<< by on December 26th, 2012
First things first, if you aren’t using Google Analytics, set it up now. If you are already using it, I really hope your Home tab doesn’t have the default Dashboard. Yes, okay, it may be helpful to some, to know how many visits are coming through, but you should consider setting up multiple NEW dashboards, where you specifically indicate what activity is shown when you first log in.
Dashboards are a quick and easy way to get a glimpse at the activity on your site. The great thing is, you can set up multiple dashboards down to the profile level, so if the programming department has a filtered profile, they can set up a dashboard that best suits them, while the sales department can see what’s most important to them, and so on and so forth. Google Analytics is a fantastic (and FREE!) tool that provides you with so much data you won’t know what to do with, but if it’s too difficult or time consuming to get down to the nitty gritty, sometimes it gets overlooked and thrown under the table when it could potentially be helping you improve your business.
Step 1: Establish Your Goals
Like in any venture in life, you should first figure out what’s most important to you, and be sure you measure performance correctly to ensure you reach those goals. Double check and make sure your goal tracking is set up correctly in Analytics. If it’s not tracking your performance accurately, then you are making a lot of decisions based on bad data.
Step 2: Create Multiple Dashboards
While there’s virtually an unlimited amount of data you can pull from Google Analytics, you really need to narrow down what’s going to help you best reach your goals. Set up separate dashboards for different goals, and then create widgets to better understand where those goals came from. You can also set up whole dashboards just for a certain traffic source, like paid search or organic search, to quickly understand all your metrics regarding traffic from that particular source.
Step 3: Implement Widgets
As just mentioned, set up widgets that will help you quickly understand where your goals are coming from. Maybe set up a widget breaking down your goal by mobile vs. non-mobile traffic, or create a widget showing a pie chart showing where the goals or traffic sourced from; this kind of data will tell you where you should focus or refine your efforts.
To create widgets, you can simply take an existing report (standard or custom) and choose the Add to Dashboard option. This method will allow you to click on your dashboard widget to go to the full report and see the full data breakdown. You can also create a simple, stand alone widget directly in your dashboard.
Step 4: Use the Data
Be sure to consistently monitor your new dashboards. The whole purpose of them is to bring you up to speed on all your most important data concerns as soon as you log in, so it shouldn’t be a daunting task. You can easily export pretty PDFs to email to managers or to clients, and can also set these up to email out automatically, making your life easier. There’s even an option to Share Dashboard, sending a link to someone else so they can look at the same dashboard with their login.
Let me know if you get this implemented, and I hope it saves you as much time as it saves me!