This is a guest post by David Murton, whose company, a small orange, provides personal and business hosting services.
Let’s get down to business!
1. Easily Export to Excel
Virtually any report you create in Google Analytics can be exported as a CSV file. You can open this file and manipulate it in Excel, eliminating the need for time-wasting copying and pasting.
2. Filter Out Specified Domains
If your Google Analytics code is somehow placed on another site, irrelevant data can severely compromise your statistics. You can easily set up a filter to exclude traffic from certain domains, or even from specific IP addresses. This is also useful for filtering out traffic from your own company, as well as companies that provide web hosting for businesses and regularly check your site.
3. Internal Search Statistics
With internal search statistics, you can see what site visitors are typing into your on-site search boxes. It even allows you to see what page the visitor was on when he or she performed the search, as well as the page they ended up on after choosing from the search results. In order for this feature to work, your site will need to include the search variable in the search results URL.
4. Funnel Visualization
Although funnel visualization may sound complicated, it’s actually a pretty simple Analytics provision that lets you see when users are backing out of a process on your site, such as placing a product order or subscribing to a membership. This information indicates what about your site (or your services) is scaring customers away from following through.
5. AdWords Integration
If your company advertises through Google AdWords, Google Analytics will provide you with data according to keyword, group or campaign. The data includes the number of clicks, displays, itemized costs, conversion rates and whether the ad led to a sale, or another predetermined goal. It even allows you to see your profit margin for each successful ad.
6. Measuring Performance Over Time
The original version of Google Analytics didn’t offer a way for users to compare a site’s current performance with its performance in the past. This has changed, and users can now compare two date ranges against one another to measure the relative performance of a company during various time periods.
7. Setting Goals
With Google Analytics, you can easily set goals for virtually anything, including sales, registration, successful ad conversions, traffic and more. When your goals aren’t successfully met, you can use this data to pinpoint and resolve flaws in your marketing strategy.
8. Track Visitor Loyalty
High traffic volume is great, but it counts for little without high levels of repeat traffic as well. Google Analytics lets you specify a date range and see how many users visited your site once never to return, as compared to those who returned a specified number of times.
9. Detailed Navigational Summaries
Detailed navigational summaries help you to see where your site visitors are coming from, be it an external site or a different page of your site. It also displays where they went next, and how they decided to navigate your site before they left.
10. Scheduled Reports
If you find yourself checking your Analytics reports too infrequently, you can schedule reports to be sent to your email inbox on a regular basis. You can also attach other email addresses to the scheduled report, and choose whether you’d like the report as a PDF, TSV, CSV or XML file.
11. Customizable Dashboard
When you start using Google Analytics, its Dashboard is preloaded with some basic widgets: traffic sources, content overview, goals overview, visitors, site usage, etc. Other useful features and metrics, such as search keywords, top landing pages and AdWords overview, must be accessed manually. However, when you do access these features, you can click the Add to Dashboard button at the top of the page and permanently add them to the Dashboard. You can also freely change the order of the widgets as they appear in the Dashboard, and delete the widgets you don’t use.
12. Top Content Pages
You can track each page of your site individually using Top Content Pages in order to determine the following:
- Page views
- Time spent on the page by the average visitor
- Number of people that leave your site once they’ve landed on the page
You might use this information to improve the pages of your site that cause visitors to leave most frequently.
13. Bounce Rates
Google Analytics easily displays your “bounce rate,” which is the number of visitors that leave your site immediately after entering it. You can also look at your bounce rate for each page comparatively, as well as how these rates change over time. This is perfect for companies looking to remove landing pages with the highest bounce rates.
14. Assignable Access Privileges
You can assign administrator-level access to anyone you’d like for your Google Analytics code, such as affiliates, superiors and key employees. You can also assign read-only privileges to lower-level employees, allowing them to log into your Analytics account and run reports of their own.
15. Site Overlay
With its a whirlwind of statistics and graphs, Google Analytics can become admittedly mind numbing. The Site Overlay feature makes it possible to open up your actual website and retrieve data by mousing over links. You’ll see how frequently the links are clicked, and whether these clicks were ultimately converted to a specified goal. This option is a great alternative for visual learners who may tire of the dry nature of Analytics.
16. PDF Exports
If you simply want to print out your reports with no need for manipulation, Google Analytics allows you to export those reports as a PDF.
17. Report Finder
This feature, which can be accessed from the left navigation bar under Help Resources, provides easy access your old reports, even if you created them before Google Analytics was upgraded. This resource largely takes care of report organization for you.
18. About This Report
Conspicuously missing from too many statistics packages, About this Report teaches you how to properly interpret the data you’re looking at with a single click. You’ll find an “About This Report” link on each page of your reports.
19. The Price
Arguably the best feature of Google Analytics is its cost: $0. Google’s line of thinking is that when more people try Analytics, they’ll see the untapped advertising potential in their sites and invest in Google AdWords. Regardless of whether you choose to pay for advertising from Google, you’ll be able to keep Analytics for free.
David Murton is a professional writer and webmaster whose company, a small orange, provides personal and business hosting services.
(image by Search Engine People Blog, on Flickr)