Google Analytics: The Power Of Understanding Your Visitors

As our blog grows so does our traffic, and along with it comes the inevitable need to finely monitor the traffic trends, to optimize our blog for better reader experience. There are so many traffic analyzers on the web, but unarguably Google Analytics is the most popular and extremely powerful web traffic analysis system. Today, almost every web site or blog on web use the services of Analytics directly or indirectly. It is not only free, but also has powerful traffic analyzing tools. Often, new bloggers fail to take advantage of its advanced features, because they do not understand the basic traffic analysis concepts, and are not familiar with the Analytics interface. How can we integrate the Analytics services with our blog, and utilize the available resources at our hands?

Installing the Analytics code

It is very easy to install the tracking code in your blog. There are two types of code, one is old legacy code ( and the other is new tracking code ( To install this code, simply copy and paste it just above the </body> tag of your blog template. It is always better to install the new code, as it provides more advanced and powerful tools to monitor the traffic.

Understanding the basic concepts

The most basic parameter for any blogger is number of visitors in a day. Many of us will install a simple hit counter to deduce the visitor's count. Does it give the correct estimate of visitors to our blog? The answer is big 'No'. Whenever we count hits to our web site, there are two types of visits, unique visits and page views. Whenever you click some link and land on a web site, you count it as a unique visit. After that you may browse the site by clicking the various links within that site. This is the number of page views in your single visit. So if a basic counter is telling the figure 120, it does not necessarily means that 120 unique visitors have landed on your blog. The actual value may be much lower than that.

For viewing the general traffic statistics of your blog for a given day, you have to log in to your Analytics account and click theGoogle Analytics main menu View Reports link of relevant blog. From dashboard click the Visitors link. To view visitor's statistics, select the date selection drop down menu from top right and select the desired date from the calendar. Click the Apply button to get the details of visitors on that particular day. The date selection in calendar is very easy and you have to simply click the start and end date. The result will give you some very important and interesting statistics. Some of these terms are not well understood by many users, and they often get confused. Let's see each one of them one by one, and try to understand their exact meaning. The statistics shown below contains the summarized data for a Google Analytics traffic statisticssingle day. As we can clearly see 81 unique visitors came on the site in a single day, and they made total 372 visits. Confused? Many of these visitors have visited the site many times in a day after leaving the site through the exit link. For example, if a visitor clicks an external link and leave the site, his one visit is counted. That same person may again come back to the same site through some inbound link after some time gap, which will be his second visit to the same site. Page views are the total pages opened by all 81 users on that day. A single user can browse more than one page in his single visit, and hence this count is normally higher then all other counts. Average page views is the average number of pages a visitor browsed in his single visit. It is calculated by dividing the page views by Visits. Time on Site is the average time a visitor spent on the site in his single visit on that day. Bounce Rate is very important data for any site. It gives an indication about the performance and effectiveness of the landing page. Bounce Rate is the number of visitors in percentage that left the landing page without browsing the site further. If your blog's Bounce Rate is between 40% - 60%, then it is considered good, but anything above that is an indication that your blog requires some redesigning and optimization. New visits are the number of visitors in percentage from new IP's on that given day.

Creating filters in Google Analytics

With the help of filters, we can visualize and analyze the raw data collected by the analytics system in a better way as per our needs. Analytics filters can be broadly classified into two types:
  • Predefined filters
  • Custom filters
Predefined filters: As the name implies, these filters are in-built, and you just have to create them according to your own needs, by applying the predefined rules applicable on these filters. Mostly, these filters are used to block certain IP address to exclude them from traffic analysis. For example, you may not want your own visits to your blog as a valid visitor count. You can instruct the Analytics system to ignore any visits done from your IP, with the help of these filters. For example, if you want to exclude the visits from, then follow this simple procedure:

1) Click on Filter Manager link on Analytics Settings page.
2) Check the Add new Filter radio button.
3) Name the filter whatever you want. For example: HomeIP.
4) Select Exclude all traffic from an IP address from the drop down box.
5) Type the following string in the IP address field: 3\.67\.232\.5.
6) Click the Finish button and it's done.

Custom filters: You can create complex filters with the help of regular expressions to churn the incoming data, and can get it transformed into the desired information. Experienced users of Analytics makes very complex filters, and capture minute details about the traffic trends on their blog. If you are familiar with Unix regular expressions, then making these custom filters is not a big deal. For those who do not know it, read this excellent tutorial to learn advanced techniques of Google Analytics.

If you want to improve your blog, you must understand your visitor's behavior on your blog. Google Analytics provides you the powerful tools to understand and analyze the traffic of your blog, and helps you in optimizing your blog.

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About Rajeev Edmonds

MintBlogger author - Rajeev EdmondsRajeev Edmonds has been blogging since 2006 about digital marketing, social media and of course about problogging. He specializes in WordPress installation and Thesis theme customization. He is the founder and editor of MintBlogger where he blogs about new media strategies.

Since April, 2012, he's making his living entirely from his blogging efforts. He holds a post graduate degree in computer applications and loves to dig in CSS/HTML code. Read more →

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