Category Archives: Analytics

Google Analytics

Logo Google_AnalyticsGoogle Analytics and other similar  statistics package are invaluable if you want to understand how your customers use your site and find out what is working and what isn’t.

When you visit a website that has Google Analytics installed, it places a web cookie on your machine. It uses that to assist Google in reporting the following information anonymously:

  • Time on website
  • Pages visiting (in order)
  • Time on each page
  • Operating system and screen resolution
  • Referring (previous) site
  • Details if users have come through from paid advertising e.g. Google Adwords
  • Rough user location (City / Country / Continent)
  • User network (Can identify organisation networks)
  • Plus much more

 How to use the information ?

There are two ways that I think people should use the data:

  1. To monitor the success of changes made to the structure of the site for the purpose of user experience. The aim here is to increase the amount of time users spend on the site, in the right places.
  2. To monitor the success of changes to content and search engine optimisation tweaks with the aim to increase the number of site visitors.

Analytics reports


Click to download PDF report






Most people won’t need access to all the data provided by google analytics so it’s easier to ask for PDF reports to be automatically emailed out each month or week.

Attached is an example report from the College that I look after. It shows the majority of information that I think is useful to someone at the university who looks after a single website.


  • Page views – The number of times the page has been loaded, regardless if it is the same person.
  • Unique page views – The number of times a page has been loaded, but not taking into account repeat views within a half hour period from one user.
  • Average time on page – This is a very useful figure but each page has to be taken into consideration as a table of links should only be viewed for a seconds, whereas a blog post like this, you’d hope, will have been read for at least a few minutes.
  • Entrances – This is the percentage of users for whom this was the first page they visited on your site (in one session).
  • Bounce rate – This is another figure where you have to take into consideration what is on the page. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who visit one page on your site and then leave. Don’t be disheartened however, this may mean that they have come via google directly to the page they wanted, read the page and then left.
  • Exit – The percentage of users who left the site after visiting this page.
  • Page value- This is only relevant for ecommerce sites.

How to get access

Get in contact with your local web marketing officer (WMO), I’m the WMO for the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. If you don’t know who to contact, see the Web Team’s Who we are page.

Google Analytics – adding a new website profile

Each time a site is created or you wish to track an existing site that is under the domain you’ll need to create a new profile within google analytics and apply a filter to it.

I have created a quick video tutorial to show you how to do this. This only applies to websites that are a sub-domain of the address – so / / etc etc

To be able to create a new profile within google analytics you’ll need to have admin access to the account, details of this are stored on the shared drive.

This is the first video tutorial I have created and had a few issues with quality once it was converted into flash. Please send all comments to me. The next one will better planned and of better quality.

>> Google analytics Sub-domain filter tutorial video



Clicktales – a web big brother.

In the first of what will hopefully become a regular post for me in the web team blog, I am going to very quickly introduce you to This site was discussed during our HEI Website workshop and brought great interest to the table.

It is very similar to the likes of Google analytics and evisit as you need to sign up and install tracking code near the body tags. however, brings a new dimension to seeing how a user clicks through our sites; (presumably logging cursor co-ordinates) it records the user’s session and replays it as if you were sitting there next to them watching them navigate through the site.

Select Recording

Showing the list of available recordings and their path through the site

Once setup you can see the recordings that it has taken, in the example above you can see what pages have been displayed, how long they were “engaged” and how much of the page they read [or viewed].

Playing the recording

Showing the video of the user in action

Showing the video of the user in action

Clicking on a session allows you to replay the recording, watching the user’s every move. In the screen shot  shown above you can see the controls in the top section and below that, the user’s cursor (highlighted with a yellow glow) – the inner circle is currently indicating a click.

The video will then continue to show you the user’s experience through the site, in this case 11 pages, some of which were by mistake because it looked like they got lost in some of the navigation!

Analyse time

Showing the users percentage of time on sections of the page.

Showing the users percentage of time on sections of the page.

A secondary feature (a similar feature is available within Google analytics) is the heat map; this indicates where the user spent most of his time focusing the page with the scroll bar. It also highlights areas of interest* where the mouse was hovering over certain elements for a longer period of time than any other part of the page.

*In the above screen shot the user attempted to click on the picture, I presume for image enlargement.


This tool, I think, could be very useful for existing sites – especially for sites with forms. However, this is purely a rough and non interactive method of user testing; we do not know why a user went to so many pages to find a particular page as we cannot get any feedback from the user (they are completely anonymous) .

I think this could provide a useful insight into how users are currently interacting with our sites, but will never replace real (regular) user testing in the development stages of a new website.

If you would like to know more about clicktales – please ask me, I can login and show you it in action. There are also many youtube videos showing clicktales in action.

Thanks for reading and please comment on this. If you can’t see the comment box below, simply click on the title “Clicktales – a web big brother” and it will give you the option at the bottom of the article.