One of the most important tools you can add to a website to examine your online health is to install Website Analytics. Measuring how customers interact with your website will prove invaluable. Google offers an Analytics Tool that is FREE of charge, one of the many gifts offered to you by your friends at Google. For most Small and Medium sized business owners, the data displayed with Google Analytics will be sufficient. More advanced analytical tools are available at a cost.
How do I begin? Quite simply, you need to head to Google Analytics to open an account. The process is painless and the knowledge your visitors are already sharing with you through their online behavior is priceless. Your web administrator can add the code as instructed or most business owners can do this installation themselves.
Once installed, web tracking will start within 24-48 hours. I recommend setting some baseline objectives and goals and these can always be adjusted as you gain in your comfort level with this analytical resource. As you may have discovered, Google has answers to the most common questions at your finger tips. The Google Analytics Blog and Google’s Learning Center will also provide you with many useful tips and insights to get the most out of your experience.
What do you want visitors to do once they land on your site? Make a purchase, download something, complete a contact us form or call you on the phone? Google Analytics allows you to “tag” the pages where these events occur and track them as conversions so you can determine if you’re meeting your goals. This new found knowledge will help you to make more intelligent business decision that can dramatically effect future growth of your business. Making tough decisions based upon personal preference alone may not benefit the overall business.
You will also discover where your web visitors are …coming from, going to…, the time they spend on each page, are they new to the site or returning clients, etc. This information will allow you to adjust your marketing dollars accordingly or decide where to strengthen the conversion capabilities for the weaker performing pages.
Define your target pages for the goal, give it a name and a measurable value, and off you go! There are Funnel options that help you understand the path users follow at the bottom of the goal settings page.
You will discover great reporting tools with Google Analytics. Most reports will have a small “Add to Dashboard” button in the upper left. If you findyourself looking at a specific report a lot, click this button to add it to your front-page dashboard for quicker access. Some of the reports you will find most valuable are:
Always start with your Goals – Overview Report: This will tell you how well your site is doing at meeting your original objectives This report is until you define and set up your goals ahead of time. Traffic Sources – All Traffic Sources: This report breaks down site traffic by source (e.g. Google, direct, referring sites, etc.) and medium (organic, referral, PPC,). It will give you excellent statistics on where your site traffic is coming from, and which sources/mediums are trending up or down.
I love the Top Content Report: This tells you which sections or pages of your site are the most popular. You can learn a lot about your site from behavioral patterns that develop from this report.
As you can see, there is a wealth of good useful information available and it is FREE for you to leverage while benefiting the entire web community. Remember, the common goal is to improve the customer’s experience and perhaps add some dollars to your company’s cash flow with new customers.