Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When do people visit my site? :: A Google Analytics Tutorial

Knowing how many people are visiting your site is great but knowing WHEN people are visiting your site is just as important. Knowing when people typically visit your site allows you to add new content when visits are at their highest levels so that the new content has a greater chance of being viewed.

Today we're going to tackle an age old question that dates back to the middle of the Paleozoic era (OK, maybe I exaggerated a bit). Today's question is: When are people visiting my site?

GA will help us answer this question. No, not the Peach State. Not Great Adventure either. The other GA: Google Analytics. This tutorial is based on the assumptions that you currently have a website, have Google Analytics installed, and have a very basic understanding of Google Analytics.

If you have never heard of Google Analytics (GA) before, GA is a powerful tool that allows people to analyze traffic to their website (and it's FREE). It provides users with a wealth of information and can help you answer questions such as:
  • How many people are visiting my site?
  • How do people get to my site?
  • How much time do people spend on my site?
  • What content do people look at while on my site?
  • When do people visit my site?

Today we are going to take a look at the last question: When do people visit my site?

Account Overview

For the purposes of today's tutorial we will be taking a look at the analytics info for our Famous Senior of the Day Tumblr Blog; other site profiles will be blurred to protect the innocent ;)

When we log in to GA we arrive at our account overview page (just click on thumbnails for larger images):

While we're here on the overview page let's take a quick look at what's going on. The overview page gives us a quick breakdown where we can see:

  • Number of visits our site has received
  • Average amount of time viewers spend on our site
  • Bounce rate (lower the better)
  • Completed goals
  • % change in visits (Tip: this can be changed via the drop down menu).

Looking at the top right hand corner of the screen we can see that these numbers are for a 1 month period (Tip: the period can be changed by toggling the buttons below the range).

Let's click view report to get some more information.

Dashboard

When we click on view report we are brought to the Dashboard screen:


The Dashboard gives us the same info we saw on the Overview page along with a graph (Tip: the graphed variable can be changed via the drop down menu). We can also see some new information towards the bottom of the screen including:

  • Visitors overview
  • Map overlay
  • Traffic sources overview
  • Content overview

These sections will allow us to answer questions such as:

  • What areas of the world are people viewing my site from?
  • What other sites are referring people to my site?
  • What are people looking at on my site?
  • When do people visit my site?

We want to find out when people are visiting our site so let's click on visits.

Visits

When we click on visits we are brought to the All Visitors Visits screen:



The default view for the Visits page is Visits / Day. This is great information for sites that feature certain content on specific days of the week such as a blog that may have a featured artist every Monday. You can easily scroll down your Visits page and see if you receive more traffic on certain days of the week (Hint: You can even compare your traffic from this Monday to last Monday using the Compare to Past feature in the date range drop down menu).

We now have an idea of what days our visitors like to come to our site but how about what time of day they like to visit? Let's click on the Hour button (clock icon right below the date range at the top right of the screen) to get that info.



We can now see what time of day people are visiting our site. It looks like our Famous Senior of the Day blog gets roughly 1/3 of its views during the hours of 3am-6am est. The graph shows us that our content has the best chance of being seen during our early morning hours which makes sense since roughly half of Tumblr users, and most of our blog followers, are located outside the United States.

Recap

To sum things up we can quickly ascertain when people are visiting our site by logging in to our GA account. Once logged in click view report > dashboard > visits > graph by hour

We now know when people are visiting our site and as some wise men once said, knowing is half the battle ;)

We hope this helped out a bit. If you have any GA related questions or any GA topics you would like to see covered in a tutorial please leave us a comment below and we'll see if we can help out ;)


Garrick @ Senioritis

4 comments:

  1. thank you so much! I get so overwhelmed with GA! I finally got it to work on my blog so I only have a few days of stats. but I can see how it will be helpful in the near future :)

    ♥ Tsuki
    http://littlegrayfox.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. No problem Tsuki, there's a bunch of great info available on GA our advice would be just click around and see what you find ;)

    If you have any questions or anything specific you would like to see covered just let us know!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for this info. Very clear! I have a request for another GA tutorial. The title could be something like, "How accurate are your GA reports"?

    With help from fellow Etsians on the Etsy Forum, I have just figured out how to filter out my own IP address so my visits to my own site are not included in the data reports. However, in the process of reading recent posts on GA site help I discovered that the filters are not working for several people. Though they have set up the filter, their clicks to their site are being tracked. I also found out that it matters which code (new or old) you are using on your website as this will effect how to configure the filters.

    Another question: I found my IP address on whatsmyipaddress website. Since my service provider is located in the next city over, it states this city as the location. Wouldn't this same city connected to my IP show up in my GA reports? Unless it is already filtering my own IP address automatically, this city connected with my IP does not show up in my reports. However, the city in which I live does show up in GA reports. I have many customers in my own city, as I wholesale to several local shops, but I cannot differentiate how many of these numbers are from my own visits.

    I hope I have filtered my own IP address correctly. I'll look at my reports tomorrow to see if there has been a change.

    Hope this isn't too confusing!Thanks for your help!
    Seanne

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  4. Glad this info was helpful Seanne ;)

    That's a great idea for another tutorial, we will work on putting something together.

    We were able to filter our IP out of GA using a filter for the new code.

    As for the second question, if I follow what you're saying it sounds like the location linked to your IP address is not showing up in GA reports but your physical location is. You may have successfully filtered out your IP and the traffic going to your site is made up of the local shops in your town. I would try asking in the Etsy forums to get some different opinions ;)

    ReplyDelete

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-senioritis