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The Google Analytics Dashboard is like the dashboard of your car. The Google Analytics (GA) Dashboard provides you with the high level overview of your site. Like an executive summary, the GA Dashboard provides you a high level snapshot of what’s happening with your website.  The Dashboard provides you with at-a-glance marketing, traffic and performance reports in one easy to read interface. Like the “check engine” light on your car dashboard that indicates troubles with your engine, the GA Dashboard alerts you that something about the performance of your website requires attention. The website issues can then be diagnosed with further troubleshooting in the specific areas of the GA Dashboard.

In subsequent posts we’ll dig deeper on the power of these tools, bit for now, here are a few of the things that are seen on the GA Dashboard once you log in and access a specific website being tracked:

  • Date Ranges – At the top right of the Dashboard you’ll find the date ranges setting. This range will defaults to last 30 days, but you can easily be changes to longer or shorter periods, and can set up comparison date ranges.
  • Site Usage – Beneath the date range, you’ll see a header that says Site Usage, with six small charts underneath. Under Site Usage, you’ll find quick information on various site traffic statistics for the time period shown in the main chart. Each one has an individual chart:
  • Visits represent the number of individual sessions initiated by all the visitors to your site. If a user is inactive on your site for 30 minutes or more, any future activity will be attributed to a new session.
  • Pageviews is the total number of pages viewed on your site, telling how many times the pages on your site has been viewed.
  • Pages/visit signifies how many pages, on average, users view when they visit your site.
  • Bounce Rate indicates the percentage of users who left the site after viewing only one page of your site.
  • Avg. Time on Site shows the average length of time a user spends on your site.
  • New Visits shows the percentage of new users to your site; those who have not visited your site before.

Beneath the Site Usage Table, you’ll see 4 more sections or headers that include Visitors / Map Overlay / Traffic Sources Overview / Content Overview:

  • Visitors – Indicates how many people came to your site and how extensively did they interact with your content? From the traffic overview you can drill down and view the characteristics of different visitor segments and examine the different factors that make up visit quality.
  • Map Overlay – With this map you can see volume (visits, pageviews) and quality (pageviews per visit, conversion rates, per visit value, etc) metrics by geographic region. You can select a metric from the pull-down menu above the map. Click on any region to zoom into the next level.
  • Traffic Source Overview: This report provides an overview of the different kinds of sources that send traffic to your site. The graph shows traffic trends; the pie-chart and tables show the traffic sources driving the trends. “Direct Traffic” is visits from people who clicked a bookmark to come to your site or who typed your site URL directly into their browser. “Referring Sites” shows visits from people who clicked to your site from another site. “Search Engines” shows visits from people who clicked to your site from a search engine result page.
  • Content Overview – This report provides an overview of pageview volume and lists the pages (Top Content) that were most responsible for driving pageviews. Entrance Points allows you to monitor the bounce rates for your most important landing pages.

Some other helpful Google Tools and Menus found on the initial Google Analytics Dashboard include:

  • Main Menu – This is found at the top left side of the Dashboard. This provides you with sub menus of more in depth reporting tools and analysis of your Google Analytics.
  • Custom Reporting Tools and My Customization – More on this later, but for now appreciate that Google Analytics can be tailored to create custom reports for you individual goals and site needs.
  • Help Resources – Common to all reports, if you need to refresh what information or report you are looking at, these offer some quick reminders as well as help point you in the right direction for how to use the data you’re looking at.

Also note that the Google Analytics Dashboard is a customizable collection of report summaries. You can add or remove reports from the Dashboard view. To add a report to this Dashboard, first navigate to the report and then click “Add to Dashboard” at top left (directly below the report title). Change the position of reports in the Dashboard by clicking and dragging them. To remove a report summary from the Dashboard, click “remove” on the report summary. Click “view report” on the report summary to navigate to the full report.

Now that you know what the dashboard can do for your website, the next posts will dive deeper into extracting more information to power up your website performance. If you need immediate help with Google Analytics Consulting, contact us today!