatives of your website name or address. This is simply an anomaly caused by human tendency to do a Google search for your website name, as they may not be sure of the exact spelling or format of the website address. It would be more accurate to include keyword searches for your website name as 'Direct Traffic'. In the example below for our client Fish Fine Music, you can see that only 1 of the top 8 keyword searches relates to the content of the website, rather than the name of the business.

Google Analytics - top keywords

Traffic Sources Video Tutorial

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