The Basics

Finally.  Now that we’ve reviewed some of the gadgets you’ll see on every Google Analytics report, let’s look at some actual numbers.  This is the collection of numbers that Google Analytics automatically shows you when you first log in.  You can always get back to them by choosing “Overview” under the “Audience” tab on the sidebar.

XXXX people visited this site.  Let’s revisit the three terms that cover all analytics discussions.  Remember Timmy?  This metric is saying that XXXX number of Timmys visited your site in the selected time period.  Personally, I take a tiny bit of exception to this statement, since “people” and “unique visitors” are not quite the same, but whatever.  What they really mean is “unique visitors”, and you’ll note that the number exactly matches the unique visitor number below.


Visits.  So, 34,051 Timmys made 64,832 visits during the selected time period.  That means that (very roughly) each Timmy visited an average of two times.  Not bad.  Visits per weekly unique visitor or monthly unique visitor is useful to track.


Pageviews.  So, 64,832 visits for 74,797 page views or, roughly speaking, 1.15 page views per visit.  Pretty low for a news site, but…


Visit Duration.  The visit duration is pretty high, so perhaps the low page views per visit are more like a sign of good navigation and search engine optimization than a sign of disinterest.


Bounce Rate.  12.02% bounce rate is very low.  Since the average page views per visit is 1.15, it’s nearly certain that there are many one page visits (which normally would increase the bounce rate) which also had events associated with them (which would decrease the bounce rate).


% New Visits.  A healthy mix of new and returning visitors is your goal.  In this case, the roughly 60-40 ratio is perfect.  This is a trend you want to watch over time.  The percent of new visits should erode dramatically the first few months after site launch, but then it should stay steady.  If it drops, you need to up promotion — the choir may still be coming to your site, but the congregation is dwindling.