I don’t know about you, but I’m really enjoying the new features Google Analytics added in the last upgrade. We’re all familiar with the standard dashboard where you can see at a glance all metrics for your website, but the default settings might not be exactly what you need to measure for your particular website. Here we will show you how to create custom dashboards for your exact analytic needs so you’re measuring and tracking only what is important to you.
Log into your Google Analytics account and open the Home tab. The Home tab is where you can see several new analytic options, including Real-Time reporting and Custom Dashboards. As you can see in the image below, the default dashboard has sections for measuring things I don’t use-like Conversions and Alerts. That real estate could be better utilized with metrics I need to see and measure. The same is probably true for you as well, so let’s see how we can make this a little more user friendly.
In the left sidebar, select the New Dashboards tab. A window will pop up allowing you to choose a Blank Canvas to create truly custom dashboards or you can choose a Starter Dashboard which will give you pointers to get started with customizing your dashboard.
Create A Blank Canvas Dashboard
A Blank Canvas dashboard is an excellent place to setup metrics to track your ad campaigns and other marketing strategies. The custom dashboards feature allows you to create up to 20 different custom dashboards so you can create as many or as few as your site requires. You’ll be able to see the results in a glance and all of your dashboards are accessible in the left sidebar for quick reference. To get started, select the Blank Canvas option and you’ll see the widgets window pop up allowing you to create specific widget sections for your dashboard. Starting with the Metrics tab, you can select one of many metric options to target specific goals for your site. Basically anything you can measure in Google Analytics can be set as a metric.
To make your metrics more user friendly and quick to read, add a dimension with a pie chart. The dimension also allows you to choose from specific metrics to more accurately measure your success. You can further filter the data by showing only additional specifications to exactly match your criteria. For example, if you had an advertisement you wanted to measure, you could choose the Social Actions metric and filter the data to show on a specific day of the week. The widget is automatically named based on the options you chose but can be edited to your liking and linked to the ad URL.
The same process can be done here to create Timelines and Tables to compare metrics like visits VS revenue and track non-branded keywords. If you want to change a widget or no longer need a certain widget or metric, simply open the widget with the gear icon and in the bottom right corner, click “Delete Widget”.
All dashboards will be different depending on the type of site. I don’t have ads or marketing since my blog is non-monetized so my example dashboard reflects the metrics a blog should be tracking and is to show an example of a blank canvas dashboard. If you’re site is for business, your dashboard should have metrics that track your marketing strategies that target your specific goals.
Once you have all the widgets you want on your dashboard, you might need to move them around to place them in order of importance or make comparing two metrics easier in a glance. all you need to do is simply drag them where you want them placed for better viewing.
What If I Don’t See A Metric I Want To Track?
If you want to add a widget that’s not in the widgets creator, go to the Standard Reporting tab. Select the tab from the left sidebar and then select the item you want to track. For example if you wanted to track referrers, go to the Standard Reporting tab and select Traffic Sources. Next, select Social and then Sources. You’ll now see the metrics for the social referrals sent to your site. To add it to the dashboard, Click the “Add To Dashboard” button in the top menu bar
A pop-up will open where you can choose the dashboard it will go on and what type of table or chart it will display the data in. Once you click Add To Dashboard, it’s added and the pop-up goes away.
Create A Starter Dashboard
If you’re new to Google Analytics or aren’t sure what metrics you need to track, using a Starter Dashboard will help you get off on the right foot. The Starter Dashboard is pretty much the same as the default dashboard with the added feature of creating widgets to make it semi-custom. If you like the default settings but want to add specific widgets to it, this template is for you. You can keep the default page the same and add specific dashboards showing just visitor metrics, and just content metrics for easy data analysis.
There are so may useful ways to setup the custom dashboards whether it’s for business and marketing purposes or just for a hobby blog. Take advantage of being able to dig deep into your analytics and measure, measure, measure so you can reach your maximum potential! If you’re already using custom dashboards, please share with other readers what you find most useful about the custom dashboard feature by leaving a comment below!