As a webmaster or the owner of a business with a website that is an integral part of your customer acquisition strategy, one of your main challenges is tracking the performance of your website. You may have the most appealing website in the world, equipped with some of the best features, but it would count for nothing if there is little traffic or limited awareness about your site. The challenge here is two-fold: You need to get traffic to your website and you must then analyze how many conversions you can achieve.
It is common for webmasters to face the problem of less traffic or perhaps fewer conversions and less revenue (despite an increase in the traffic). It is here that Google Analytics can help you as it tracks the performance of your website and reports details regarding traffic, conversions, revenue generated, sources that help with conversions, popular search keywords, and so on. Such comprehensive reporting is possible with the Google Analytics dashboards.
Ideally, the dashboards help you understand the current performance of your site to use it as a basis to prepare better strategies and marketing campaigns for increased traffic and conversions in the future. So, in this article, we dive deep into the world of the Google Analytics dashboards to understand the process of creating them, using them, and identifying their limitations.
Google Analytics Dashboards Overview
The Google Analytics dashboards are a collection of widgets that enable you to visualize your data, primarily the reports and metrics about which you are most concerned. They allow you to evaluate the health of your Google Analytics accounts by providing reports and comparing several metrics, such as unique visitors, the top keywords, the most viewed web pages, social networks and the other sources sending the most traffic, and the amount of time spent by visitors on your site.
The best part about the dashboards is that they are easy to create, customize, use, and share.
Steps to Access “My Dashboard” from Your Google Analytics Account
- Log in to your Google Analytics account.
- Under the reporting tab, click on the “Dashboards” option which appears on the left-hand side menu.
- You can view “My Dashboard” by clicking on “Private” to get an idea of what kind of data reporting is offered by default.
- Alternatively, you can create a new dashboard by clicking on “+New Dashboard” under the “Dashboards” section.
Below are further details about the process to create a new Google Analytics dashboard.
How to Create a Google Analytics Dashboard
- Once you click on the “+New Dashboard”, you will get a pop-up window, offering you choices between using a blank canvas or a starter dashboard as seen below.
- Select the starter dashboard option (to learn about widgets and how they work) and click on “create dashboard” to begin the dashboard creation process. For example, we created a sample dashboard with the name “Test1” as seen below.
- Create a widget for your Google Analytics dashboard by clicking on the “+Add Widget” option which is visible in the top menu bar.
- You can display the data in different ways by opting for any of the various widget types, such as metric, timeline, geomap, table, pie, and bar. You can select any of the widget types and link them to a report within Google Analytics. This allows you to view more data.Based on the selection of your widgets, you can work with a particular combination of dimensions and metrics. The idea behind creating a dashboard in this manner is to get information in terms of conversions, active visitors, traffic sources, custom campaigns, top content, top locations, new vs. returning visitors, organic keywords, and more.
Types of Dashboards
We have already mentioned the default dashboard (My Dashboard) which is displayed by each view in your Google Analytics account. This dashboard is pre-populated with several widgets that show your website’s traffic measured via certain metrics or dimensions, such as the timelines for the bounce rate and goal conversions, a table for sessions by browsers, a geomap for sessions, and the timeline for the number of users. It is a private dashboard that is visible only to you.
You can share your private dashboard by using the “Share” option, next to the “Add Widget” option. You may also share your dashboard with others using the “Export” and “Email” options in the menu.
In addition, others can share dashboards that make life really easy for first-timers with you. They are dashboards created and shared by others, so you can quickly get an idea of the kind of data that is reported and displayed. They are also one of the most popular types of dashboards and give you the ability to import ready-to-use samples.
When you come across any shared dashboards, you can simply click on the link and add it to the property of your choice. None of the data from the dashboard of the person who shared it will be visible to you and none of your data will be shared with that person.If you do not find the default dashboard or the shared dashboards sufficient for your site’s data reporting and analysis, you can create custom dashboards. This customization can be done by adding, rearranging, and removing widgets; adding or removing segments; adding reports to the dashboard; and filtering the data that is displayed.
Examples of Useful Dashboards
You can use any of the dashboards available for free from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery. You can also check out some of the top dashboards in this Google Analytics Gallery provided by Google.
In addition, you can try out Ultimate SEO dashboard, which is a custom shared dashboard to track the most popular search engines and search terms, the bounce rates and conversions, internal blog searches, and more.
Adwords dashboard is also useful to track the best performing campaigns and ad groups, total revenue from the Adwords ads, devices from which sales originate, and so on.
Limitations of the Google Analytics Dashboards
The only major limitation of the Google Analytics dashboards is that you have to switch back and forth between properties as well as accounts to compare data from multiple sites at a time. This could be time consuming, especially if you handle multiple sites or websites for multiple clients.
Clearly, dashboards are a great way to allow shortcut access to the most relevant and important data in your Google Analytics account.
Have you created or tried any Google Analytics dashboards yet? Feel free to share your feedback or queries in the comments section below.