Getting More from Your Website Analytics: Using the Online Dashboard

Content Author:
Hannah Schultes
Website Analytics Online Dashboard

Content editors of websites supported by the CALS/LAS web team can opt-in to receive a website analytics summary by email each month. This PDF report gives a high-level overview of the traffic on your website, how much, where it comes from, how much time visitors spend there, and more.  See our previous blog post describing that report:

Understanding Your Monthly Analytics Report

But what happens when you have further questions beyond what the PDF report provides? 

  • How many pageviews did your research findings ("/page-xyz" on your website) get this year? How does that number compare to last year?
  • If most of your traffic comes from search engines, what keywords are the visitors searching to find you?
  • What are the most popular hot spots on my homepage?

Access to the Matomo analytics dashboard can help you gain insights into these questions and more. In this blog post we'll introduce the dashboard and then walk through the answers to each of the above questions step-by-step.

The Basics

Accessing the Dashboard

Begin by emailing to request access to the online dashboard. We'll check with your website admin, and if approved, you can log in with your Iowa State University netID at 

Upon logging in, you'll land on the default dashboard. This dashboard features a visits overview, pages overview, audience device type summary, referral summary featuring where your visitors come from, a list of recent downloads from your website, and web keywords (search terms) that your website is ranking for in Google. 

Matomo Default Dashboard

Data Selectors

The data selectors are found across the top of your dashboard and allow you to narrow your data search for any of the reports. 

data selectors toolbar, 1 search bar, 2 date selector, and 3 segment selector

Use the 1 search box to find specific reports, the 2 date selector to specify the relevant time period and compare periods, and the 3 segment selector to refine your data by smaller audience groups. A segment focuses on one part of your website traffic, such as all those coming from a geographic region. You can even create your own audience segments as needed.

For example, create a segment for all your website traffic from search engines. By creating and selecting this segment, you get a better idea about the lifecycle of visitors who come to your website from search. You can use these insights to optimize the experience of these visitors. 

New segment creation
New segment for traffic from search.

You may manage a specific part of the website and only want to see the data for those pages. Set up a segment to only include the URLs you manage and select that segment each time you log in.

creating new segment with specific pages
New segment for traffic to specific pages.

Learn more about the data selectors from Matomo

Reporting Menu

The menu along the left side of your dashboard is your main navigation for the various analytics reports. Our team has created a generic Dashboard that is the default landing page you see after logging in. Learn more trends from the people visiting your site in the Visitors reports. See what actions visitors take and how people leave your site from the Behaviour reports. Acquisition reports break down where your website traffic comes from. Use these reports to analyze your marketing efforts and determine the best ways to reach your audience. GoalsHeatmaps, and Session Recordings are all reports that must be configured by our team. Contact to learn more about these features.

reporting menu

Notable Reports


How many pageviews did your research findings ("/page-xyz" on your website) get this year? How does that number compare to last year?

To review analytics for specific pages, navigate to the Pages report by clicking Behaviour>Pages. Set the date using the date selector. Scroll to the bottom of the table and locate the search bar. Type in the tail-end of the URL beginning with the first forward slash (e.g. If your URL is…, type /post/getting-more-your-website-analytics-using-online-dashboard). Remember to use your date data selector if you want to compare results from a different period.

pages report

Search Keywords

If most of your traffic comes from search engines, what keywords are the visitors searching to find you?

Keyword reports are found by clicking Acquisition>Search Engines & Keywords. Set the date using the date selector. The Search Engines table will tell you which search engines your traffic is coming from, most likely with Google leading the way. Web keywords on Google is the other notable table on this dashboard. This table gives you the keyword searched, the number of clicks it got bringing traffic directly to your website, the number of impressions or times it was viewed on a search result page, the click through rate (CTR) which is the percent of people who saw your web page in search results and actually clicked on it, and the average (AVG.) position your website was ranked on the search result page. 

keyword report


What are the most popular hot spots on my homepage?

If you are looking for a more dialed-in report about what your web traffic is doing on your website, consider requesting a heatmap. Reach out to with the page you are hoping to analyze. We'll configure the heatmap and you can periodically review the report for results. Heatmaps are a great way to determine if your page layouts are effective for visitors completing goals on your website. 

department of statistics homepage heatmap


Review more information about Matomo and the reports available on the online dashboard.

If you have additional questions about analytics and the online dashboard, reach out to the CALS/LAS web team at We are happy to help!