So, following on from last weeks blog post talking about the most important think with pay per click advertising, let’s have a look at Google Analytics…
What is Google Analytics?
It’s a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.
Why you need it…
If you have a website and no means of tracking what’s going on with it, you have no real idea of whether it’s working or if any changes you make have an effect. When I say working, I’m talking about business websites. A business website is there to work, to attract business.
Yes you can guesstimate that you got three enquiries this week, so they must have come through the website. But you don’t know that.
Google Analytics is really scary and I don’t understand it…
The exact reason why so many people, who have it installed, don’t use it. It seems complicated because it gives you so much information. Let’s break it down a bit and look at some really useful numbers…
I’m going to ignore the home page and go straight to Audience > Overview (on the right hand side of the screen). It should already be showing data from the last 7 days, but if you want to change the date period, it’s in the top right corner.
Ok, so back to Audience > Overview – Let’s look at the following:
Users – the number of people who have been on our website. The bigger the number the better!
Bounce Rate – shows the percentage of people who land on your website, then immediately click away without doing anything. It suggest that they haven’t found what they were expecting. It is an important number as it’s one of the metrics Google uses to score your website for ranking. Aim for 50% ish.
Avg. Session Duration – This is the average time someones on your website. It figures that the longer someone is on your website, the more interested they are in what you do and therefore follows that they are more likely to get in touch.
New vs Returning Visitors – (the pie chart on the right) can be useful, depending on what it is you do.
Let’s look at something further down…
Audience > Users Flow
This is great! What it’s showing you, in a weird cascading flow chart sort of way, is what people do on your website. You can trace through which pages they go to and in which order.
Ok, change of section.
Acquisition > Overview – A useful little pie chart and some graphs showing you where visitors actually come from, to get to your website. Useful to justify your efforts on social media.
Acquisition > Referrals – A list, in order, showing who is sending traffic to your website. Also shows if you’re being referred by spam sites.
Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages – The list at the bottom shows your web pages in order of most visited.
Behaviour > Landing Pages – Which page visitors to your website first land on. Normally the home page, but sometimes surprising as to where people are directed to. Also a quick way to see how individual ads are working, if using Facebook advertising and coding the individual ads. Also useful as it shows the bounce rate for individual pages. You can quickly see if a particular page click results in a high bounce rate.
Behaviour > Exit Pages – Which page do visitors leave your website from? Hopefully it’s the thank you page after they’ve completed an enquiry.
And finally, Conversions > Goals – The nitty gritty of how well your website is working. You need to set goals for Google Analytics to measure and this is where it reports back to you. I’d suggest you have at least the following goals:
Reach contact page – fairly obvious, but allows you to monitor how many people actually end up on your contact page.
Reach Thank you page – Again, obvious, but tells you how many then completed your contact form to arrive at your thank you page. Large differences between this goal and the previous one suggest there may be a problem with your contact form.
Google Analytics gathers a huge amount of data regarding your website and how visitors interact with it. If you want to delve deeper into some of the information, you can find out whether most people use their phone or desktop, which browser, where in the world they are, their age range, their shoe size and eye colour! (ok, I made ups the last two).
With this sort of information, you can monitor your website before and after making changes and see whether you are improving things or not. If you’ve written down somewhere the changes you’ve made, you’ll be able to undo things easily if it didn’t go the right way.
You can also make a big difference to the usability of your website and spot potential problems quickly.
Hopefully, if you read through the above, you will have picked up that monitoring is the key. Don’t just throw your money away on ads etc. that you don’t know if they worked or not.
Ok, Google Analytics and tracking website useage isn’t for everyone and some of you would much rather just get on with doing whatever it is you do. That’s why I offer maintenance and support packages to do this for you. Working with you to constantly improve things and help you grow your business. I don’t just build websites and let you get on with it!
Well, that’s it until next week.
If you have anything you’d like me to explain in a blog, drop me an email.
We build WordPress websites primarily for local businesses in the Oxfordshire area. If you’d like to get in touch to see how I can help your business to get on line or improve its online presence, then drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org