How to tell where your website traffic is coming from

Video - Where is Your Traffic Coming From?
Note: With the discontinuation of Universal Analytics as of 1 July 2023, this article is no longer relevant, as these tips apply to Universal Analytics accounts. Please visit my tutorials page for other helpful content.

It’s time for another dose of Measurement Magic, with the Data Fairy!

And today’s topic is your website traffic, and how to tell where people are coming from using your Google Analytics reports.

When you know where people are coming from, you know which of your activities are working, and how best to spend your valuable time and energy.

So check out my video to see a walkthrough of exactly how to use your Google Analytics reports to answer this very important question.


Video Transcript

Hello! I’m Nikki, the Data Fairy and it’s time for another dose of Measurement Magic and today I want to talk to you about your website traffic and how to tell where it’s all coming from.

So it’s really useful to be able to tell where all your website traffic is coming from.

This is a question I get a lot from people.

How do I tell where all the visitors are coming from?

And I can totally understand why you’d want to know this because when you know where people are coming from you know which of your activities is actually working, which things you can do more of, you know are you getting people from Facebook so let’s spend more time on Facebook.

Am I spending more time on Twitter? Is that bringing me more traffic?

Is Google search bringing me traffic? Right well then I can write more blog posts.

By knowing where people are coming from to your site and how people are finding you it informs your decisions about what to spend your valuable time and energy on.

So let’s go over to your Google Analytics reports and see how to figure it out.

So here we are in the home page of my Google Analytics account and I’m gonna go look at the reports for one of my sites.

And your homepage will look similar but just click into the site that you’re interested in looking at the data for.

And here we have the reporting section for this website.

Now the way to see where people are coming from is to go down to the Acquisition section on the left hand side, under All Traffic and to go to Source / Medium and under the graph what you’ll see is a list of all the domains that are sending traffic to your site.

So here for example on this site my top source of traffic is coming from google / organic which is organic search traffic.

That’s people typing search terms into Google and then finding my results, my pages in the results and clicking through to my site.

The next one is direct / none which is a big bucket for “I don’t know” – it could be mobile traffic, it can be apps that don’t send source information, it can be PDFs, it can be someone typing in your address.

So that one is a pretty normal level, ten to fifteen, maybe twenty percent at the most is pretty typical and we can’t learn anything from that especially.

And then you can see I’ve got a fair bit of traffic coming from Pinterest on this site, I’m getting organic search traffic from Bing and also from Yahoo, I have a site paleogrubs that’s sending traffic to my site, I’m getting some traffic from Facebook on mobile I’m also getting some click-throughs from some emails that I’ve sent out.

So have a look through the list on your site to see where your traffic is coming from.

So this is currently sorted by sessions, it’s the number of visits.

You can look at some of the other columns to see how good quality the traffic is you’re getting.

And the two main things to look at are how many pages are people looking at per session, so the more pages they’re looking at the more engaged they are with your site, and how long are their sessions on average.

The longer the session again the more engaged they are with the content on your site.

And if you have goals set up you can also see how many times people are completing those goals on your site.

So once you’ve looked through this, see which sites are bringing in the most traffic and that will give you a sense of where the time that you’re spending is paying off, which of these sites is resulting in people coming through and visiting your site and learning more about what you do.

So that’s how to see where your traffic is coming from in your Google Analytics reports.

So that’s how you use your Google Analytics report to figure out where your traffic is coming from and so you can make decisions about how to spend your time in your business to grow it, to make it more profitable, to make it thrive.

If you found that really useful then I’m offering a limited number of free sessions with me to go through your Google Analytics reports and make even more sense of the data you’re getting from your website.

I’ll put the link in the description this video and I would love to have a chat with you and help you make even more sense of your Google Analytics reports.

Have a great day!

Nikki, The Biz Pixie

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About the author 

I’ve had a love affair with systems, technology and data for as long as I can remember. I’ve been building websites for over 20 years, running online businesses for more than 15, and teaching myself how to use gazillions of software programs since the very first moment I got my hands on a computer. I’m a geek and proud of it!

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