University of Vermont

UVM Self-help Web Guide

Analytics/Google™ Search

Getting Analytics for your site

The UVM Web Team suggests the use of Google Analytics for measuring website traffic.

Step 1: Sign up for an analytics account from Google, there you need only get your account number which usually has a form of UA-xxxxxxx-1.

Step 2: Add this account number to the defaultmenu.html on all the websites that you wish to track, you may also use a magicoptions.html file to add your analytics account. See below:

In defaultmenu.html:

0 My Site email=My.Department@uvm.edu,analytics=UA-xxxxxxx-1

In magicoptions.html:

analytics UA-xxxxxxx-1

Step 3: Login to your Google account after about 24 hours to confirm that you have begun to receive data.

Note: We recommend setting up several administrators, perhaps including a departmental account, so that the account can be accessed by someone else in the department in the event of an emergency. When you add an analytics account to your site, the code is included on all your Web pages but is not visually apparent.

Gain Access to an Existing Analytics Account

If you already have an analytics account entered in your magicoptions.html file, but cannot access this account when logging into Google, you should request access from the site's current or previous owner. It is also possible that access was given to the department email, try logging in with the department email (the password can be reset if you have access to this account). If all else fails, you may need to get a new account and change your tracking number.

A quick-start guide to reviewing analytics

Login into the Google Analytics site to review your site's statistics. Google will start tracking your site immediately after you add your code to your site. Reports are generally 24 hours in arrears.

Reviewing your statistics on a regular basis can help you assess the success of marketing campaigns and website updates and identify visitor trends.

In general, useful statistics for universities sites to track over time include:

  • Total visits
  • Total Pageviews
  • Average time on site
  • Average bounce rate on site
  • Average bounce rate on site's homepage
  • Percent new visits
  • Total direct visits (find this number by selecting Traffic Sources then Direct Traffic)
  • Total search engine visits with branded search terms
  • Visitor Recency (find this by selecting Visitors then Visitor Recency)
  • Visitor Loyalty (find this by selecting Visitors then Visitor Loyalty)
  • Total Visits from Social Media Sites

Tracking non-HTML documents and outbound links

Google Analytics only tracks pages on your site that include the Google tracking code. Sometimes it is useful to track downloads of non-HTML documents or to track "outbound" (off-site) links. Event Tracking and Virtual Pageviews are useful features in this regard.

Event Tracking: This is the recommended method for tracking links to "external" webpages or websites. The links are not counted as a "page" on your site, but rather are tracked as events under the corresponding area in Google Analytics. To use event tracking, add some code to the corresponding link. Example code:

<a href="http://www.some-site.com" onclick="_gaq.push(['b._trackEvent', 'category', 'action', 'label']);">an external site</a>

The three fields are used for helping you segment and silo the data.

  • category – For Event Tracking, a category is a name that you supply as a way to group objects that you want to track (e.g. 'outbound links,' etc.)
  • action – Use the action parameter to name the type of event or interaction you want to track for a particular web object. (e.g. ‘click,’ ‘download,’ etc)
  • label – With labels you can provide additional information for events that you want to track. (e.g. the name of a file)

Virtual Pageviews: This method is useful for tracking documents that you consider "pages" on your website, but do not contain the Google tracking code. This might include your PDF and Word documents. To use virtual pageviews, add some code to the corresponding link. Example code:

<a href="pdfs/fall-newsletter.pdf" onclick="_gaq.push(['b._trackPageview', '/downloads/pdfs/fall-newsletter.pdf']);">download the fall newsletter</a>

Tracking visits from a link in an email campaign

You can use the Analytics URL Builder Tool to automatically generate URLs for links in email and print campaigns. Fill in the fields for your campaign’s source, medium, term, content, and name. The generated URL can be shortened for print using a link shortening service (e.g tinyurl.com). The link parameters that are generated for these variables will be recognized by the Google Analytics Tracking Code and processed for your reports.

Looking for more information about web metrics?

You can find out more by attending one of our Analytics workshops or visiting the Higher Ed Analytics website.

Last modified February 11 2013 10:32 AM