The Visitor Overview Report presents a snapshot of who is visiting you site and how long they are staying. It is essentially a beefed up hit counter that gives you a high level view of your site stats. But remember to drill down and compare date ranges to search out those useful insights.
Navigate to this report from the menu on the left.
From the visitor overview screen select the date range you want to view. The data displayed includes such things as visits, pageviews, time on site, and bounce rate.
For better insight use the date comparison feature and see how one time period is performing compared to a previous period.
Be sure to note that there is a difference between visit and visitor. Google Analytics measures both. A visit is the individual session initiated by the visitor, or person. If that visitor is inactive for 30 minutes or more or if they leave your site and return after 30 minutes their next session will be counted as a new visit but the same visitor. In the examples above 251,213 visitors made 327,057 visits to this site. Meaning some people came more than once.
Here are a few more definitions that will be helpful when viewing your reports:
Unique Visitors – Determined by cookies, this is the number of visitors that have not been to your site before. Keep in mind that things such as deleting cookies, using different computers or browsers and multiple people using the same computers can skew these numbers somewhat.
Pageviews – Each instance of the browser loading a page. For Google Analytics this is each time the tracking code is loaded by your browser.
Bounce Rate – A one-page visit. In other words, a visitor comes to your site, views one page, then leaves from the same page they landed on without going to any others.
Up Next: Visitor Reports – Benchmarking