Live Blog: Google Analytics – Moving Beyond Pageviews

About the speaker: As a Certified ScrumMaster, Tim Woodbury specializes in helping people build their businesses by finding better, faster ways to fail. After nearly a decade of helping companies the likes of Nintendo and Microsoft Games Studios succeed with agile, Tim opened his private agile coaching practice to the wider blogosphere with the launch of Agile Blogging.

Welcome everyone. to start, how many people have Google Analytics on their blogs currently? (A few people raise their hands.) How many understand it? (All but a few hands go down).

In this session we’re going to walk through the basics of Google Analytics but before we do that…who the heck am I, anyway? 

Tim Woodbury

  • 7 years in the software industry
  • RCA certified running coach
  • Fitbloggin’ 12 Ignite Alum
All resources from this session will be available on
So, what’s in it for you for this session?
  • understanding web analytics
  • Ability to interact with Google Analytics
  • Guide to asking the right questions for your business
Why analytics? “If you can’t measure something, you can’t improve it.” Lord Kelvin
  • measures effect
  • highlights opportunities for growth
  • identifies when things go wrong
It also allows you to experiment.
Meet Google Analytics! When you first arrive to Google analytics (and there’s instructions on installing it on the website) you get a screen with some pretty standard information. This screen has (for a set timeframe0:
  • Visits: how many times was your website visited?
  • Unique visitors: how many individual people visited your website?
  • Pageviews: How many pages on your site were viewed?
  • Pages per visit: What was the average # of pages viewed on each visit to your website?
  • Average time on site
  • Bounce rate: the number of people who only viewed one page then left your website
That information is good but the real value in Google Analytics is the reports. There are more than 100 reports you can generate, but today we’ll focus on traffic sources. From where do people come to your site?
When you click on the traffic report, you’ll see two views. At the top there is a graph showing overall site visit trends (how many visits to your site over a period of time). On the bottom is information organized into a table showing where that traffic came from. This information can be filtered by day, week or month. The day-to-day information doesn’t tell you much, but the weeks and months can start to show trends. Google Analytics stores about 25 months of data.
Looking at the report for Agile Blogging, you see a big spike in a traffic that seems all of a sudden. Thank goodness I made a note for myself. You can make a note by clicking on a period of time. That way when you have a change in trend, you can know why. Notes will have a small icon and when you click it a bar shows where you can read it.
The table view shows where traffic is coming from. The first column is the source of the traffic (the websites that refer traffic to you). The rest of the columns are analytics related to that referral source (how many pageviews visitors from this site viewed on yours, average time on site, etc.). You can look more in-depth at things like keywords. That’s important because you may be getting traffic for the wrong reasons or from keywords you don’t want associated with your blog.
You can also filter information to tell more about your readers. The basic filter report doesn’t tell you much but if you go through and use the advanced filter you can include/exclude readers who fit certain criteria (for example, you can include all visitors who came from a site with the word “runner” in the name). When Tim looked at his basic keyword report he saw the keywords people used to access his blog but they were all over the place. After he filtered, he got a report that displayed a word cloud, with most common keywords used to get to his blog appearing larger and in heavier print then less common ones. Through this we can see that he gets a lot of traffic from the key phrase “New York City marathon qualifying times” and even a decent amount for one post he did on “electrolytes for dogs.” (Because dogs need to stay hydrated during runs too!)
You also need to know about mediums, or, the different ways people reach your site.
  • Organic mediums are search engine traffic (people searching and clicking on your site from the results)
  • Referral mediums are link traffic (people clicking on a link to your blog and being taken there)
  • (None) is direct traffic
Using only these mediums, Facebook and Twitter promotions can be considered referral traffic, but say you want more data about those referrals? you can use the Link Builder feature in Google to track that kind of referral traffic.
Think of the Link Builder as the opposite of a URL shortener. You put in several pieces of information:
  • Source: What is this website for? (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Medium: What category?
  • Campaign: Not necessary bu usually it will be “none”
Once you finish the link builder you can put the generated link in a URL shortener, like, to re-shorten it but now you have a link that will give you more detailed data about the referrals you get from Facebook/Twitter.
So that’s the traffic report. Now with Google Analytics there are a few caveats.
Caveat #1: Google Analytics cannot tell you:
  • Exactly how many visitors you’ve had
  • Exactly how many new or returning visitors
  • Exactly how long someone visited your site
In fact, Google will not give you any personally identifying information about your visitors.
Caveat #2: Don’t get addicted! Just because you have access to this information doesn’t mean you have to check it all the time! Doing so usually makes you lose sight of trends and that’s what Google Analytics is best for. Instead, use the email function in Google Analytics to set up a report to be automatically emailed to you intervals (every week, month) and then leave it alone and wait for the data!
Lastly you need to learn to ask the right questions for your business and goals. Namely ones related to:
  • Objectives/Key Results (OKRs): What will move my business forward?
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): What actions does the data imply that I should take?
When using Google Analytics thing ratios, averages. It is time sensitive and highlights the rate of change. It can drive critical business actions.
In conclusion here are a few quotes related to analytics:
  • “Most people use analytics as a benchmark. How did we do yesterday and how are we doing today?”
  • “Smart people are actually analyzing to optimize their website.”
  • “The advanced people are using data to optimize all their marketing.
Remember, there is more information on Agile Blogging, including a copy of the presentation given! Thank you for coming.
This session was captured by Nik of Bariatric Foodie who encourages everyone to “Play With Your Food!”