If you are not using any sort of analytics tool on your website, you could be losing out on a bucket load of insight. In turn, you could be doing so much more with your site if you were to use any tool. How do you know somebody is reading a blog post or visiting a particular part of your site?

Installing Google Analytics (or a tool similar) should be one of the first things you do pre launch of a website. Even with Google Analytics installed you may not be aware of what’s actually going on. You might look at top level information and stats but it could offer so much more.

Because Google Analytics is free, most people opt to using it as their analytic tool. After installing it and using the basics, people are often usually satisfied with this information, we’ve pulled together our 7 tips to getting more from Google Analytics to help you better understand your site.

1 Google Tag Assistant

To check your site is tagged properly with Analytics and any other tool you can use Google Tag Assistant, which is a free Google Chrome extension. 

Once installed, this tool can check the page you are currently on and provides a summary of Google Tags installed one should be Analytics if you have installed it in the right place in the head of your site. 

2 Page Analytics Chrome Extension

With Analytics, the view and options are endless. With the Page Analytics Chrome extension, once installed, you can see instantly the stats on that page. 

Once installed, which ever page you are on your website, with the click of a button, there is a pane opened displaying vital stats for your current page. 

3 Build your own Shortcuts 

Over time of using Google Analytics a lot, you will find that you are using the same reports over and over again. Many users will simply login, navigate to their report, log out and carry on with their day. But why make it hard for yourself each time you log in? 

Google Analytics has a great button called ‘shortcuts’, which sits above every single report. The next time you find the report you were looking for, and have filtered to the right information, click ‘Shortcut’. In the dialogue box give your report a name.

This instantly saves a link to the report in the ‘shortcuts’ menu right beneath the dashboard on the top left. Your days of searching and filtering are behind you!

4 Schedule Email Reports

Rather than using the shortcut feature, Google Analytics is able to send you your report direct to your inbox. Meaning, you will never need to log in to the web version to see your sites stats.

After you’ve found the report you use or will be using in the future, click the ‘email’ button along the top bar, next to the shortcut button. In the window pane which will now appear, choose which email you would like the report to be sent to, the format of the report and the frequency of the report you’d like. 

5 Annotations

Do you ever make a note of things which happen in your company, such as a sale or a bad day due to the site being down? You can do this all in analytics, to make it easier when viewing your peaks and troughs. 

Underneath each graph, you can click the arrow pointing downwards, then select ‘create new annotation’. This allows you to write a quick note about the day. When looking back at your graph, a speech bubble will appear with all of your annotations.

6 Dashboards

Likewise to reports and view, these may be a little overwhelming with what to look at. Analytics has the option to build or import dashboards that can segment your data. 

An under-utilised tool within Analytics, the dashboards are a single page view of the most important metrics that you wish to focus on for your site. You can create your own dashboard by clicking the ‘Dashboards’ and then ‘+ New Dashboards’ buttons on the top left hand of the Reporting screen. In the dialogue box click ‘Starter dashboard’, give your dashboard a name, and then click ‘create dashboard’.

You can either build your own or import a dashboard which will cater yo your data. If you search via Google, you can find hundreds of dashboards that people have built for their sites and ones that they believe everyone can benefit from. 

7 Custom Alerts

A custom alert can be put in place to alert you of any significant changes to your site which you might have missed. If there is a drop in traffic, these can alert you, likewise if there is a drop in average page view times. 

To set up a custom alert, navigate to ‘Admin’, then to ‘View’ and ‘custom alert’. Within this area, you can build a custom alert for about any stat within Google Analytics and be notified of a significant change.