If your job description contains any references to understanding/monitoring/reporting activity from your company’s website, you can use Google Analytics. If you’re a marketer trying to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, you can use Google Analytics. If you’re a business owner trying to grow your business, you should can Google Analytics.
Google Analytics reveals a wealth of information about what’s happening on your website. Everything from how many people come to your site, where they’re coming from, and how they’re engaging is available just a few clicks away.
For some, just the word “analytics” can be intimidating. Fear not! There are several ways to learn how to use Google Analytics. Here are three methods I’ve used:
1) Watch the Videos from the Google Analytics IQ Lessons
This is a free and relatively painless way to get introduced to the world of Google Analytics. The videos are developed by Google and range in length from 2+ minutes to 11 minutes. It’s probably not the most excited afternoon you’ll ever have but it gives you a great overview of what you can expect. It’s worth noting that Google does not update the videos with the same frequency as the Google Analytics system itself so you may see screenshots of the older versions of the interface. This is both frustrating and disappointing since it comes directly from Google.
2) Attend an In Person Training Seminar
There are several training sessions for Google Analytics that are available online or in person. A quick search for “Google Analytics Training” will display some of the more well known options. This is the way to go if you want face time to ask specific questions to an expert. This option isn’t free, but allows for a more traditional classroom-style approach to learning the world of GA. The class I attended was several days long and got progressively more advanced with each day.
3) Play Around With the Interface
One of the ways I like to learn a new computer program is to load it and start playing. It’s the same way I learned PhotoShop years ago and every new version of Microsoft Office that’s been released. You should be able to put a request for your IT department or webmaster to add Google Analytics tracking to your existing website. From there, it’s just a matter of logging and exploring. Unless you start setting up filters, there isn’t much you have to worry about breaking. If you’re still worried, you could always ask to have your permission level limited to “read and analyze.”
From my own personal experience, I recommend combining the third option with either option one or option two. You’ll retain the information from the videos you watch or the classes you attend much better if you are also looking at the interface with your own data along the way.
You may consider becoming Google Analytics certified after you’ve become educated. Earlier this year, Leanne discussed how to become certified, which may help you out.
[shameless plug] And of course, if none of these options are appealing, you could always hire a web agency to analyze and report your Google Analytics activity for you.[/shameless plug]