Google Analytics Best Features

In my recent article, What Is Google Analytics, I started a discussion about this tool that every blogger must and should have. Google Analytics have several features - they are far too many to name. So in this article I'll show you my best Google Analytics features and give you a chance to show us yours. 

Google Analytics is supremely fascinating. When I log in I have to make sure I have more than a few minutes to spare because (be warned) time slips by when you discover the details and information it's collecting and storing about your sites. 

My top four Google Analytics features

Page views
I think it would be hard to find anyone who doesn't agree that Google analytics page views is the top feature when it comes to tools for your blog. Granted, my Google analytics always gives a different number of pageviews than my Blogger stats (usually fewer), but the other features that come with detailing your page views far outweigh any insight to traffic Blogger stats can provide. You can choose weather you want to see your pageviews on a weekly or monthly basis, and toggle between the two.

Google analytics is the only tool that gives you a detailed break-down of each day and each visitor. This if course helps you to properly determine what posts brought more visitors to your site, and perhaps help you to gauge which days are best for posting new articles on your blog. 

Top content
This feature not only tells you which of your posts are viewed the most. It tells you how many unique page views are related to that post, how much time people spent reading that post, the percentage of exits you got from that post, and how much that post earned you.  I like this because based on the top contents (and how long people spent reading them) I can clearly see how my next article should be written. The top content on Google analytics also helps me decide how long my posts should be, what they should include, what my visitors liked reading, and what types of posts kept them clicking through to the rest of my site.

Entrance sources
Google analytics also provides a very detailed breakdown of the paths though which people got to your site. There's of course, a further breakdown of how long people from different sites stayed, how much they read, etc.
I particularly like this feature because it shows me where I need to concentrate my efforts. I see various sites sending traffic to my blogs. According to my Google analytics, people who come directly to my blog stay the longest. This is followed by people who arrive from Blogger. Stumble upon does send a significant amount of traffic to my sites, but unsurprisingly, these are the people who spend less time and leave without viewing other pages. Clearly, if I only want traffic, SU is the place to stick around, but if finding people who read and get involved in my site is important, then I have to concentrate on other Blogger blogs to bring me that traffic.

Map overlay (visitors)
This may not be at the top of many people's Google analytics best features list, but I find it quite fascinating. I can see where people are coming from, whether they're using computers or mobile devices. I see a large increase in people visiting my sites using iPads and other mobile devices. I can see visitor loyalty - how many people are visiting once, twice, 100 times. Not surprisingly, most people who visit my blogs come only once.  I can also see what operating systems my visitors are using.
What I like best of all, is being able to see which countries my visitors are coming from. This helps me to target my ads and articles better,but it's just intriguing to see where people are coming from to read what I write. I have more US visitors than UK ones. However, the UK ones stay longer and visit more pages. My Ghanaian friends seem to stay the longest, even though there are only a few of them.
Recommended reading: How I lowered my bounce rate.

Now, you've seen my best Google analytics features. What are yours and how do you use them to better your site and your viewers' experience? How do you think I can use Google Analytics to improve this blog?  Also check out our How Do I Blog page for more helpful blogging tutorials like this one. 


Icy BC October 15, 2011 at 11:52 AM  

I like the overview report of my blogs on google analytics, and I found the bounce rate is fascinating, but it is also where I need to work on the most.

SquirrelQueen October 19, 2011 at 5:05 AM  

I like the map feature too. It is very interesting to see where everyone is from and how long they stay.

Anne's a published author, freelance writer and experienced editor. She's just signed her second publishing contract this year with 2 separate publishing houses. You can hire her or see her available books in the side panel on the right.
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