Track your websites performance with Google Analytics


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Understand where your website traffic is coming from.

So, you've started your small business, built a website and are paying for some Adwords. How are you going to measure how well your advertising campaigns work? There are a number of analytics packages out there in the market place. Some are paid and some are free. Regardless of which package you use to track your visitors you should at least be using one of them. Our suggestion would be to start with a package like Google Analytics and then see if it delivers what you need.

The first great thing to note about GA is that it is free to use. Secondly, as it is provided by Google, it integrates well with a number of other Google products.

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So, what does it do?

 

Google Analytics gathers information about people who visit your website. When you install GA you place a small bit of HTML code into the header of each page on your website (if you have a CMS like Wordpress then you will probably just have one spot to place this code). Once the code is in place, GA will track where people have come from, what pages they visit, how long they spend on each of the pages and which pages they exit from.

With GA you will be able to differentiate between paid and organic traffic, track the effectiveness of different types of advertising campaigns and build a demographic profile of the different types of visitors that you have coming to your site. With GA it is also very easy to see if there is an issue in respect to the sites performance or if it has been penalised by Google or one of the other search engines.

So how can you use GA to improve your business?

 

With GA you can define different events that happen on your website, ie, when a visitor enters their details into a form or when a visitor makes a purchase from an online shop. You can then link other Google software like Google Adwords and Google Webmaster tools to your GA account so that you can drill down on specific keywords to see which ones actually lead to a desired outcome.

Once you have your events in place and your other Google products linked you will be able to identify which words are actually worth spending money on. You will be able to see how many times you achieve your desired outcome with each word and how much it costs you. If you know your average profit per customer you should then be able to work out what the ROI is for each of your targeted keywords.

GA allows you to fine tune the different channels that generate your traffic. For example, you may see that social media traffic has a really poor level of engagement (high bounce rate and not much time on site) which may prompt you to look at aligning your main site and social media sites better.

Why should I be tracking my stats?

  • Lot's of people simply put a website up on the internet and then leave it to generate leads. Unfortunately, if it is not generating leads you will have no idea as to where it is going wrong. Just by adding that small amount of code into your site you open up a whole new world of information.
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  • As a small business owner you need to understand who your customer actually is. If your website is targeting people aged 18 to 25 but the people who are actually interacting with your website are 35 then you might need to make some changes to better target visitors.
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  • We live in a digital age and building a profitable and competitive business requires knowledge of your marketplace, your customer and your product. Information and data provided by the visitors to your website helps to build this knowledge.
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  • Mistakes can be costly. If you are running an advertising campaign and it is not delivering then you need to know. Similarly, if you are running a campaign and it is extremely successful then you need to be able to identify quickly the components of that campaign that are contributing to it's success.
 

Running a website without an analytics package installed is like flying an aeroplane in the dark without and radar. You have limited visibility and could crash at any time. Analytics allows you to fine tune your business and product offering and effectively target your customers.

Should I manage it myself?

 

If you have an interest in statistics and are good with computers then there is no reason why you couldn't try managing it yourself. It may still be an idea to get an expert to take you through the basics and what you should be looking for.

 

Is it difficult to install?

If you have a good understanding of websites then you can probably install it yourself. If you don't feel particularly confident then your web designer should be able to install GA in around an hour.

 

What are it's limitations?

GA works very well with Google products but does not work as well with other search engines or with Facebook etc. Also, there is a limit to the granularity. With GA you can't drill down to IP address on specific visitors.

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