Website Assessment with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a hosted service for website usage analysis. It tracks how visitors find/enter your website, what pages they visit within the site, how much time they spend on each page, and where they go when they leave your site.

It’s free as long as your account does not exceed 5 million pageviews per month. All you need (like with all things Google) is a Google account. Creating a website’s profile is as simple as knowing its URL. Once you have entered your homepage URL, location, and time zone, Google sends an email confirmation including a snippet of code that should be pasted into each page of the site. The instructions explain that the code must be inserted immediately before the closing body tag.

New Website Profile

New Website Profile

Reports can be generated based on daily, weekly, or monthly usage. Each report includes detailed information about visits, pageviews, bounce rate, and average time spent on the site. Other analytic features such as iPhone visits and trend reporting can be included/excluded based on the needs of your institution. Data can be exported as PDFs, XML, or comma-separated values (CSV) for Excel.

Report

Report

Google Analytics is powerful, it’s big, I’m merely scratching the surface! However, getting started is easy and the potential benefits are vast. If you need to record web statistics, to assess online services, or redesign your website, you should read more, explore training options, and play around with this amazing tool.

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Guest Post: Sign me up! Event registration with GoogleDocs and Calendar

By now, if you’re not a GoogleDocs convert, you at least know enough about it to resist it’s Google-y charms. If you fall into the latter group, well, you might just come around by the end of this post.

Nestled among Google’s answer to the trifecta of productivity software is a gem that will make registration for your next library workshop a breeze, especially when used with Google Calendar.

Behold the Form:
Google Form

Essentially, it’s a very stripped down survey-making application that feeds results into an accompanying spreadsheet. To get started:

1. Create a new Form from the GoogleDocs front page.
2. Add a name and a description for your event.
3. Add your question fields with the Add Item button. (Here you can choose a question type – text, paragraph, scale, etc. For registration forms, I use Text and ask for first and last name, email address and academic department.)
4. I like to edit the confirmation message – the note students get when the form is submitted. Do this under More Actions.
5. Also under More Actions, select Embed and copy the code for your form.

Edit form

Now you can add the code to a web page, but why stop there? Go a step further and paste it into the description field of an event in Google Calendar.

Edit event

The trick here is to tweak the HTML a little to make a link instead of an embedded object. I just change the <iframe src> tag to an <a href> tag and edit what I want the link to say.

Finally, take the code for the Google Calendar and paste it into your website. This code can be found in Calendar Settings for the desired calendar.

Calendar code

Now, you have a fully integrated library events calendar and sign up sheet. When participants fill out the form, their responses will be added to a spreadsheet in your GoogleDocs item list.

One last detail I like to customize, is notification – you can be sent an email when someone submits the online form. To set this up, open the spreadsheet, go to Tools → Notification Rules.

Notification rules

This GoogleDocs/Calendar combination has been immensely helpful in setting up workshop registration and keeping attendees organized. Plus, it has all the benefits that come with GoogleDocs – it’s web-based so I can set up registration forms anywhere and I can add co-instructors who can view the class list and make any needed edits. To see all this in action, feel free to check out my workshop calendar.


Allie Jordan is the Emerging Technologies and Instructional Services Librarian at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  While she’s not exploring the ins and outs of the graduate student psyche, she’s cross stitching or watching roller derby.

You don’t have to be just a Libtechtalk groupie. Did you know that this blog is looking for guest authors? Contact ctomlinson at towson.edu to find out how you too can write about your favorite technologies and how they might be used in academic libraries.