At the top of each report you’ll see an ‘Add to Dashboard’ button. Simply click the button and GA will add the report to your dashboard. I’m not sure if there is a limit to the number of reports that can be added to the dashboard, but I would not add more than 6 or 7. Remember, the primary purpose of the dashboard is to provide a high level view of your website’s health. If you see something unusual in your dashboard then you should investigate further.
Customizing Dashboard Layout
The dashboard is not static, meaning you can re-arrange the layout of the reports. Simply drag and drop the reports on your dashboard as you would a widget on your Google Homepage (aka iGoogle). Just place the mouse pointer over the report header and it will turn into a hand. Then click and drag!
Dashboards: A Recommendation
When using your dashboard I recommend comparing two date ranges. The reason is that looking at the data, without any historical context, is useless. For example, if your dashboard reports that your conversion rate was 5% for the last week what would you think? You wouldn’t know what to think because you don’t know if 5% is good or bad. Adding a date comparison shows how the data has changed over time. The only downside of date comparison and dashboards is that Google Analytics will not remember if you applied a date comparison to the dashboard This means that every time you log in you’ll need to reapply the dates you want to compare.
Automated Dashboard Delivery
Another cool feature of the new Custom Dashboards is the ability to have your dashboard EMAILED to you at a regularly scheduled interval (you can read more about the emailed reports, and how to set them up, here). You no longer need to log into GA to check your stats. Just have your dashboard emailed to you every morning. And, when you schedule your emailed dashboard, you can specify that Google Analytics includes a date comparison. So, if you receive your dashboard weekly Google Analytics will compare the last two weeks of data.
Creating Your Own Dashboard: Where to Start
Start by identifying the KPIs vital to your business. Then, find the reports that contain those KPIs and add them to the dashboard. If you’re still having trouble go out and get a copy of Eric Peterson’s book, The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators. Chapter four lists the best KPIs for the four main business models:
If people still need some help I’ll post some dashboard suggestions later. Just leave a comment if you’re interested.