Website Analytics December 30th, 2016
Google Analytics can be difficult to understand and dissect. Mining through the complex metrics of Analytics is a little like gold mining. Except instead of gold, the precious materials being mined here are insights.
Analytics are hard. There have been times when I would just start digging into an Analytics report from every which angle, thinking surely I can draw some awesome and interesting insights. But nearly every time I ended up with nothing more than a sum of the total visitors and page views. In other words, I was getting very little out of the process.
I knew Google Analytics to be filled with data and insight gems, but I couldn’t seem to mine these myself.
Though it confused me every time, I was not able to stay away from Google Analytics. I became increasingly interested in exploring Analytics data every day because I was working with one of the top digital marketing firms in Canada, TechWyse Internet Marketing.
After struggling for months, I found my mistake – I was jumping into the advanced Analytics lessons before understanding the basics and was not following a proper learning process. This is a common mistake that many newbies make when learning Analytics.
Here are 9 tips and tricks I’ve learned about becoming a master in the art of Google Analytics.
This is the best and most basic way to build a foundation in Analytics. Google provides a lot of free training materials on Analytics. You can take various courses, test your knowledge and be part of a community that is as passionate as you are about Google Analytics. As a beginner, you’ll learn everything from the basics and you will easily understand terms that will help you in your future endeavours.
Apart from this, with the platform you can easily make business decisions, as you will have a clear overview of the data of your business. At the same time, you can learn how to use mobile apps to improve your business and increase your revenues. Top-notch experts from Google will be your teachers, so you can be sure that you will get accurate insight into the world of Google Analytics. Not to mention that the courses are available for free!
There are many platforms that you can use to improve your knowledge, and YouTube is one of them. On the Google Analytics channel you will find dozens of useful videos that explain to you even the most basic principles of Analytics. If you are already past this point, there are a lot of informative videos available for intermediates and experts. Spend a few hours viewing the videos on this YouTube channel, and everything to do with Analytics will start to feel like a piece of cake!
In addition to the official channel, there are also many other Analytics channels to which you can subscribe. Follow this link to find the relevant ones: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=google+analytics
Udemy courses are the best learning portals around the web. They provide free as well as paid courses on many topics. I found these two courses extremely helpful to learn Google Analytics.
Getting Started with Google Analytics– This is the course that everyone should take, no matter how much experience you might have in the area. It only takes 3 hours to complete and it will provide all the details that you have to know before you start using Google Analytics. You will improve your knowledge about online marketing and you will understand how to interpret the data that Google provides and how to use it to expand your business. At the end of the course you will receive a certificate of completion that you can add to your portfolio.
Google Analytics Mastery – This course will help you to move to the next level. You will learn not only the basics but also to analyze data and create complex and advanced charts tracking that data. It is an 11.5-hour course, so there is plenty of knowledge to glean from the course. This is a comprehensive course that will get you closer to becoming a pro in Google Analytics.
As you may already know, there is a Google Analytics test called GAIQ that most professional Internet marketers want to take. However, this might not be so easy, especially if you just started learning how to use this platform in the best way. That is why it is recommended to take free tests first, that will show you exactly how much progress you’ve made and the areas you still have to work on.
I personally tried http://www.googleanalyticstest.com/ and found it to be a very useful platform to try mock tests. It’s free to register.
Now that you gathered some knowledge and you know the basics on how to use Google Analytics, you have to get ready to put this information to good use. The theory will only take you so far, so now it’s time to get some practical experience.
How can you do this? By using the platform, of course.
Whether you have an online business already or not, you must go on the platform and use all the tools that you’ve learned about until now. When you feel that you are stuck, simply get back to the lessons that you took in the first place and see what can you do to improve. There’s nothing better than practicing by yourself.
If you want to build a strong resume, you have to prove that you are indeed a specialist in Google Analytics. To do this, you need to have some kind of certification that any potential client or business partner will recognize. The most popular, and the only certification offered and recognized by Google, is the Google Analytics Individual Qualification, and in order to get it you have to pass an exam.
To pass the exam it is recommended to take as many Google Analytics courses as possible, as you will have to answer 70 questions. In order to get certified you need to answer at least 80% of those questions. Since the certification is only available for 18 months, you have to stay up-to-date on the latest Google Analytics features so you can retake the exam when your certificate expires. The good news? There’s no fee for getting certified, so it’s not a problem if you don’t pass in the first try.
There are many tools that you can use to help improve your skills, and all of them are available for free. Depending on your needs, you can opt for plugins that automatically detect Google Analytics codes on different websites, plugins that help you replicate Google Analytics profiles in just a few seconds or extensions that check your Analytics code and makes sure that there aren’t any errors. Of course, there are dozens of examples and you have to consider what browser you use before downloading any plugins. Either way, they will help you save time and effort and they will take you one step closer to becoming a Google Analytics expert.
I use Google Chrome as my primary browser and there are many free extensions and apps available in Chrome web store.
To become an expert in Analytics you have to keep yourself up to date, and the easiest way to do this is to read different blogs and websites. These are some excellent ones that will improve your knowledge and experience:
The Google Analytics Blog: You will find something new on this blog every other day, and trust me, every time you will be surprised with how much you can learn. The blog posts are designed to offer you not only an authentic insight on the Google Analytics world but also to teach you how to use different times of the year to increase your revenues. Since the holidays are right around the corner, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look!
OptimizeSmart: The founder of Optimize Smart, Himanshu Sharma is an expert in Google Analytics and offers basic as well as expert tips on web Analytics and conversion optimization.
Occam’s Razor: If you are very sure that you covered the basic lessons of Analytics and ready for some expert knowledge, Occam’s razor would be the one and only website that you ever want. Not convinced? Well, just have a look at the author’s bio 🙂
GTM and Google AdWords are closely connected with Google Analytics and you should be familiar with both the platforms in order to claim yourself as an expert web Analytics professional. GTM is comparatively easy to learn whereas AdWords is a vast topic. Learn the basics of AdWords so that you know the major configurations and how it links with Analytics.
One bite at a time. Go through the Analytics lessons, then GTM and then go for AdWords.
There are many Analytics experts you can find through social media and getting connected with them will help you to get updated with the latest news, solutions and about new features in Analytics. I often get the Analytics updates from the people I follow on Twitter. I check my Twitter account daily and searching #googleanalytics will keep me updated with the latest Tweets from industry experts and also keep me tuned into trending topics related to Analytics.
It does take a lot of effort to become an expert in the Google Analytics field. With dedication and continuous learning, you can eventually become a pro in web Analytics. Luckily, all the tools that you need are available on the Internet for free, so unless you want to pay an instructor to help you, you can achieve your goal without any financial cost.
Google Analytics is vital for your business and future development, so don’t waste any time and start learning as much as you can.