A Beginner’s Guide to Website Analytics
As a marketer, I live on Google Analytics. I’m not ashamed of it! The tool is free and there’s nothing better to help you focus your efforts and make the most out of limited time and resources.
Now, if you’re a business owner… you have a website, right? If not, please stop reading this post and instead read this one: Building your Website: What you Need to Know.
If you’re still reading, that means you have a functioning website.
Now… let me ask you:
Where do your website visitors come from?
How much time do they actually spend on your site?
What pages do they visit the most? Why?
Unable to answer these questions?
You’re not the only one.
In fact, you’re probably asking yourself how you could possibly ever know what people are doing from the privacy of their computers!
Allow me to rock your world.
What are Analytics?
When you use your website analytics (let’s just assume you’ll all be using Google Analytics), Google keeps track of a whole lot of information about your website visitors. Think about how you would change your marketing strategies if you knew this information about your visitors:
- Their age, gender, geographical location;
- The type of browser they’re using and the device they’re on;
- How they got to your site in the first place;
- The amount of time they spend on each page;
- The website pages where they leave your site;
- You get the idea…
Here’s the thing: Google already has all this information about your visitors, and it’s more than happy to give it to you for FREE! All you have to do is create an account on Google Analytics, and then add a snippet of code to your website.
How you’ll use Analytics
Let’s assume you’ve already set up your analytics account. Allow me to run you through some of the basic tools you’ll use, and how they can be beneficial to your small business.
The audience tab in analytics gives you information about the type of user visiting your site, including their location, type of device they’re using, and the time of day they’re visiting your site (hint: that’s also a good metric for the time of day you should post to social media!).
Under the audience tab, you’ll also find a great sub-header for “interests”. This shows you what your users are following besides your site. You might find that a lot of your online visitors are also movie lovers, shopaholics, beauty mavens, aspiring chefs… this is great insight for the type of marketing that might appeal to your audience!
One of my favorite Analytics report is the Users Flow report. This is where you can see the most popular visitor flow on your website, including where they drop off. If you can find a pattern, you can start to modify your site accordingly to try and keep them around longer!
The Acquisition tab lets you know which of your online marketing efforts are most effective by tracking how your visitors are getting to your website. Maybe they’re coming to your site from Google Organic… maybe you’re paying for those visits through PPC channels. Maybe your Facebook page is the most useful in getting visitors!
Once you understand where your visitors are coming from, you can choose one of two courses of action:
- Invest in the winning horse: If you already have a channel that’s outperforming the others by a mile, you might want to invest more time and money in this channel and make it even more successful.
- Harvest the low-hanging fruit: If some channels are under-preforming, you can invest your time and cash on making changes to these channels to drive up those numbers.
You can use the behavior tab to find out the most popular and most problematic pages on your website. On this tab, you can drill down how the content on your site is performing.
Is there a page that gets tons more traffic than any other? Ask yourself why that is and try to make more pages like it!
Is there a page that has a higher exit rate than any other? Ask yourself why people choose to exit your site on that page. Maybe you can make small changes to that one page that will help reduce your exit rate.
It’s your turn!
So… what are you waiting for?
Even if you look at your analytics once a month… it’s worth having them set up! I know it’s incredibly intimidating especially when you’re first starting out… but don’t let that stop you. There are a million things that you can do with analytics, but if you just focus on the three main tabs that I discussed today, you’ll be miles ahead of the curve in a very short amount of time.