Using Google Analytics to get more from your site.
Added on Monday 23rd September 2013 at 17:23pm
One of the wonderful things about the web is how easy and quickly you can adapt. Given that I'm a terible spellor (see), this is really important to me.
Aside from fixing silly spelling mistakes however, is the opportunity to refine your message, create journeys and channel visits into leads converting to business.
Google Analytics can really help you here. Spending a few minutes each month, week or day (if you're keen) looking at how visitors get to your site, what they do whilst they're there and whether or not your site has engaged them is a brilliant use of your time.
Initially, the list of things you can do may seem quite imposing, but once you find your way, pulling out the most important data becomes a breeze. You can even create multiple dashboards that help you report even faster. It's free too, but its powerful! So if you were wondering which keywords or phrases resonate with visitors or you need an insight on what design elements might be turning people away, then Analytics is your friend.
What You Can Measure
Once you're logged in (if you don't have an account its pretty simply to create one) you'll see the various types of data Google Analytics provides you:
Visitors: Basically this shows many things about the people coming to your site, where they're located, what language they speak, how often they visit your site and what computers and browsers they use to get there. If you're getting lots of traffic from China for example, investigate why this is and create a strategy conduct business there - if its profitable of course.
Traffic Sources: This shows you how people got to your site. You can track which sites link to your page or keywords people search to find you.
Content: This section gives you an insight into specific pages on your site. It can help answer questions about how people enter and exit your pages, as well as which ones are most popular. If certain pages get very few visits - then adapt your site to drive more traffic there. Amending the homepage carousel for example could open up new leads.
Goals: If you're looking for established objectives, such as a purchase, reports in the Goals tab will be helpful to you. You can configure lots of different goals, from visits to a particular page or enquiries through your contact form.
Ecommerce: You'll only need this tab if you're selling items on your site and even then, it may require additional functionality adding to your site to track product codes/SKU's etc.
All of these tabs contain subreports that provide further insights about specific aspects of your site, including top content and visitor loyalty, visitor recency and more.
The information you choose to track depends on what curiosities you want to answer. Understanding which keyword searches people use can help a site with text-heavy content to boost search rankings, whilst knowing which products convert best can inspire ecommerce sites to increase visibility of these items.
At any time, if you're unsure of what a specific measurement or report means, click the question mark next to it and answers will appear. Like magic, but less entertaining.
Once you've got the hang of navigating around the tabs and creating dashboards you'll then want to start generating and sharing reports. PDF's can be emailed or simply downloaded and you can then create a picture of how successful your strategies are or where you need to improve.
Do it Yourself
Now that we've broken down the basics, it's your turn to go for it. If you'd prefer us to do this for you, then of course we can help. Just let us know what you want to achieve and we'll work together to see that you do, but unlocking Google Analytics maybe the best thing you can do for your site!