July 25, 2013, 8:42 AM — You've set up Google Analytics on your website or blog. You've checked out your overall pageviews and bounce rate. Maybe you've glanced at your mobile traffic.
And this is where it usually ends. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the information-or even know exactly what to look for.
Though it can take some time to learn, Google Analytics is a rich information resource that can help you set and track business goals, create content that will speak to your target audiences and make more informed decisions about your Web presence.
Here are six tips, strategies and best practices from Google Analytics experts to help you get more from Google's free website analytics tools.
1. Know How Your Website Reflects What's Important to Your Organization
Many people log into Google Analytics to see "the cool things they can find out," says Jim Gianoglio, digital analytics engineer for LunaMetrics, a digital marketing and analytics consultancy and Google Analytics certified partner. "But they don't have specific questions in mind they want Google Analytics to answer. Then they experience this deluge of information. They don't know where to start, and they get overwhelmed."
Start by knowing your organization's top goals and objectives and how its website reflects them, Gianoglio says. From there, develop questions for Google Analytics related to your goals and objectives.
For example, if you're an online publisher, your goal may be to increase pageviews because that will expose visitors to ads. That's where the money comes from. Your questions for Google Analytics should evolve from there: Where are your pageviews coming from? What are the top landing pages? Which pages are performing poorly? And so on.
2. Focus on Actionable Data
Pageviews and unique visits can validate what you're doing right (or wrong). That's important, says Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, an SEO, social media and guest blogging service-but for most organizations, that information isn't usually actionable. "If you're spending your time looking at non-actionable data, you're wasting your time," DeMers says.
Instead, DeMers often focuses his time on three specific Google Analytics reports: