KISSing Google Analytics

In Tao of the Web by Gregg BanseLeave a Comment

When it comes to efficiency I’m a tad militant. If I can shave a few seconds off a task – especially one that I repeat over and over again through a work day, week, month, I’m a happy boy. I don’t mind spending a few minutes to do prep and setup because in the end the result can save me many hours over time – which leads me to KISSing Google Analytics. You likely know about KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid (a US Navy design principal according to Wikipedia). I live by this rule whenever possible. If you own a small business website or a blog on WordPress and want to make reading and using your GA data easier then read on. 10 minutes here could make you happier and more productive at working with your website.

Google Analytics is your friend

I assume you already know this and have a Google Analytics (GA) account setup – if not, go get one. GA has a lot of data – TONS of data – but you don’t need all of it everyday. If it were bacon, yes, bacon everyday is a good thing – without the grease. But we don’t really need bacon or all that data everyday.

What most of us need everyday is to see how well our site is doing over the past few days or months.  We want to know if we had more unique visitors and pageviews, who referred them, what the bounce rate is, if the latest post created a nice uptick in traffic, what pages are popular, etc. We’ll know if the site is reaching the intended audience because we’ll have more sales or phone calls. If the trend line takes a dive, time to take a closer look. We don’t necessarily need to know all of the additional data GA offers us.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could bring the parts of Google Analytics we use the most into the WordPress dashboard? We can. Install Google Analytics for WP plugin. This plugin puts Google Analytics stats from your GA account right on the Dashboard of your WordPress install so you never have to open up GA unless you want to take a deeper dive.  Try it and you’ll see. The author Alin Marcu has done a fine job with this popular plugin (800+K downloads). Installation and instructions and a tutorial video are provided on

Don’t underestimate the happiness factor

Research indicates that we are more productive when we’re happy.

Some firms say they care about the well-being and ‘happiness’ of their employees. But are such claims hype, or scientific good sense? We provide evidence, for a classic piece-rate setting, that happiness makes people more productive. In three different styles of experiment, randomly selected individuals are made happier. The treated individuals have approximately 12% greater productivity. A fourth experiment studies major real-world shocks (bereavement and family illness). Lower happiness is systematically associated with lower productivity.

Andrew J. Oswald, Eugenio Proto, and Daniel Sgroi, Happiness and Productivity (PDF),University of Warwick, UK, and IZA Bonn, Germany, Februrary 10, 2014

It therefore makes sense that if we can improve our experience of working with our websites then we’ll be happier and thus more productive.  Every little bit counts and having the immediate satisfaction of seeing results of our work right on the dashboard when we log into WordPress is easy to do.

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