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The beginner’s guide to website analytics!

Are you keeping track of your website’s performance through Google Universal Analytics? Before the switch to GA4 at the end of June 2023, download your historical reports and assess your trends.

Is a session the same as a user? Are New User’s really New? If you buy Pay-per-click adverts, how can you confirm if they are working, or are competitors clicking on your ads. Learn to understand and interpret your Google Analytics web stats so you can make business and marketing decisions based on facts.

A LinkedIn connection contacted me for a free consultation to make sense of her Google Analytics report. Let’s review some key web statistics together, to see if they should be worried?

  • Slide 1: is the dip in September a sign of problems with a new website?
  • Slide 2 drills down: Would you look further? What other data might be helpful?
  • Slide 3: Is this peak suspicious? Or great news?
  • Slide 4: Which social media outlet is working? What data would confirm?
  • Slide 5: is this a cause for celebration or concern?

Some background

The company worked hard in 2022 to make changes to their marketing.  The social media and online publications where they advertise report regularly with positive highlights – but are they true?

Fortunately this client has access to their own Google Analytics account. Sometimes a bird’s eye view sees trends that aren’t as visible month by month.

The dip in September (shown below) coincides with a new website. That’s not unusual – Google search indexes have to be rebuilt based on her new content and audience strategy.


Drilling down into the dip (Slide 2 below), one can see there is initial interest in the new site. Then a decline after exploring it. And now it is growing slowly.

Then we explored previous years.

The pandemic has made comparisons difficult, but generally winter DOES have lower figures. It’s a trend to be monitored, but not an immediate concern!

In the figures beneath below the timeline, New Users and Users are very similar?  That means a lot of new people are visiting the website, but few are returning. For a bricks-and-mortar business in this sector, this is normal. Once they know the shop, they pop in to visit!

The bounce rate is excellent (i.e. it is LOW)!

That implies that the social media ads are not “clickbait” (where people click and then immediately click away. Google downgrades websites with high Bounce Rates.)


Drilling even further (Slide 3 above) you can see daily peaks. These identify which social media and ad ads worked well. Right down to the specific day!

The Page/Session ratio is a trend to manage.

It shows that people are landing on your website for one reason, but stay to explore further. Google gives bonus points to companies who achieve this. It shows your website is interesting and useful.

A very high peak in Page Views is worth watching.

Yes, one person MIGHT have viewed 20-30 pages (especially a competitor!) But it can also be a sign that someone is trying to inflate your numbers. If you “pay-per-click” for banner advertising, watch for these.


In Slide 4 above we get to the real drivers that help with decision-making.

Facebook is really delivering, Instagram isn’t bad. But they need to review other sources of leads. The company paid for adverts in several online publications and directories, and some have not sent prospective customers at all (to see her address or get a phone number). These publications quote amazing stats of views and appearances, but are they prospective customers?

She is now investing time looking at these adverts.

  • Perhaps QR codes aren’t popular with her audience?
  • Did she promote the right services?
  • Or is the publication wrong for her?


Finally the great news – geomapping!

More than 50% of her website visitors are located close enough to visit her store! When advertising on social media, it is easy to attract web visitors from other countries and continents.

An automated monthly email from Google Analytics will keep your finger on the pulse of your marketing. Make sure your website incorporate reporting. Google Analytics is free, and it is a long-term and unbiased source for ongoing trends.

Are you struggling to interpret your web statistics? Do you have questions about setting them up? Set up a free consultation to look at your options.

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