Understanding the Basics of Google Analytics
So you have established your website and are interested in tracking how well it performs. Google Analytics is an outstanding FREE program that can gather information and report all statistics that you would ever need to monitor your site’s activity. At its core, Google Analytics helps you understand what's working and what isn't. It gives you the insights you need to make changes so you can meet your performance goals. Here are a few important things to look for when searching through the Google Analytics reports from your website.
Who are your visitors and what are they looking at on your website?
Google Analytics allows you to obtain an in-depth look at who is visiting your site in many different ways.
Here you can see the age, gender and location of who is coming to your website. This information may be helpful to your business to determine a “target market” for your marketing efforts.
In this part of the report, you can see how many new vs. returning users are visiting your page. Ideally, you would like a balance of new and returning visitors to show both outreach and engagement. Of these visitors, you can see how many pages they visited during their session as well as how long their session on your website was.
Bounce rate is an important factor to keep in mind when viewing the number of people who visit your website. This rate is the percentage of single-page visitors on your website. Depending where you are sending your customers on your website, this number will vary. Typically, you would like to see this number as low as possible, unless you are sending people to a blog post (a higher bounce rate is okay for a blog post).
In this section, you can see what device your visitors are using to view your website. It is important to consider making your website mobile-friendly (if it is not already) to accommodate the ever growing usage of smartphones and tablets in today’s world.
Users Flow Chart
This chart is very helpful to understand what pages specifically customers are viewing on your website. It gives information about how they were directed to the site, the specific pages they are visiting along their “path” on your website, and what page they exited your website from. You can gain a vast amount of knowledge from this report that can help you boost the pages that are not performing as expected or pages that are producing a lot of exits.
Where are people coming to your website from?
The Acquisition Overview gives you a quick view of the top channels sending visitors to your website, as well as the associated acquisition, behavior and conversions details for each channel. We will take a closer look at the specific reports that encompass the acquisition section of Google Analytics below.
In the All Traffic section, you can view the specific channel of where your customers are finding your website from. Usually they will be categorized in one of these options:
- Organic search – Visitors find your website from searching Google.com or other search engines
- Direct – Visitors type in your company’s URL in the address bar
- Paid Search – Visitors find your website through one of your current Google Adwords campaigns or other paid search ad
- Referral – Visitors find your website from clicking on a link from another website
- Social – Visitors come to your website from a social network
This information is important because it can show what online channels your company excels at and what channels your company can improve on to generate leads to your website.
This section goes into great detail about how your Google Adwords are performing. Adwords is a fantastic way to market your company because you pay for results and you have real-time data available. In this report you can see which ad is being clicked on, your average cost-per-click, bounce rate and conversion rate. To learn more about Google Adwords, click here to read a previously written Farmore Marketing blog article related to this topic.
What do conversions mean to your website?
Ultimately, a conversion is engaging the visitors of your site to take whatever further action you find valuable. It can be getting users to sign-up for a newsletter, fill out a contact form, purchase a product or read a blog. The more engaged your visitors are, the more time they spend on your site. The more time they spend on your site, the more likely they are to feel connected to your brand. By keeping track of your conversions you will be able to find out which percentage of visitors are of value to you and generate revenue. You can use this information to set up an online advertising campaign or use it to further fine tune your website in order to increase your website's conversion rate.
Here are a few tips for improving your website’s conversion rates:
- Make your calls-to-action obvious
o It should be distinct what you want people to do once on your website. If you want people to call you, you shouldn’t have your phone number in 8pt font at the bottom of the page. Keep things simple.
- Follow the mud-tracks and adjust your site accordingly
o Arrange your content in a way that aligns with how visitors interact with your site. Make it easy for customers to find what they are looking for on your site.
There are many more in-depth reports and charts to look at using Google Analytics, but we have highlighted some of the key components to monitor. For any business, Google Analytics can be a very helpful tool to understand the traffic coming to and from your website and improving your online business.
About the Author
Director of Internet Marketing
Tyler comes to Farmore Marketing with multiple years of internet marketing experience across a variety of industries. He loves to play golf, the UConn Huskies and travel to new places!