Carrie Bradshaw’s guide to Google Analytics site metrics

Faster than a speeding bullet single website ping!
More powerful than a locomotive your need for coffee!
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound convert readers into customers!

Every website has superpowers. But like Clark Kent, sometimes we don’t know the strengths of our own sites.

Do you know exactly HOW your website is bringing in new customers? Or which of your marketing strategies are ACTUALLY bringing in qualified leads? Do you know your conversion rates (like how many of your new visitors sign up for your list or fill out your contact form) and are you tracking what’s working?

Maybe you’ve logged in to Google Analytics to try to understand how your website is performing … but you got totally overwhelmed by all the numbers and back away slowly:

Recently I connected with a very successful business owner who revealed that she had NO IDEA how her leads were finding her. She writes tons of content and posts everywhere (Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram) and sends to her email list … but doesn’t actually know which are working.⠀
She knows which of her blog posts are popular based on shares and comments, but doesn’t have proof that they actually convert into subscribes and sales.⠀⠀

I logged into her Analytics and immediately identified her website superpowers: one incredible blog post that was bringing in 67% of her traffic. And 94% of that traffic was coming from Google search — 3 specific keywords, to be exact.
(She’d guessed the traffic was coming from Pinterest, which only brought in 2%.)

Listen: It’s ok to feel overwhelmed by data, and to doing what you enjoy to promote your business.

But there’s power in knowing your numbers, and maximizing your marketing time by doing what works.

So I’m gonna walk you through some Google Analytics basics, so you can take a look at your account and know which website metrics to pay attention to and what to ignore, and you can start to watch trends in the way that your audience is acting.

And in case my GIFs didn’t give it away, I’m gonna use 4 Manhattan socialites to help me illustrate my point:

And in case you don’t have a pen to take notes, here’s a quick glossary of terms:

Google Analytics website metrics glossary

Users = the number of people who have visited your site in a given time period

In my case, I had 200 different people come to my site last week — thanks to everyone who visited for giving me a nice round number to use in this example!

New Users = how many of those people were visiting for the first time?

(About 85% of my users were visiting my site for the first time that week)

Sessions = the number of times those users visited your site

200 people visited my site 240 times, meaning some people visited more than once – some of them 2+ times

Number of Sessions per User = you guessed it! the formula here is sessions / users.

So I had 240 unique visits to my site, but only 200 users making those visits …

This is one of the trends I want you to watch. The actual number of people coming to your site isn’t that important … but we want to see this number increase over time — we want a healthy number of people finding your site (SEO is great for new user acquisition), but we also want those people coming back multiple times.

Pageviews = the number of pages those users visited

Some people come to one page and leave. Other people stick around and view 2, 5, or even 10 different pages on your site.

Pages / Session = another formula! this time it’s pageviews / sessions

On average, when people come to my site, they visit about 3 pages. Some only visit one, some visit a dozen.

This is another trend to watch. Are you giving people a reason to look around your website? Are you making it easy for them to explore, or is your site a dead end?

Average Session Duration = how long, on average, did a person spend browsing your site?

On average, when people come to my site, they visit about 3 pages. Some only visit one, some visit a dozen.

Watch this too! If you write a really great piece of content (epic blog post, long form sales page), it could take a few minutes to read … so your session duration time may go up, even if your pages/session go down

Bounce rate = single page session (caveat: without any interaction)

If somebody comes to your page and leaves from that same page, it’s considered a bounce. If they go to another page on your site before leaving, then it’s not a bounce. So your bounce rate is the number of sessions that only go to one page, divided by overall sessions.

(Caveat: If you have something to DO on the page — click to watch a video or download a file — and the user completes that action then exists from that same page, it’s not a bounce.)

Trend alert: If you have a multi-page site, and you use your homepage as a way to direct users to other pages, you want to see a low bounce-rate. If you have a single-page site, a high bounce rate should be expected, since the person can get most of the info from your homepage without moving around the website.

So head over to your Google Analytics, and see how your stacking up. You can even download my handy-dandy Website Growth Tracker to watch your pages/session grow and bounce rate shrink on a monthly basis.