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?
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.
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.
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.
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 ;)