How Google Analytics Dashboards Can Make Your Life Easier

Recently, we covered how you can go beyond standard reporting in Google Analytics by using filters, segments, reports, and dashboards. In today’s post, we are going to dive a bit deeper into using Google Analytics dashboards with even more free samples to import into your account, tips on creating dashboards, and even an alternative tool to use.

What Are Google Analytics Dashboards

Google Analytics Dashboards are simply collections of widgets that allow you to quickly visualize your data. You can have up to 20 dashboards with 12 widgets in each for each view / property in your Google Analytics account. Each view / property includes a default dashboard to get you started.

To access your dashboards, click on Dashboards in the left side menu of your Google Analytics.

google analytics dashboards menu

Under the Private dropdown, you should find a My Dashboard, which is your default dashboard.

inside a ga dashboard

This is where you can get a feel of what dashboards have to offer.

Shared Google Analytics Dashboards to Download

One of the great things about dashboards is that you can find plenty of awesome examples created by others to import into your own Google Analytics account. This can save you a lot of time and give you lots of ideas about how to use dashboards

Whenever you find a shared dashboard, all you have to do is click on the link while logged in to your Google Analytics account, choose the property you want to add the dashboard to, and you are all set.

adding dashboard from others

This will not cause you to share any data with the person who created the dashboard. You will also not get other’s data from shared dashboard configurations.

The following are collections of free, shared dashboards to choose from.

Some of the above may have duplicates as lots of people re-share other’s dashboards, but you should find tons of gems regardless.

How to Create a Google Analytics Dashboard

If you didn’t find what you are looking for in the above collections, you can also create your own. To create your own dashboard, click the +New Dashboard option under the Dashboards menu.

You will get the option to use a blank canvas or a starter dashboard with sample widgets created for you. The starter dashboard is best to get a feel for how different widgets work, and the samples can be deleted at any time.

how to create google analytics dashboard

The first dashboard you will want to create should include the top 12 things you check most often in Google Analytics for each of your websites. These could include:

  • Active Visitors
  • Audience Overview
  • Location
  • New vs. Returning Visitors
  • Traffic Sources
  • Organic Keywords
  • Social Referrals
  • Top Content
  • Conversions

Widget Creation

To create a widget, click the +Add Widget in the top menu bar.

google analytics dashboard add widget

Here, you have several ways to display your data. Using this sample dashboard for reference…

dashboard widget types

You can see (from left to right, top to bottom) an example of the geomap, bar, pie, metric, timeline, and table widget types. Depending on the type you choose, you will have a specific combination of dimensions and/or metrics to work with.

google analytics widget options

One of the best parts about your dashboard widgets is the ability to link them to specific reports within Google Analytics. This way, if you want to see more data, you can click on the widget and go straight to the report you need.

link-google-analytics-dashboard-to-report

If you visited the samples above, you probably have plenty of great dashboard ideas already. My personal favorites are ones that show details about active visitors, conversions, traffic sources, top content, custom campaigns, and audience demographics / technology information.

Sharing Your Dashboards

If you have multiple website properties in your Google Analytics account, you can export your dashboards from one property and import them into another so you don’t have to create them again. To do this, click on Share in the top menu bar and then choose Share template link.

share google analytics dashboard

Copy & paste the URL into your browser’s address bar, choose the view you want to add the dashboard to, and click Create. This will add your dashboard to another website / property in your Google Analytics account.

You can learn more about creating and using dashboards in the Google Analytics Help Center.

An Alternative to Dashboards in Google Analytics

The one thing you can’t do with dashboards within Google Analytics is compare multiple sites’ data. You have to switch back and forth between properties and even accounts in order to do this. But if you are managing multiple websites for multiple clients, it can be a hassle when you need to review your data.

Fortunately, there is a tool that can save you some time. Cyfe is an all-in-one business dashboard that allows you to monitor multiple sources of data in one place. With a premium account (only $19 per month), you can have unlimited dashboards, each with unlimited widgets. While you can’t get as granular as you could within Google Analytics, you can use Cyfe to create widgets for over 60 metrics covering Audience, Content, Conversion, Ecommerce, Event, and Traffic Source data. Any custom segments you have created in your account can filter each of these widgets.

cyfe configure widget

Once configured, you can look at multiple websites’ data all at once, including websites from different Google accounts without a limit on the number of dashboards you can create or widgets you can use within each dashboard.

cyfe google analytics

You can also add other data to these dashboards including information from Google Webmaster Tools, Alexa, social networks, and many other sources. If you want to keep yourself, your boss, or clients up-to-date, you can have Cyfe send a report based on information within a dashboard on a regular basis. For clients, you can give them access to individual dashboards for regular review.

In Conclusion…

Google Analytics dashboards allow you to create visual shortcuts to the most important data within your Google Analytics account. If you’re ready to get serious about Google Analytics dashboards, you can either create your own or choose from the many free, shared dashboards throughout the web. To compare Google Analytics dashboards from multiple sites at a time, or alongside other important business data, you can choose to use tools like Cyfe.

What are your favorite Google Analytics dashboards? Please share in the comments!

About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Be sure to sign up for her free mini-training course, 8 Days to Promotable Content, and learn how to create content that people love to share! You can also find her on Google+ and Twitter.

  1. hi Kristi

    I’d say Google Analytics is a great tool to make business easier… it has less to do with life…

    Anyway, a good alternative I’ve tested and I’m happy with is Clicky

    Did any of you guys try it?

    I run a network of 300 niche blogs and aged domain names (I promote health products as an affiliate) and analytics are key essentials to tracking my visitors…

    • Is Clicky able to get you all of your keyword data? I remember the last time I tried it, it slowed my site down, so I removed it.

  2. Nice article (didn’t know about all the existing templates)! A great larger point here is automate everything you can. Not only does it save you time but saves brainpower for tougher tasks.

  3. Great article, I prefer using the more social media friendly dashboards and have loaded those up for myself and my clients.

  4. Nice article! Thanks for the deep insight and tutorial. We’ve started using Cyfe.com and love it! Compared to Google Analytics it has a lot to offer like email reports, sharing options, and built in SERP tracking. Also the ability to add your own custom data is a major plus.

    • Yes, I’m loving Cyfe, which is why I had to include it here when talking about dashboards. I create a new widget for my most important email campaigns so I can see how they are performing without having to click around Aweber.

  5. Something interesting but recently i stopped using Google analytics which presently working on with statcounter feeling better on it

  6. What about the issue with dimension data in the dashboards not matching the full reports? Makes them less valuable. Any ideas or resources to help?

    • I haven’t run into this issue, but in general, I consider dashboards more of an “at a glance” solution for those who don’t have time to go digging into their analytics. For more serious analysis, the reports are a better way to go.

  7. This is a very insightful article. Thanks. I have recently using Raven-seo-tools, and I must say, I am definitely loving it. It has a lot to offer – compared to Google Analytics.

    • I haven’t used Raven in a long time – I didn’t know they were handing GA dashboards as well. I’m not surprised with the laundry list of features they have though.

  8. Excellent post. I never know that Google Analytics can be really grateful and helpful. You have given many new methods and i will surely try them. :)
    Thanks

    Saif

  9. Hi Kristi.

    You explained very clearly how to use analytics efficiently. Thank you very much.

  10. Do you have a crystal ball or something? You seem to write the definitive “go-to” JUST PRIOR to when I need it. Your resources and in-depth analysis therein have been time savers, life savers and CAREER SAVERS.

  11. I believe I’m in the wrong part of dashboard BUT the knowledge is great. Maybe on a whole other note you can extend a hand as too how I access my stuff. Not business I don’t have a web site. But would like to access my actions etc. As I believe my gmail was hacked. Like as too how I find out when or where things were accessed under my name/email acct.
    Maybe u can’t help st all but for the ppl u do help in your articles ..keep up the good work as I found it easy to follow unlike others ;)

  12. Hi,

    i have one problem regarding sharing dashboards if somebody maybe has solution.
    I created a dashboards that I shared through different GA Views/Properties – cca 20 views with same dashboard (via share link). Now I want to make few changes on existing dashboard but as I see, changes are not seen on all views/properties. Does this mean that if I want changes seen on all views I want to share the dashboard once again through all?
    How can I (is it even possible) to change something on my “original” dashboard which is already shared that this new change would be visible on all shared ones?
    Change is seen only on profile where I changed “original” dashboard and this is not very useful for us.

  13. Can google analytics be used to provide dash boards to clients showing their current bussiness status and datas. That is a dash-board to every client which can be edited by me. Or is there any online site providing such kind of service?

    • Shubham, you can definitely find insights about any of your domains that are useful. I think you just have to segment for variables that are applicable to you.

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