Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Benefits of Google Analytics


So you want to start learning what gets your website hits and what doesn’t. A great way to study your website and marketing success (based on the visitors you receive, how you receive them and when) is to integrate Google Analytics with your website. All you have to do is ask your web developer to sign you up and copy and paste the appropriate code into your web page and Google begins collecting stats on your visitors, how they found you, what they looked at, and so so so much more. To top it, Google Analytics is a free tool.

What you learn from Analytics

Google Analytics isn’t just a reason to go look at charts and say “OOO! 345 people visited our website in the last month!” It’s important to understand WHY, WHEN and WHERE those 345 people were on your website and HOW they got there.

The reason to keep track of website statistics is to learn what helped your website receive more traffic, what was beneficial to your business and what tactics have little to no benefit. You can also learn if your website is not leading your visitors to the right information; maybe visitors are looking at your Home and About Us pages, but not making it to the Services page. This means they are leaving before they really learn what you do! Maybe your site needs to be reworded, laid out differently or reduced in size (number of pages). Is your search engine optimization (SEO) doing its job? If your target audience is geographically local and you are in Baltimore Maryland and 50% of your visitors are from Alaska, maybe you need to refine your keywords and content.

If you do not understand how to read your analytics, pay close attention to your advertising. When you send a press release to your newspaper contacts, update your website, send out your monthly newsletter, place an ad in the paper or community pamphlet, or anything that could get your business information into the hands of potential clients, check out your Google Analytics reports. Hopefully you will see an increased number of visitors on those related dates. If your advertising is intended to increase your website traffic and your number of visitors has not increased, you may be putting effort into the wrong methods.

If you are not receiving an increased number of visitors, try to resolve the problem. Ask your web developer to take a look at your website and provide feedback on areas in which SEO can be improved. If you aren’t sure about your web developer, ask a different company for an hour or so of their time and make sure your website is up-to-date and all it can be. One billable hour is not going to drain your wallet - a website that doesn’t get you any business will. The other thing to check is that you are marketing your website in your print material and your emails. Give your clients and potential clients a reason to go to your website and make it convenient. If you developed your printed material yourself, consider having a professional take a look.

What does Google Analytics Collect?

• # of Pages Viewed
• % of Bounce Rate (people who clicked to view your website and immediately left)
• Average Time on website total and by page
• # of Visitors Geographically by Country, State and City
• Traffic Sources (how people have found you and where they found you)
• ... there’s a lot more and each of the features listed above are broken down in to dozens and dozens of categories and sections.

Following is a screen shot of Google Analytics reports. This is what the dashboard (or home page) of your account would look like. To the left you can delve into further detail (Visitors, Traffic Sources, Content, etc.).


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