If you have a business website, Google Analytics (GA) is a free service that is invaluable for giving you insights into how visitors find your site, and how they behave once they are using it. It’s a tool for tracking and optimising your online marketing ROI (return on investment).
When you’ve spent time, effort and money in setting up a website, it’s a waste to leave it languishing in cyberspace in the hope it will be found and appreciated organically by potential customers. Even if you have good SEO and social media in play to drive visitors to the site, a static, neglected website will simply mean those users bounce away. A website should be constantly evolving and kept up to date, so as to meet the requirements of the users and drive them down the conversion funnel.
This is where Google Analytics comes in. By using it to collect and measure the volume and activities of your website visitors you can gather a wealth of information that will help you keep your website current, attractive and functional, maximising its efficiency.
For some the word “analytics” sounds a little intimidating, but don’t be put off giving it a go. You’ll find GA extremely easy to use, and your confidence will increase as you delve further into the available features of the service.
The best way to learn how to use GA is from Google itself! It’s easy to get started by following the video tutorial (text transcript available) for GA beginners on the online Google Analytics Academy.
HOW DOES GOOGLE ANALYTICS GATHER DATA?
Once you’ve installed GA on your website, you will be able to access the GA dashboard, showcasing tabs that lead you to a host of useful data, like how many people visited your site in a specific time period, the countries they came from, how long they stayed, how they were directed to your site, your most popular website pages, what device they were using, etc. etc.
This information is not only very interesting to uncover, but also gives you insight as to what is working and what is not on your website. The data can be turned into decisions to be actioned to improve not only your website traffic, but also that all-important conversion rate.
EXAMPLES OF HOW DATA CAN BE TURNED INTO DECISIONS
- Site usage statistics aren’t just for telling you how many visitors your site had, but crucially demonstrate user engagement. Bounce rates (single page visits that leave within seconds) and the average time spent on the site, for example, are indicators of how compelling or relevant users are finding your content to be. As a benchmark, it’s recommended the bounce rate not exceed 30% and you should strive to keep visitors on site for at least three minutes on average. If your site is not performing well on this front you can consider why, and try out different approaches to improve the situation.
- Determine the sources of your referred website traffic. If you receive traffic from other websites you can gain from forming a relationship with them, or advertising on their sites. If much of your traffic comes from search engines delve further into your traffic sources to find the top keywords that are sending visitors to your site, and make sure your website content targets those keywords, phrases or even topics. If you have loads of traffic coming from your social media accounts, or Google AdWords campaigns, then it makes sense to prioritise building your platforms.
- The content section of the GA dashboard allows you to view the top content (top ten most visited pages) on your website, which is a pointer to the fact that if certain content is popular, you should add more similar content going forward.
Analysing your website in this way is not just a one-off. You need to constantly monitor GA to keep on top of how your audience is reacting to your website, reacting and implementing changes when and where necessary to improve performance.
There is no doubt that GA has plenty to offer to inform your digital marketing strategy. To make it easy, Dentons Digital data experts can set up your Google Analytics account and even monitor it on your behalf, giving you regular reports. Speak to us about implementing a bespoke digital marketing package to grow your business.