Are you new to web traffic reporting? Most business owners I talk to have Google Analytics (GA) up and running no problem, but few have dashboards set up. Even less are regularly monitoring their traffic. This is a mistake.
Analytics provides a wealth of free information on your website’s performance and your visitors behaviors. Don’t ignore valuable, rank-affecting information. Installing dashboards in your own GA is a quick and easy way to gain a ‘big picture’ view. With snapshot information you can identify and prioritize web improvements to improve your search rankings.
Use this Web Traffic and Conversion Dashboard to dig into your lead generation and conversion data. The dashboard gives information on visits, sessions, channel breakdown, bounce rates, goal completions and referral sites. Installation is a breeze and you can review your web traffic immediately once installed.
The free template can be installed on Google Dashboards.
- Login to Google Analytics
- Click here to import the free dashboard template
- Select the desired Analytics account from the ‘Select a view’ menu
- Click the ‘Create’ button
You will automatically be redirected to the dashboard view. In the top right, select an appropriate date range to view your website data. You will want to select a large enough time frame so that you can identify patterns in your traffic. Keep in mind any recent website, social media, paid advertisement or email marketing changes you’ve made.
With a bit of practice, these dashboards are easy to customize. They are a great way to monitor and prove marketing ROI. Executives love them! You can even schedule a weekly or monthly PDF distribution to a preferred email address. There is a link directly to the dashboard in the top right of the PDF report.
Each section of the dashboard focuses on a different part of your web traffic. Analyzing your traffic is the first step to an optimized website.
Dashboards are created using widgets. You are limited to 12 widgets per dashboard. For easy reference, a link to this dashboard explanation is provided in each widget in the Link to Report area.
The unique visitor count shows the total number of users to your website during the selected time period. Unique visitors can view multiple webpages (this data is shown in the total webpage views).
This widget shows the total number webpage views for the same time period, which includes all instances of a page being loaded (or reloaded) in a browser.
Top Landing Pages
The table shows a breakdown of the top landing pages visited during the selected time period. Total pageviews are displayed which include all instances of a page being loaded or reloaded. The average time on the page is shown as well.
Average time on page is a good metric to look at to determine a landing page’s effectiveness. Always consider the function of the page when determining its effectiveness. Is the page meant to capture attention and direct the visitor to a download? For pages with a strong and clear call-to-action (CTA) you might expect a visitor to stay on the page for a mere 30 seconds before moving on. On the other hand, a top-of-the-funnel blog or educational article might see an average time on page in the 3-4 minute range. Keep in mind the goal of the page when reviewing time spent.
If the average time on page seems particularly high or low, check to see how well the page is converting your traffic to leads. Does the page have a clear CTA? Is the next step in the buyer’s journey obvious?
Top Visits and Bounce Rate
Another indication of whether a webpage is effective is its bounce rate. The Top Visits and Bounce Rate widget shows a table of all of the top trafficked webpages (listed by Page Title) on sorted by number of sessions. You also see the corresponding bounce rate for each page. A session is a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. Sessions are ended at midnight in your current time zone set in GA or after 30-minutes of inactivity by the user. Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).
Here you see the total number of sessions originating from these webpages. If you find that any of the same pages found in your Top Landing Pages report also appear on your Top Visits and Bounce Rate report you should investigate further. In general, the higher the bounce rate the less effective the webpage is at converting entering traffic to leads. This is because the majority of the traffic leaves the site before viewing another page. Acceptable bounce rates vary, but as a general rule anything approaching 70% should be reviewed immediately.
Visits by Social Media
The Visits by Social is your social media traffic breakdown by source. Use this data, along with the Conversions by Source data, to determine which social media channels are the most effective. Traffic from organic and paid posts on social media sites will appear in this area.
Visits by Channel
This widget shows a traffic breakdown by medium. Possible mediums include: “organic” (unpaid search), “cpc” (cost per click, i.e. paid search), “referral” (referral), “email” (the name of a custom medium you have created), “none” (direct traffic has a medium of “none”). Click here for more information on traffic sources.
It is wise to have a fairly even breakdown of your traffic sources. Here is an example of the desired breakdown for a B2B organization:
- Direct 15%
- Referral 20%
- Organic 25%
- Email 20%
- Social 10%
- CPC 10%
This widget shows the total number of goal completions during the selected time frame. Goals are manually setup in each Google Analytics account and are used to track conversion events. Conversions can be any deliberate action, like when a visitor fills out a web form, downloads a case study or even picks up the phone. Specific goals are shown in the Conversion by Source section.
Visits v. Goal Completion
The timeline graph shows website sessions and goal completion data together. Ideally, you want to see a correlation between traffic increases and goal completions. If on a single day your website receives 500 visits but has no goal completions, you might dig into the main source of the traffic for that day. It could be that you are running an AdWords ad that is driving large traffic numbers but isn’t converting at all.
Tip: Change the date range to target a single day if you find an instance of high traffic with low conversions. This will reset your dashboard so you can determine where the traffic came from.
Conversions by Source
Here you’ll find a breakdown of goal completions by traffic source for two goals that are already setup in your GA account. Up to ten sources are listed here along with the number of conversions for each goal. Unfortunately, you cannot add more than two goals to this table. If you want to see how the rest of your goals are converting, you can clone the widget and edit it, selecting another goal in your GA account.
Look at this data next to your Visits by Channel numbers to determine which part of your marketing strategy might need adjusting. For example, does organic traffic account for 40% of your traffic but nearly none of your conversions? Do you get 10% of your traffic from email but it converts at a higher rate than CPC, which adds up to 30% of your traffic? By looking at these two metrics together you can get a bird’s eye view of what is working and what is not.
This table gives a breakdown of top organic search terms visitors use to find your website. This is a tricky section to report on as Google will block tracking keyword information for anyone who is signed in to a Gmail account while searching.
Note: Most Google searches are performed via HTTPS, which causes the keyword dimension to automatically be set to (not provided).
All keyword phrases that were able to be tracked are shown here. This is not a full breakdown of all the organic search terms your website potentially ranks or receives traffic for. Finding that information is another ballgame altogether.
Device Bounce Rate
To wrap up, you’ll see a widget with a breakdown of bounce rate based on device type. Why would I care about this, you ask? If you’ve heard of Google’s Mobilegeddon then you know what the big deal is. In 2015, Google started to penalize websites that weren’t responsive/mobile-friendly. You can always go and verify that your website is mobile-friendly but that doesn’t always tell the full story.
If your website’s bounce rate is particularly high for a certain device, this likely means the user experience for that screen size is not optimized. Something about the browsing experience is turning off your web visitors and forcing them to exit. High bounce rates for mobile devices and tablets can cause decreased search rankings for searches done on those types of devices. If you see a high bounce rate in one area you can always test what your site looks like using this online tool. You should also check to see how much of your website’s traffic is coming from these devices before you spend the time and effort to remediate.
Now that you have your new dashboard up and running, set a time each month to go in and review. I recommend regularly reviewing your analytics data to find the good, the bad and the ugly. Once done you can effectively prioritize any changes to your digital marketing strategy. It can be a lot of work but with the use of dashboards you can show what is converting and what is not.