In website prehistory, before the days of Google Analytics, tracking the strength of your website’s design and it’s experience for users was nigh on impossible. Today, however, given the ability to identify how long a visitor stayed, where they navigated from, and the keywords and content that attracted them (or didn’t), it feels like you could even work out the colour of their socks or what they had for lunch. Basically, Google Analytics opens you up to a lot of very useful information.
It may feel a little overwhelming the data that will be readily available to you once you sign up, but fear not, this is where we break it down into the juicy bits that will go far in improving your small business’ website.
Bounce rates and visitor information
Keeping an eye on the experience users are having when visiting your website is obviously a key insight into the strength of your online presence. Analytics shows you who’s coming to your site, whether they’re a new visitor or not, the time spent on your site and individual pages, the length of time before a purchase or interaction with your business – with this information you can continuously optimise your website, cutting the dead weight and maximising performance.
For example, a term bandied around a lot is the ‘bounce rate’ of your website. As in “let’s bounce”, this literally refers to the number of visitors taking one look at your site and thinking “nah not for me” without going past one page. Obviously if this is a high rate alongside the average time spent on your website, then you probably need to make some changes.
The source of your traffic is another prized metric given to you by Analytics. Being able to differentiate between visitors from paid ads, branded search, direct type-in and organic searches gives you the insight you need to be tactical about where better traction is required and informs decisions over your expenditure on advertising and marketing tools.
Here we can also track the locations the traffic is arriving from, so you can compare how your site is being received between different geographical sources. Not getting the interest you expected in the Shetland Islands? Now you know where to focus for your next revision.
The metrics on any given page is the evidence you need to determine whether that page is satisfying the needs of your traffic or not. As mentioned earlier, if you’re seeing high bounce rates on certain pages, then your content and calls-to-action aren’t up to scratch. This is especially a problem if you’re paying for PPC (Pay Per Click) online marketing tools as you’ll be losing out on some dollar if people are arriving at your site via PPC, only to find the landing page not worth the stay.
This should urge you to perform some routine quality control on your website and keep your eyes on the prize. Exciting content, videos, a clear aim, obvious nudges to move past one page – all these things make the experience more enjoyable for the visitor, which should no doubt lead to more conversions.
Conversions are the aim of the game if you’re running an ecommerce site or selling services via your website, so you’re going to want to use Google Analytics to ensure you’re up to scratch. This wholly depends on your industry, size of business etc. So you can only judge your conversion rate on what your personal expectations are.
Combining this with the other metrics outlined in this post is a useful standard for how your website is functioning as a whole. Looking at your conversions next to bounce rates, time spent on specific pages and visitor’s navigation through your website will give you a pretty good idea of where some adjustments might be necessary.
By Oliver Roche
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