Dashboards in Google Analytics (GA) are a great way to see what’s happening on your site at a glance. Instead of having to click through the different sections of GA to find individual data points, you can select the particular charts and tables that you’re interested in, and add them to your custom dashboards.

I discuss a few specific benefits of dashboards in the video “Creating Custom Dashboards in Google Analytics,” such as:

  • Compare dates. Use the calendar feature at the top right to change the time range you’re monitoring (e.g., the last seven days, the previous month, the previous year), and even add a layer of historical comparison. Viewing your current traffic versus the same time a year ago can give you the context needed to determine how well your site is actually performing and meeting your goals for growth.
  • Customize the dashboard. Google provides a default dashboard with every GA installation, but it might not include all of the data that you’re interested in. Go through the different sections, find the piece you’d like to follow, and click “Add to Dashboard” in the menu bar. Or you can add pieces directly from the dashboard itself.
  • Use multiple dashboards. While a dashboard can provide plenty of data (up to 12 widgets) in a single view, there might be times when you want to quickly see another set of data points. You could have one dashboard to show last month’s traffic with sources. Another could show the same data, with a comparison to the previous year. Another could show those data just for paid search traffic, with additional widgets showing specific campaign metrics. Everyone has different uses for their analytics, and unique measures of success, so play around and create the perfect dashboards for you.

Here at SHERPA, we keep a close eye on all the websites we manage, and using dashboards helps us make sense of a lot of data in a short amount of time. In addition to the custom dashboards we use for each client, we have developed a custom dashboard we like to use to track the most important data points all in one place. If you’d like to check it out, we’d be happy to share it with you. Simply drop us a note, and we can send you a link that will add the dashboard to your site’s GA, so you can see your own data in the same tables and charts that we use.

We pride ourselves on our data-driven approach to design and strategy. We are certified Google Partners, and we love using a site’s analytics to shed light on what visitors like, what they’re looking for, and what can turn them into customers.


Rusty Parker

Rusty Parker

Rusty Parker is the director of data and analytics for SHERPA Global. He has a doctoral degree in Applied Sociology from Baylor University, with an emphasis on survey methodology and data analysis. He has led data collection projects for corporate, government, and nonprofit clients for more than 10 years.

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