Understanding the Basics of Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an amazing tool that provides valuable information about your website at your fingertips. The best part about is that it is FREE! In this article we introduce you to the basics of Google Analytics and the importance it can have on your website.
As a business owner you most likely fall into one of two categories:
- You have a website
- You wish you had a website
Within these 2 categories there are sub categories. If you have a website then you most likely fall into one of these three categories:
- You are proud of your website and regularly get compliments about how awesome it is.
- You are indifferent about your website. It’s decent, does the job but no wow factor.
- You are embarrassed about your website. It looks older than a Ford Pinto, or worse than a Yugo for that matter and you get nervous about the thought of people going to your website and judging your business by it.
As for those business owners who wish they had a website, do something about it. There are many affordable website options out there and with a little bit of effort you can have a shiny new Tesla of a website within days or weeks. Mom will be proud!
The audience I am directing this article to is the business owners in category one. If you don’t have a website, then you should do something about it and then read this article when your new site is about to go live.
So what is Google Analytics? Well to keep it simple, it is a free, yes FREE tool that gives you valuable, real-time information about your website, including:
- How many visitors are on your site in that very moment as well as their location
- The number of visitors to your website, including a break out of unique visitors during a specified period of time. A unique visitor is a visitor who has never visited your site during the selected date range.
- Bounce rate. This rate represents the percentage of visitors who leave your website (bounce off) after only viewing one page. The lower the bounce rate the better. Your bounce rate is a good indicator of how engaging your website is. If you have a high bounce rate, then you should consider some design and layout updates to your website. There is no exact science but as a rule of thumb, if your bounce rate is in the range of 20-35% that is excellent, 35-45% is good, 45-55% is average and anything over 55% deserves attention and if you are over 70% then you should give this immediate attention.
- Page views – When visitors are going to your site which secondary pages are they viewing. With this information you can know where to focus your online marketing and conversion efforts.
- Length of stay – Overall how long are visitors staying on your site and how long are they staying on your secondary pages.
- The source of your traffic – Google Analytics will tell you where your traffic is coming from. Much of your traffic will come directly as visitor’s type in the exact URL of your website. Other sources are the different search engines – Google, Yahoo, Bing. You may be getting traffic from top listing sites like Yelp, Insider Pages or Merchant Circle. Facebook might be a big source of traffic.
- Information about your visitors like the geographic location they are visiting from, which browsers they are coming in from, what percentage are coming from mobile devices, etc…. All of this data will help you understand your opportunities to increase your website conversions. With mobile search skyrocketing, what percentage of your visitors are coming from mobile devices?
- PPC Traffic and indicators – Analytics will sync with your Google Adwords campaign and give you valuable insight to how your campaign is doing and help you maintain a successful PPC campaign.
By no means is this an exhaustive list of all the information at your finger tips with Google Analytics but hopefully enough meat for you to see the immense value of having Google Analytics on your website.
To get Google Analytics on your website you will need a tracking code that contains a unique ID. You will install this code and/or ID in the backend of your website. If your website is on wordpress then this can be very easy to do. If your site is on Joomla, Drupal or if it is a custom HTML site, then you may need the help of your web developer to get your code and/or ID installed. When you create your code and unique ID make sure you do that with your gmail account. All too often we have seen businesses that have Google Analytics on their website but the code and unique ID were created on an employee or web developer’s gmail account. And in most of these cases the business owner has had to create and install a new Google Analytics account on their website, losing all of their valuable analytics history. Don’t make this mistake and make sure you create your Google Analytics account on a gmail account that you own and that you won’t lose.
Once the code and/or ID have been installed on your website you will immediately be able to login in to your Google Analytics account and start seeing real-time activity on your website. You will have a new playground to explore with a wealth of information about your website.