One of the great new features of the ‘new Google Analytics’ are the custom dashboards. If you do not use them yet, you most definitely should. I’m using custom dashboards to measure SEO, PPC, ROI, conversions and more. I also made a custom dashboard for WordPress blogs using Yoast’s Google Analytics for WordPress plugin. I already shared it in Dutch on my own blog, but Joost asked me to share it with his readers as well. So here it is.
About the dashboard
This dashboard is meant to give a quick insight into all the important things you want to know about your blog at any given time. First of all I’d like to explain some metrics I’ve chosen to use in this dashboard. Firstly I chose to use visits instead of visitors because you also want to know when someone visits your blog multiple times. Secondly I chose to use unique page views instead of page views because I want to know how many people read my posts, not how many times they are read. Thirdly with this dashboard I tried to create insights into metrics about posts instead of metrics about all pages.
How to build this dashboard
First of all this dashboard of course contains a section regarding the most important core metrics. In this case I chose to include widgets containing the number of visits, the number of new visitors, a graph of the number of visits over the chosen period, the pages per visit and the average time on site. So far: nothing special. These widgets you can create without filtering any data.
Google Analytics for WordPress
For the following sections you need to use the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin. The plugin will allow you to use custom variables to track post types, authors, categories and tags. In the settings of the plugin you can activate them in Custom Variable Settings (in advanced settings). These settings allow you to show the interesting data for your dashboard. Depending on which Custom Variables you use you have to tweak your dashboard. For this dashboard we’ve used the following settings:
When you use different settings you have to check which variable is saved in which custom variable key.
With these settings you are able to count the number of posts read on your blog and the most read posts. Because the plugin creates a custom variable containing the post type for each post that has been viewed you only need to filter the pages containing any kind of post type.
The widget settings for the number of posts read will look like this:
The widget settings for the most read posts will look like this:
The other custom variables created by the plugin allow you to show a few other interesting numbers. In this example we’ve chosen to show the most read authors and most read categories, but you could also show the most read tags or the number of posts by publication year.
The widget settings for the most read authors will look like this:
The widget settings for the most read categories will look like this:
Lastly the dashboard contains an overview of the most important traffic sources split up in used medium, social sources and used organic search terms.
I recommend you try to build this dashboard on your own. Not only to understand how it works but also to be able to choose to represent data in a different way. But of course I will provide you with a link to the dashboard configuration, which you can save to the desired profile in your Google Analytics account. Remember you need to have the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin installed as mentioned to be able to see all the correct data. Otherwise you still have to tweak the dashboard yourself.
Hope you enjoy your dashboard. Do you have any questions or suggestions? Leave a comment below.