how to understand Google Analytics reporting part 1

although wordpress and blogger provide their own stats and figures tracking elements, google analytics is by far the most trusted voice in the industry. for London fashion week for example, you will need to provide 3 months worth of google analytics reporting (ie: november, december and january ahead of the february shows) so it is worth having a basic understanding of what it all means, and getting signed up.

starting out

in a nutshell, google analytics tracks the amount of traffic, where your traffic comes from and why you get it. it is an absolutely invaluable tool that will help you understand where you blog is going right, and wrong. setting up is incredibly easy, you simply need to insert a tracking code into your blog format – get all the info you need via google here.

logging in

when you have logged you will be face with a lot of charts and tabs, but don’t panic. you won’t need all of it – but here is a breakdown of the tabs on the left hand side which will help you navigate yourself around the page a little bit better:

  • audience – clicking on this brings up a visitor chart (below) and further tabs underneath the original button saying demographics (where you find out the location and language your visitors are from), behaviour (shows you what % of new vs returning visits you are getting, how many times people log on to your blog and how long they spend on the site), technology (what browser and what platform people are visiting you from), mobile (erm, slightly obvious – how people are using your blog from their mobile) and finally custom – which you don’t need to worry about unless you want to do something very specific.
  • advertising – if you use google adwords, you can view and analyse which advert campaigns work well, and what money you are making out of it.
  • traffic sources – clicking on this will show you where your traffic comes from, and what they are viewing. it creates a new drop down list: sources (where you can see what direct and referred traffic you are getting), search engine optimisation (which is where you can see what search terms people are using to stumble upon your blog) and then social (where you can see which social media program generate the most traffic for you)
  • content – this is very useful when you are trying to work out what blog posts get you the most traffic. clicking on this gives you a new dropdown list: site content (where you can see which of your posts generate you the most traffic), site speed (useful for you if you are developing your blog as it makes sure your posts aren’t too ‘big’ and taking too long to load – ie: image files too big, etc) site search (is what people search for using a tool box on your blog – blogger only)
  • conversions – don’t worry too much about this unless you are selling things via your blog, it is more for high-yield eCommerce sites. info can be found here.

next up, the centre of the web page has two key elements when you log in under the audience tab (click audience, click overview). here is a quick synopsis – good enough for you to be able to use the program well. here is the first part:


here is the visitor overview page. i’ve highlighted the key parts with red arrows. on the top right is the date setting, which you can adjust by the day – there is no limit to the time period you can search from (from the date you installed google analytics). typically, the most useful is the ‘month’ and the ‘week’ options marked just below it. as you can see you have highs and lows in traffic level – my highs are at the beginning of the week except for when i ran a competition between the 29th september and the 5th of october as you can see by the stagnated levels. FYI – on the left hand side there are numbers averaging your traffic, which i have removed for this picture. below this part of the page, are the numbers themselves:


dependent on the date settings you have set on the first panel, here are your traffic figures. on the top left of the page are the basic details you will need to be able to give brands or magazines the statistics they need. visits, is the number of times people have been to your site, unique visitors is the number of different people (tracked via IP address) and pageviews are the number of different pages/posts somebody has viewed.

easiest way to remember it is, if a person visits your site on 2 different occasions and views 3 pages, it would be = 2 visits, 3 page impressions and 1 unique visitor.

the language option on the bottom left is useful so you can understand what countries your readers come from. for example, if 99% of your traffic comes from France then you should avoid blogging about brands that don’t have a presence in France. on the flip side, if you want to encourage brands from a new region who don’t read your blog – you can see which countries to target here.

ooh, and finally – one key thing you need to be able to do is download a google analytics report – by clicking on the ‘export’ tab on the visitor overview page (marked with an arrow on the left hand nav bar) you will be able to do this.

image source here.

2 responses to “how to understand Google Analytics reporting part 1

  1. Pingback: how to work out your word-count-worth for posts | pitch&post·

  2. Pingback: how to make sure you’re measuring your traffic correctly | pitch&post·

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