If you’re not using Google Analytics on your website, you should be. Particularly if you’re on a budget. Say what you will about Google amassing information about your website and how it’s used by visitors, the value Google Analytics provides at zero cost makes it the most attractive option on the market.

Here’s the thing, though. Far too many people use the default reports provided by Google. While there’s plenty of information to be gleaned from the canned dashboard and prepared views, you’ll get even more meaningful information if you take the time to dig into Secondary Dimensions, goals (even if you’re not tracking sales) and Advanced Segments to name a few.

Admittedly, I ony learned about Advanced Segments recently. Which proves, there’s always something to learn to make the tools you already have provide more value to you (see the video on Advanced Segments, below).

Advanced Segments allow you to organize and view site traffic by specific criteria. In addition to a collection of default segments, Google allows you to create your own. I have Advanced Segments to help me understand how people with smartphones use my site, who came to my site based on specific search terms (e.g. involving the words digital and public affairs) and who was directed to my site from a social media service. Suddenly those default reports, and custom reports I’ve created, are even more meaningful.

As one final bonus, Google makes it possible for Analytics users to share the configuration information for their Advanced Segments. That is, I can share the configuration parameters I use on my Analytics account without sharing the data in my account. Don’t worry, I won’t see your data, either.

So, here are a few of my Advanced Segments for you. Simply click on the links and you will have the option of importing the settings to your own account. If you have any to share, please add them to the comments of this post.

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