Google Analytics

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Google Analytics provides a vast wealth of information that you can use to understand who visits your website, how they get there and what they are looking for. The program answers questions including which parts of your marketing campaigns are effective, what are your most valuable customer segments, how to convert more visitors into customers, what are your best keywords and search terms and where people leave your website. Google Analytics is free for all but the largest websites (those with 10 million or more hits per month).

In turn, businesspeople use information provided by Google Analytics to improve their websites, Google adWords and other campaigns.

This article is about using Google Analytics to understand how traffic flows through your website. While it is not about Google adWords, much of this same information is dynamite when used to understand your adWords campaigns.

Basically you need to understand the purpose of your website — what you want people to do there — and how you will measure the success or failure of your website. Start with a broad goal, narrow the goal, ask how the goal can be measured, set triggers for determining whether you succeeded (or failed).

As an example, a high-end professional landscaper may have a broad goal of adding more business locations to their client list; it is about lead generation. A narrower (but offline) goal may be to make in-person presentations to twenty prospects, knowing that based on past experience four may become clients. Measuring this goal is easy: to generate enough email contacts from the website to get in front of twenty businesses that may need major or ongoing landscaping services. Triggers include getting emails from qualified businesses, measured by how many visitors land on an email Thank You page. This is a scenario that is (relatively) easy to grade afterward and to make changes to improve.

You will need a Google Account. To use the service, log in to Google Analytics, set up your account and grab your tracking code. Once the code is installed, Google Analytics collects information from visitors and processes that information into more than eighty reports that can you view in your Google Analytics Dashboard. A huge amount of information is available in reports. You may develop additional information with custom reports. Here is basic information for you to look at in a given time frame (the last 30 days is the default):

  • How many unique visitors to your website
  • How many times pages on your website have been viewed (pageviews)
  • How many pages people view on average
  • What percentage of users left after viewing only one page (bounce rate)
  • How long each user spent on your site (average time on site)
  • What percentage of your users did not visit your site before

Setting goals is integral to using Google Analytics well. Goals are pages that visitors reach when they have completed actions, so setting goals is the same thing as defining actions visitors take. You may also set up Funnel Paths, or pages you expect visitors to read through before reaching the goal pages. By setting Funnel Paths, you can later analyze where your website visitors bail out of becoming customers (or contacting you or whatever actions you want them to take) and attempt to increase the percentage who continue to the goal. Read A Beginner’s Guide To Setting Goals In Google Analytics.

This article provided basic information about a field complex and rich enough to be filled with specialists. For additional information, see Google’s help pages, various videos, blogs or forums. Find them by searching “Google Analytics tutorials”. For paid help with Google Analytics, contact us.