Google Analytics

In the past I have found myself in the situation of having to setup analytics accounts. The data on Google analytics is very specific and often requires some time to initialize setup and to get results. So, I have found that instead of trying to create custom rules to evaluate analytics data from scratch, there are bunch of pre-built dashboards that allow you to view the critical data that needs to be evaluated.

So, if you find yourself in the same boat I am in, you may be overwhelmed at the options out there and may not be sure what could be helpful. Over time I have found that these pre-built Google analytics dashboards work very well and are helpful for a majority of sites I have worked with.

  • Personal Blogger
  • This particular Google Analytics dashboard was created by Dashboard Junkie, which is a great resource for analytics dashboards in general. This particular board is geared to help give you a quick view about which of your blog posts are the most popular on your site.This dashboard is set on you having a permalink structure set to:/%category%/%postname%. Which basically just means your URL structure is set to be something like:www.yourdomain.com/category/post-name. When it is setup like this you are able to set rules to target your category, and then your page views per post are arranged in a way to easily allow you to scan which posts is the most popular on your site. This setup allows your posts to be separated from your pages, because the category provides a unique separation from your pages.
  • Site Performance
  • The site performance analytic dashboard is very useful for monitoring performance on your site. It captures many useful metrics such as: server response time, mobile loading time, caching information, load time for popular page times and average load page time.Straight out of the box this dashboard is great if you have decently trafficked site. However, if you have a site that gets smaller traffic or if you want to sample a larger test group of users you will need to do some adjusting of your analytics code. This is because by default this dashboard only pulls this data for about 1% of your audience.

    So, here is a setup I have created in the past in order to up my sample size:

      ga(‘create’, ‘UA-unique-code-for-your-site’, {‘siteSpeedSampleRate’: 50});ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’, ‘timing’, ‘timingCategory’, ‘timingVar’, timingValue, ‘timingLabel’, {‘page’: ‘/my-new-page’});

    This code is placed inside the same “script” tag as your analytics code. The key in this setup is to change the variable that comes after “siteSpeedSampleRate.” Because the larger the number, the larger the test size of information that is being pulled into this dashboard. In this example, the variable in place is pulling in 50% of the site traffic. If you would like to read more about how this setup works take a look at this article provided by Google.

  • SEO Dashboard
  • This dashboard allows for a little deeper dive into how users are finding your site through search. It allows you to quickly view organic visits and keywords that are building traffic for your site. Anna Lewis at Koozai created this dashboard and has created many other useful ones that are worth reading about, if you have an interest in trying to fine tune your SEO.
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