If you haven’t checked out beav.es/analytics, I encourage you to do so, now, without delay. It’s a dashboard that shows the analytics for your site at a glance. It’s useful if you need to look at basic statistics or want to easily share data with your stakeholders.

By default, the dashboard will show data for all centrally hosted sites at OSU. You can filter the data by selecting your site from the list in the left hand corner.

If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics vocabulary, here’s a guide to some of the terms.

Definitions

Pageviews

The number of times your pages have been viewed. If someone hits refresh on the page 8 times, all of those instances will be counted. If someone goes to another page and then comes back, it’s also counted.

It’s normal to see a dip in traffic on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sessions

Think of this as a time that someone got on their computer and clicked around on your site, then got up and watched videos of cats on their phone while sipping a cup of coffee. This would count as 1 session, even though they viewed multiple pages. The session ends when they’ve been inactive for 30 minutes or left your site. (There are a lot of cat videos out there, so they’ve been gone for a while.)

Top Content

Shows the pages with the highest number of pageviews. It lists the path portion (the end part) of the URL and won’t include the domain name.

For example: “communications.oregonstate.edu/brand-guide” would be listed as “/brand-guide”.

When it lists only “/” that indicates the homepage of your site.

Top Mediums

Are ways people find your site. Think of these as the broad categories, rather than specific sources like “google.com” or “search.oregonstate.edu”

Organic

Someone used a search engine, like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, to find your site. They clicked a result that wasn’t an ad.

None

Can mean several things. A visitor to your site may have:

  • Typed the URL in the address bar
  • Clicked on a link to your site in a desktop program like Outlook or Thunderbird
  • Used a bookmark
  • An aggressive ad blocker that prevents tracking

It’s better to think of “none” as more of an unknown category.

Referral

People visited by clicking a link on a different website. For example, a high school student is looking at colleges on the US News College Rankings list. In the section about OSU, they click on a link that goes to the admissions site. That would count as a referral.

Referrals can also be other OSU websites that are on separate domains or aren’t centrally hosted.

CPC/SEM

This is traffic generated through paid advertising campaigns.

Email

Is just that. Someone clicked a link in an email.

Other Categories

When creating ads, you can assign names to a medium using a custom URL (UTM parameters). Other names in this list besides the default ones listed above are from these custom campaigns.

Landing/Exit Pages

Say you’re researching for your next vacation, so you Google “Hawaii beaches.” You click on the first search result that has a tranquil and idyllic picture of a pristine beach.

That page you landed on is probably not the homepage of a website, but rather a page nested within the site. That page, “Hawaii beaches,” is your landing page.

Then, say you click around on a couple of pages to check out standup paddle boarding, the snorkeling options, and then you reach the prices page. Yikes! That’s a tad out of your budget for the trip, so you go back to your search. The price page would be your exit page.

For more information about Google Analytics, you can check out their help center or come to Open Lab.

Headings in a webpage are vital for creating an organized and accessible web page. Think of headings as the main points in the outline of your written content. Short and concise headings should describe sections of your web page. If someone only read the headings of your webpage, they should be able to have a good idea what your page is about.

Headings provide structure and are hierarchical–to mark most important to least important. They start with heading 1 as the most important and ending with heading 6 as least important.

Example heading structure

Let’s say I have a website that’s all about beavers. Here’s what the heading structure would look like:

  1. Beavers (Heading 1)
    1. Species (Heading 2)
      1. North American Beaver (Heading 3)
      2. Eurasian Beaver (Heading 3)
    2. Habitat (Heading 2)
      1. Dams (Heading 3)
        1. Affect on climate (Heading 4)
      2. Lodges (Heading 3)
    3. Lifespan

Why do headings matter?

“Can’t I just pick a heading based on how it makes my text look?”

Screen readers allow those with low/no vision to skim a page by reading all the headings out loud. If headings are missing or out of order, this process becomes quite difficult and frustrating. For sighted users, using headings consistently will provide a cohesive visual experience.

If you need to emphasize an announcement or exception, use bold formatting instead. Headings should not be used to change the appearance of text. Conversely, applying bold or italics to headings doesn’t give the structure needed for people who use screen readers. The screen reading software won’t pick up on the italicized or bold text as a heading.

How to add headings in Drupal

With Drupal, you can add headings to your webpage easily. You select the text and then from the formatting option, select the appropriate heading.

screenshot of text editor in Drupal to change headings

Headings start with level 3 in Drupal because headings 1 and 2 label the site and page titles. Start with heading 3 for your main points and use headings 4, 5, or 6 if you have subsections. Unless your page is very long and complex, you probably won’t use heading 6.

How to check your heading structure

Our accessibility checker, Monsido, will check for the order of the headings. (Contact Web and Mobile Services if you don’t have access to Monsido.) However, it can’t check for lengthy or irrelevant headings. That needs to be reviewed by a person looking over the content to make sure it’s current, concise, and relevant.

If your department doesn’t have Monsido, then you can use Webaim’s Wave Tool, which is free and available right in your web browser.

Writing isn’t easy! But creating well structured content gives everyone an great experience.

Here at OSU, we have Google Analytics already set up on most sites. All the data lives under one account so we can get a sense of the big picture. But, if you work for an individual department or unit, you probably only want to see the data for your site, not everyone’s.

You can create a segment to see only your site’s data.

  1. Log into Google Analytics.
  2. Click on the property menu in the upper left-hand corner
  1. Under the Oregon State University – Core account, select the Universal property and the Unfiltered view
  1. Click on the Audience, then click on Overview
  1. Click on +Add Segment
  1. Click on New Segment
  1. Type a name into the Segment Name next to the blue Save button.
  2. Click on Conditions under Advanced
  1. Then click on Ad Content to change the dimension that you will filter by. 
  2. Click in the search bar and start typing Hostname
  1. Click on the search result to select it. 
  2. Change the Contains option to Exactly Matches.
  3. In the text box, type in your site’s hostname. For example: communications.oregonstate.edu. Don’t include “www” or “https.” 
  4. Then click the blue Save button.

You can now apply this segment to any report in Google Analytics to only see the data for your website. Here’s how:

  1. When viewing any report, click on the All Users segment, which is selected by default. 
  2. This will bring up a list of all the segments you have created. Select the one you just created to see only your website data. 
  1. Click on Apply, which will apply the segment to the data in the report. You can apply this to any report in Google Analytics, such as Behavior or Acquisition.

You can also check out pre-built segments that show a subset of data: visitors from the state of Ohio or people viewing your website with a tablet. There are a lot of options already there if you don’t want to build your own.

If you want to delve deeper, check out Google’s documentation on segments.

Google Analytics is a tool that shows you how people are using your website. You now have a few options for using it here at Oregon State University.

  1. Request access to the universal Google Analytics account if you want to just want to pop in and grab your data. We take care of the account level management for you. You will need to create a segment in order to see only your site’s data.
  2. Go to beav.es/analytics to view the university-wide dashboard. You can select your own site to see any date range of analytics. This is useful for sharing your data with stakeholders or if you don’t want to learn Google Analytics layout.
  3. Create your own Google Analytics account if you want to manage your own account and have more autonomy. You can manage user access, share with 3rd party companies, and do more advanced tasks. Once you’ve created your account, you’ll need to add the tracking ID to your Drupal site. Be sure to check with us first to see if there is already an account that we could transfer ownership to you.

You can get started on your own or come to Open Lab if you want some help.