A website is much more than just a website. It tells a story. It produces leads. It sells your products. Because of this, a website’s performance is not something to be taken lightly. But far too often businesses and marketers don’t have a clue as to how their websites are performing and how to improve them. These two initiatives are vital for the success of any company.
Google Analytics, a free site performance service, provides website owners with just that: helpful and actionable data about a website so you can make insightful improvements. But using Google Analytics without understanding the data of your website is like giving an 8 year old the keys to your car. It’s bound to be a disaster. To ensure this doesn’t happen, we hope to help you understand how to make the most out of Google Analytics.
IDENTIFY THE GOAL OF YOUR WEBSITE
Before Analytics can be used to gauge success for a business, a clear goal for the website must be thought out. Some businesses use their websites to generate leads or newsletter subscribers while others are looking to generate revenue from their products. Establishing clear goals will not only allow you to determine the success of your website, but measure it over time. Measurable goals can be tracked very easily in Google Analytics. A specific page view, visit duration, or pages per visit can all be tracked as a conversion for your site. Many of our clients choose to direct users to a thank you page after a completed conversion to measure a conversion more easily. This makes success measurable, which allows you to see trends over time.
LEARN ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE
Google Analytics allows you gain an insight as to who is visiting your site. For example, under the Audience reports, you are able to discover the demographic of your visitors and break down where users are visiting from all the way down to the city. You are also able to see how many users have visited from a mobile device. Knowing what percentage of your total traffic are mobile users can dictate how seriously you take your mobile presence on the web. The Keyword report allows you to get in the mind of the user, exploring which keywords visitors typed into search engines to find your website. By filtering out branded keywords, you are instantly able to see what general keywords you are showing up for in search. This information can help base your decisions on expanding certain areas of your site.
REALIZE WHERE TRAFFIC IS COMING FROM
Arguably the most important report that Google Analytics provides is the Traffic Sources report that lays out how users are reaching your site. Google displays whether they are directly typing in the URL (direct), being directed from another website (referral), or finding your website via search engines (search). Understanding this data is the foundation for any online marketing initiatives. For example, a small percentage of referral traffic may mean that you might want to explore building links on other websites, even expanding your social networks to gain more referral traffic.
UNDERSTAND YOUR MOST VISITED PAGES
The Content report gives you a sense of the performance of all the webpages on your site. Why is this so important? First, it may help many businesses realize which products are the most popular. Understanding your most visited webpages can help you determine which information to focus on and expand. It can also help determine which areas of the website to call out on your homepage. The Content reports also help identify which pages have the least amount of page views and the highest bounce rates (when a user visits and clicks back). This information can be used to improve poor performing webpages, turn them into something of value or eliminate them altogether.
The insights that Google Analytics provides are essential to make data-driven decisions for your business. It has the ability to give you simple data or focus on more complex and robust pieces of information that give you the tools you need to improve the performance of your website. Are you unfamiliar with Google Analytics? Do you want to understand how your website is performing? Whether you want to begin integrating your site with Google Analytics, understand how to implement your site’s goals, or simply learn more about how it works, let the team at Starkmedia help.