I include the free tool Google Analytics on all of my website development projects, as it provides clients with a good overview as to where people are coming from, how they got there, and what they hope to achieve while at the site.
Despite my love for this addition to my collection of web tools, I often misunderstand a great deal of information about it. I sometimes lack a precise definition as to what each metric is measuring or how to really extend use of the software to get as much out of it as possible.
Fortunately, Analytic’s grandfather, Google search, has once again delivered.
Official Google Analytics Blog
Go straight to the horse’s mouth for the latest information and goings on with features and updates on their own software. On a related note, never underestimate the power of the Help section.
Google Analytics Maximized: Deeper Analysis, Higher ROI & You
This more advanced article provides 9 tips for making you into an Analytics Empress/Emperor. My favorite being number 8, make use of Analytics ability to provide information about internal site searches. I had no idea this aspect existed and activated immediately on the sites I manage with a search feature.
Also check out the author’s archives on analytics for more insights to what you can learn from your implementation of Analytics.
5 Google Analytics Features You May Not Know About
A repeat of some earlier suggestions, however, the last tip cannot be overstated. Filter out your own visits. This is especially important if you check your site frequently, which you should, or if you have hired any one else to assist in the process. Get the static IP address of as many of your internal visitors as possible and filter them out now.
Google Analytics Interface Tutorial [YouTube]
An often underutilized place to find information on just about any topic is YouTube. This video tutorial is a good overall introduction to Google Analytics, perhaps a nice link to send to clients unfamiliar with the software. Although, I do often revisit basic tutorials on all of my skill sets as more technical documents may overlook basic features that I may have never heard of during my initial research.
Update, a wonderful article from Smashing Magazine:
A Guide to Google Analytics Tutorial and Useful Tools
Covers more angles than I thought existed. The review of tools provided extends the usability of Google Analytics.