Your Google Analytics Dashboard is Useless.

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There. I’ve said it. It’s something you’ve known for a long time too.

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The reason your Google Analytics dashboard is useless is that it’s filled with charts and stats that:

  1. Aren’t directly connected to your bottom line.
  2. Measure things that are too expensive/complicated to change.
  3. Don’t measure things that are relevant to your business.

The end result is some nice looking charts and graphs that you probably don’t look at. Or worse, some nice looking charts and graphs that you do look at… and then don’t do anything or understand your audience better.

That’s no way to own a website.

But what do you do?

There are 87,309,293 other reports in Google Analytics that don’t show up on the dashboard. Learning what they do takes time. It’s time well-invested of course (you knew I’d say that, right?) but it’s a lot of time.

And even if you do learn what all those reports do there’s a dirty secret: they still probably won’t be relevant to the core questions you have about your real estate practice’s online presence.

There’s something else you can do, though.

For those of you who are in the “new” version of Google Analytics (which I really hope is all of you) there are custom reports and there are custom dashboards. The dashboards are awesome, but I want to talk about the custom reports in this post.

You see, if you really want to dig in to a pile of web visitor data, you’ll want more than a short pithy pie chart. You’ll want charts and sheets and stuff like that. That’s what custom reports are for.

Want to know which category of blog posts draws in the most new visits to your website? You can do it with a custom report.

Want to know which social networking sites are drawing the most visitors who complete your site goals? Custom report.

Want to know whether Trulia, Zillow or Realtor.com are shoveling any visitors your way? Custom report.

Does your broker tell you that they send you a lot of web traffic? Find out with a custom report.

And if you happen to manage a lot of websites you can configure one custom report and have it show up in all of the profiles you manage. This is massive time-saver for agencies, brokers and agents who have the 49 different micro-sites and blogsites and single property sites that everyone is selling.

Don’t let your dashboard be useless. Track data that is relevant and meaningful to you.

Interesting is not enough. It’s got to help you learn more about your audience and make better decisions about your site.

What would you like to know about your site audience?

Feb 29th  I’m going to build up an example custom report for real estate in a follow up to this piece. If there’s something you really wish your Google Analytics could tell you about your site traffic, leave it in the comments.