Category Archives: Tech Tools

Google Analytics Tips & Tricks

Google Analytics is installed on pretty much every website in existence and there’s a reason for that. It’s free, easy to use and offers powerful website traffic monitoring tools right out of the box. Beyond the basic reports such as sessions, page views and geolocation, Google Analytics also offers a wide range of in depth content as well as simple configurations that can help improve your understanding of your website visitors. I started using Analytics back in 2008 and since then it has grown in features by leaps and bounds. Below are a few examples of my favorite custom configurations and reports. Note that I assume you are already familiar with Google Analytics.

Filters

Filters allow you to exclude traffic from being included in analytics. When setting up a website the first one I configure is to exclude traffic from specific IP addresses. I include all of the IP addresses associated with my home, places I work, coffee shops I frequent, etc. Not sure what your IP address is? Google “ip address” or even “what’s my ip address, Google?” will work too :) . If I am working as part of a team or organization I include those IP addresses as well. For large teams and organizations you can also filter on an entire IP address range. Here is a look at a simple IP address filter accessed via Admin/View/Filters:

google analytics ip address filter

Site Speed

Navigate to Behavior/Site Speed to view the change in average loading time of all pages on your website over time, the average loading time for each of your website’s pages individually and even view some optimization suggestions for each page, such as minimizing CSS files or retrieving JavaScript files from a CDN. Here is a look at the average loading time for one of my older websites with an admittedly cheap hosting plan:

google analytics site speed

In-Page Analytics

Another one of my favorite features is the In-Page Analytics menu which shows the percentage of clicks per link on any given page on your site. This can help with quickly optimizing the homepage without building or integrating an A/B testing platform. Here is a look at the landing page for one of my websites with the In-Page Analytics showing the percentage of clicks per link in orange:

google analytics in-page analytics

Analyzing Mobile Traffic

Every day more and more internet traffic is coming from mobile devices and therefore it is critical to make sure that your website offers a quality mobile experience. Thankfully, Google Analytics provides an abundance of information on mobile device usage. Take a look at Audience/Mobile/Overview to get a quick breakdown of how much traffic is coming from mobile devices, Audience/Mobile/Devices to see exactly how much traffic is coming from specific device models and Audience/Technology/Browser & OS to breakdown desktop and mobile technologies further. My favorite report though is the benchmarking devices report which is found under Audience/Benchmarking/Devices. This will show you not only the number of sessions and quality of those sessions coming from tablet, mobile or desktop but critically the change in trend. Here is a look at a report for one of my websites which clearly shows that while a majority of traffic is still coming from the desktop, tablets and mobile are growing fast:

google analytics benchmarking devices

What’s Next?

This article is just a brief overview of some of my favorite reports and tweaks for Google Analytics. There are lots of resources online to show you have to create custom reports, track conversions, measure your sales funnel and more. Ultimately, if you want to get the most out of Analytics then you need to customize the platform to meet your specific website and business goals.