Not a lot in life is free, except fresh air, good manners and Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that allows you to build a picture around who is visiting your site and what they’re doing while they’re on there.
How can Google Analytics help me?
Your website is at the core of your online presence, whether you’re operating a personal blog, a website for your business or an e-commerce store. Ideally, you want to see how successful your marketing efforts are at driving traffic to your site and how effectively your site is working to achieve your business goals.
If you’re running digital campaigns and directing people to your site, Google Analytics is a useful way of finding out which campaigns are working most effectively for you by bringing in the most site visitors.
What should I be most concerned with from day one?
There are so many questions you can answer with Google Analytics, but like the majority of people, you will be most concerned with the volume of traffic coming to your site.
Traffic volume can be a great indicator of success. You can monitor the number of visitors to your site over any given period. You can determine whether the number of visitors is increasing or decreasing. This can be an indicator of whether what you are doing is working well, or if you should start making some changes and correct your course. Another important metric is the bounce rate - this allows you to track the duration a visitor stays on your site.
Traffic reports you should know about
There are a couple of traffic reports that you should know about, these include ‘all pages’ and ‘all traffic’ reports.
The ‘all pages’ report will let you see which pages on your site are the most popular among your website visitors within a certain time period.
Your pages with the most traffic should be identified and optimised for conversions, while the pages with less traffic might indicate that some action has to be taken to update and improve the pages.
The ‘all traffic’ section can be found under the ‘Acquisition’ tab and allows you to dive into channels, treemaps, source/medium & referral reports.
These reports allow you to see where your website traffic is coming from, so you can identify where you are having the most success allowing you to place more of your efforts on the areas working most effectively for you.
The traffic source refers to the website from which people visited your site, e.g. if you posted a link from Facebook to your website, Facebook will be the source. If you see ‘direct’ reported, this means Google Analytics wasn’t able to determine the origin of your website traffic.
Traffic medium assigns a category to the traffic source, e.g. organic, social, paid search.
This refers to the marketing channels that are driving traffic to your site and is a grouping of several traffic sources with the same medium, e.g. organic search.
Referral traffic refers to the traffic that arrives on your site through another source, like through a link or another domain.
The treemap report gives you a visual of acquisition trends across channels so you can get a quick idea of your most and least successful channels in bringing in traffic.
To round up…
Google Analytics offers you a free way to get valuable insights about your website visitors, like where they come from and what pages they’re most interested in, giving you a better idea about what pages might need to be optimised, updated or improved.
While Google Analytics has the capacity to answer a plethora of questions for advanced users, beginners may be best to stick to a handful of basic stats that help to paint a picture of the performance of your website.
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