In today’s digital landscape, just because you have a website and publish content doesn’t mean people will come to your site, let alone engage or convert as a new customer. Your website should evolve and be fueled by data mined from your own site visitors to make sure your site is consistently delivering what they need in the way they want to see it. Your most useful tool to do that? Google Analytics.
This is Google’s flagship, free, website stats program. Setting up analytics for your business website is pretty easy and straightforward. Go to the Google Analytics (GA) sign up page and enter your website domain. Google takes you through a series of steps and ultimately gives you a section of website code your web designer needs to add to your site.
The amount of information that Google Analytics delivers about your website can be overwhelming to new users. Analytics can offer insight into everything ranging from who visited, the paths they took, content digested, time on page, time on site, where they live, how they found you, keywords used, and more … just to name a few.
Here are some useful tips to make sure your analytics are a powerful source of information for your business.
Set Up Website Goals
For every visitor who comes to your site, you want to define an action or activity as a target objective. Setting up goals- which are defined as a completed activity or conversion- will allow you to define and measure success. Goals can range from filling out the contact form and submitting it, to how many pages/screens a visitor views in a session to duration or time spent on site. You can have multiple goals and even assign monetary values to them to help calculate revenue data. You should have at least one goal- but be choosy. Analytics only allows 5 sets of goals, each set containing 5 goals. A goal helps you measure whether your site is performing and meeting a key business-related objective.
Analytics can provide a wealth of information on the people visiting and interacting with your site. Some useful information includes:
Demographics – In the visitors section you can learn where your audience is located, country, state and city. Once you know the specific locations that bring visitors with the most conversions, you can target these locations with ads. It’ll also show you potential places to expand.
How visitors arrived on your site – Knowing the main sources of traffic to your site will help shape your distribution and promotion outlets, especially on social media channels. This area is telling you where the visitors were at immediately before coming to your site. So if you are sharing new blog posts from your website to Facebook, you should see traffic coming directly from Facebook to your site.
The page visitors enter your site – This shows you how well your site is optimized. For example, if most traffic is entering through an alternative landing page – such as a testimonials page – you may have to re-optimize your homepage. It’s also showing you potentially what is most interesting on your site to your visitors.
Analyze Site Content
Defining success for your site and knowing your audience are important stepping stones in making your web strategy as effective as possible. Another important step is knowing, once your visitor arrives, what content is keeping them on the site, being consumed, and being shared. Analytics will provide many useful metrics – including bounce rate, time on page, entrances, and page views – to demonstrate which pages visitors are viewing the most. Then you can create similar pages supporting the topics they care about. As visitors habits and needs change, it is important to check your content reports on a regular basis to maintain a fresh strategy.
Google Analytics is an extremely powerful way for businesses to set themselves up for success and understand their user demographics and behaviors. This data is essential in creating a site experience designed to maximize conversions and to leverage this data across many marketing channels for further success.
Are you using Google Analytics? What metrics do you check and watch?
Akin is the author of the book "THE INTERNET: a town square for the global village.
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