Imagine your website as a brick and mortar store. You’ll have people come in and browse your products and some who eventually purchase them. Wouldn’t it be great to have the facts and numbers to find out how many people visited your store this month and how many of those people purchased something? Wouldn’t it also be great to know which day of the week is your worst performing day so that you can do something about it? Using the data that you’ve gathered, you can respond to your weak points and boost your strong points to propel your business forward.
Google Analytics to the Rescue
Luckily for us, Google Analytics records important visitor information relatively pain free. Google Analytics is a free tool provided to us by the all mighty Google which helps us track visitors who visit our sites. Using Google Analytics (which will now be referred to as “analytics”), we can read into visitor behavior to better optimize our site. This in turn will lead to higher traffic and/or conversions which means more business!
It can get a little confusing reading into all the data, but we at Cranium Creations live in this stuff. We have a few websites that we monitor almost daily in order to respond to any changes in user behavior and to make optimizations where needed.
We would like to fill you in on what you need to know to get analytics on your site and how to use it. Using this knowledge, you can see what optimizations you can make for your website leading to more business for you.
Getting Google Analytics on Your Website
In order to use analytics, you need an account with Google. Once you have an account with Google head over to Google Analytics and sign up for the service. Follow the sign up process and fill in the information about you and your website to the best of your ability.
Once complete, you should now have access to your analytics tracking code for your website. This is a piece of code that you must put on every page of your website. Ideally, you want to put it at the bottom of your code right before your </body> tag. If you’re unsure of how to do this, it’s best you consult someone who knows how so they can help you out.
This piece of code is used by analytics to track your visitors. It’ll report data to analytics which you can see on your analytics dashboard. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for your website data to be passed to analytics.
Keeping Your Eye on the Ball, The Google Analytics Dashboard
After a few days, analytics will start reporting data it receives from your website. There will be a lot of information presented to you, but I would like to point out the important details you should focus on just to get started.
Let me first start by telling you the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) you should be focusing on. You will use these KPI to judge the behavior of the users on your site to determine their pain points and what they like about your website.
On the analytics dashboard, users are your unique visitors. Unique visitors are considered each individual user (often a single computer). Increasing the number of users is like increasing your potential number of clients. Get this number as high as you can!
A session is simply a visit or a period of time that a user is on your site. It’s similar to when a person comes in and visits your physical store for a while and then leaves. That would be considered a session. A user can have multiple sessions. In general, you want this number to be high as as well because it increases the number of times for a potential sale.
Pages Per Session
Pages per session show how many pages a user typically visits per session. This can be used to gauge interest in your site. In general, the more pages per session the more engaged your users are in your content. This means they’re taking the time to browse through your website.
Average Session Duration
The average session duration is how long the average session is. You want to keep this number high as it shows that your users are interested and engaged in your content. When users are more engaged in you website, you know that they’re your target audience which means higher conversions.
The bounce rate is the percentage of sessions who go to a single page and then leave. Usually having a high bounce rate is not good. This means that your users are not finding what they’re looking for or your content is not engaging enough. It is like a customer taking a single step into your store, quickly scanning it and the leaving because they didn’t see anything they liked. You want to get this percentage as low as you can.
What To Do With These KPIs
These KPIs represent the general overall health of your website. You want to maximize users, sessions, pages per session, and average session duration while minimizing the bounce rate. In general, if you do the above, your website is on the track to success.
Stay Tuned For More
There’s so much more to look at when looking at your analytics data. I couldn’t cover it all in one post. I’ll be posting future articles about the finer details of analytics such as looking at keywords, mobile usage, and more which should help your overall KPIs!