An Introduction to Google Analytics
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for measuring the performance of your website. It's one of the many services in Google's repertoire of online web tools designed to help you improve your standing on the internet and increase traffic to your website. Other tools in the same family include Webmaster Tools and Google Adwords.
Analytics' main function is to measure the number of visits to your website, not only providing you with the number of visitors your website gets each day but a whole range of other statistics such as traffic sources, visitor locations, page views, keywords, visitor frequency and e-commerce conversion rates.
And it's free!
Number Of Visitors
Do you know how many visits your website has had and does this figure match your expectations? Google Analytics tracks not only how many visitors you have had but updates this figure on a daily basis - all shown in a easy-to-read graph. You can even delve deeper to see what time of day these users visited your site.
Once you know how many visitors you have on your website you can easily track the effects of your efforts to improve traffic.
How do people find your website? Did you appear in their search engine results, did they click a link through to your site from another website (referring websites) or did they type in your web address to reach your website directly?
Analytics can tell you how many visits you have had through search engines as well as which search engines are being used - Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
You can also see which websites have links visitors are clicking to reach your website; is anyone clicking through from your advert on Yell.com? Are the links you've added to online directories paying off?
Direct visitors know your web address and have typed this into the address bar in their internet browsers. But where did they find your web address? Most commonly this is through offline media such as magazine advertisements or posters.
Knowing how people find your website is very valuable. If no one is finding your website through search engines you'll know you have to invest in this area, the same applies to referring sites and offline media.
'Keywords' is an umbrella term for the words or phrases internet users type into search engines. You can target specific keywords by including them in your website in the hope that your website is one of the search engine results when someone uses them as their search term.
When someone accesses your website from a search engine Google Analytics notes the keywords the visitor used. These are extremely useful to know: you can see if you are actually being found under the keywords you have targeted - if you are not, you know that these keywords require more attention and investment. It can also be useful to know the other keywords you are found under - there may be some terms that you have not considered but are providing a good amount of traffic.
All over the world people have internet access and the location of some of your visitors may surprise you!
If you are targeting your local area it is good to know whether this is actually the location you are receiving visitors from. For example, if you are selling services to the London area, your website is no use to someone in Australia.
Conversely, if you are selling all over the country but the majority of your visits are from one location, there is clearly a market for your products in that area.
Do the majority of your visitors only visit your website once? A great website is one that people want to visit again and again.
One of Analytics' great features is the Visitor Loyalty chart - showing how many people have visited your website once, twice or multiple times. If you have a low level of loyalty perhaps you could consider incentives, such as customer discounts, to encourage repeat custom. New products and regularly updated content is also a great way to entice visitors back in the future.
There's no point in having excellently written content and beautifully presented pages if nobody is viewing them.
Analytics not only allows you to see how many people visit your website but which pages get the most visitors too. Which pages of your site do your visitors view the most? And how long do they spend on each page?
You can then use this information to improve the rest of your website by considering what is different in your most-viewed pages compared to the rest of your site.
This is a particularly excellent feature for e-commerce websites - websites that sell products online. By integrating Google Analytics with your e-commerce software you can find out what percentage of your visitors actually go on to make a purchase from your website.
If the e-commerce conversion rate is low then you know something is going awry between the visitor landing on your website and making the decision to purchase from you.
How do I get Google Analytics?
We can integrate Analytics very quickly and easily. The cost is minimal - Google Analytics is a free service provided by Google and we will only charge for the time it takes to set up your account, which could be as little as half an hour.