church website analytics

Google Analytics - Content Engagement

Screen Shot 2013-01-12 at 9.13.26 AM
Screen Shot 2013-01-12 at 9.13.26 AM

Have you ever wondered what people are engaging with on your site?  Through the Content feature on Google Analytics you can see what pages people are going to, how long they are saying, where they are leaving from, and so much more!  Let's take a look at some of the core features of Google Anaylytics Content feature.

When you first open the page you will see a graph that will look much like the Google Analytics Home screen, but the graph displays total page views rather than overall site views.  This means that if someone goes to 5 different pages on your site they will be counted 5 times on this page, but only once on the overall site views.

Below the graph you will see a bolded list of numbers.  These are the key statistics that you will want to monitor on this page.  Let's review this list and what each of these numbers mean:

Pageviews: this is the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.

Unique Pageviews: this is the number of visits during which the specified page was viewed at least once. A unique pageview is counted for each page URL + page Title combination.

Avg. Time on Page: this is the average amount of time visitors spent viewing a specified page or set of pages.

Bounce Rate: this is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page).

% Exit: this is the percentage of site exits that occurred from a specified page or set of pages.

Generally when people visit your site you will want to engage them beyond the home page and these analytics help you to really understand how well you are doing this.  You can see how many and which pages they visit, how long they stay on these pages, and which ones they typically exit your site from.

Below the primary list of Analytics you will see the title "Page" with a list of your pages underneath.  This will list you site pages in order of popularity giving you the pageviews and % of site views.  You can actually click on each of these pages for another full page of analytics on each of these pages, but I won't get into that detail in this blog post.  Check it out though, I think you will also find this information to be interesting and valuable.

This information can tell you a great deal about the content on the site and potential adjustments that you might need to make.  One page might get more views just because of the location of the link on the home page or it could be the appeal of the graphic or the wording of the link.  I encourage you to take this information and experiment with various changes trying different locations, graphics, etc. to better understand the behavior of your audience to your site.

Whatever you do though, don't get comfortable!  Never stop trying new things!

Google Analytics vs. StatCounter

In the church world there is always the debate on how much attention is given to numbers.  It's similar in the blogging world as well.  For those that have small numbers tend to say that numbers aren't important and for those that have large numbers maybe focus too much on them. I'm a numbers guy by nature and I like to track as much as I can when it comes to anything that I do.  One of the things I love about the web and analytics are the details in which you can track.  This is why I love both of these tools that measure numbers online: Google Analytics and StatCounter.

Google Analytics is an incredible tool and the standard for most users.  You can track everything from how many people came, how they got there, and how long they stayed.  It really is amazing.  The downside to Google Analytics is that it can be overwhelming to a new user and make them hesitant to dig into the value of these reports.

Statcounter on the other hand is not nearly as complex, but also does not have as many details in reporting of Google Analytics.  When you first open the page it will give you a report of the past few days with how many unique visitors you had and how many total page views for each day.  You can dig in further from there (I tend to check the Recent Visitor Activity page next).

My system for using these tools is not either or, but both and.  I check Stat Counter daily spending only about 5 minutes on the site each time.  I use Google Analytics about once a week spending about 15 minutes each time digging into my traffic, leads, and general trends.

I would love to hear what you use and how you use it when it comes to traffic on your blog or website.