You can visualize traffic to your site and discover other user metrics with the Google Analytics Dashboard, a plugin for WordPress. It appears as a widget on your dashboard, and you can change settings by clicking on the link in the left menu.
Analytics provides a quantitative way to assess your content. Pages that get the most views should receive higher priority during editing cycles. Pages with very low views might be irrelevant, or they could be difficult for users to find. Use bounce rates and session times to determine the type of content users spend the least and most time reading.
Reading the Data
When reading the data, it’s important to understand the terms in a library context.
- Organic – a user came to your website by searching an external search engine. The “Searches” option in the drop down shows the terms users entered into a search engine before choosing the result to your website
- Bounce rate – the number of people who leave your site after viewing one page. Don’t be alarmed by a high bounce rate; as a library, it’s our job to send patrons away from our site to the information they need. Consider the purpose of your page(s) when investigating bounce rates – how much time do you expect patrons to spend on it?
- Referrer – a link on a separate website that points to one of your web pages. Though helpful in SEO, you may wish to ensure only trusted websites link to you. Departmental libraries are not counted among referrers because they belong to the same website: library.illinois.edu/
As a policy, all units are allowed one Google Analytics account. Be sure the email address/account is accessible to all librarians who need it. (An employee does not need access to this account to view the data on the dashboard, only to change how/what data is collected.) Contact the Help Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org) to create a Google Analytics account. With an account, you have a separate view that offers more data and options than the dashboard. It is the unit’s responsibility to set up custom filters for data collection.
If you would like to do more with Google Analytics, check their List of Frequently Asked Questions and Tutorials.