Exploring Google Analytics

Virtually every website you visit nowadays asks you whether you agree to the use of cookies on their site. In most cases this will be because the site is collecting visitor information through Google Analytics. The cookie is used allows Google to link together the pages you visit so the site owner can get information on how visitors are using their site.

From the other side of the fence, most website owners think that this is a good idea, so will say “yes” when asked whether they want Google Analytics enabled on their site. Assuming you are one such website owner, below are five tips on what to do next:

1. Decide what you want to know

When you first go onto Google Analytics, you discover that there are a large number of reports and options available. Key to gaining information from the statistics is to work out what questions you want to answer. These may include:

  • How long do visitors spend on my site?
  • Which page do they land on?
  • Do they visit the pages you expect them to?
  • Is my promotion/ advertising/ marketing working?

Once you have the questions, you can then work out whether and how the data can give you answers.

2. Set up a dashboard

Google Analytics allows you to customise your reports and set up a dashboard. This is time spent up front, but the advantage is that your key information is instantly available thereafter whenever you log in. The time saved can be used more profitably on your business.

3. Use the information

If you are taking time to set up and look at your Google Analytics, it makes sense to act on the answers it is giving you.

  • If no one is visiting key pages, do they need more links or better SEO?
  • Can you improve pages where people are spending least time?

4. Keep a diary

I’m not talking about a teenage “Dear Diary” here, just a list of any event that may be significant when it comes to interpreting your visitors actions. You can then trace that surge in visitor numbers back to the advert/ networking event or mention in the local press. I would suggest adding key events to your Outlook/ Gmail/ other calendar rather than using yet another list somewhere.

5. Have a periodic review

It is well known that statistics like Google Analytics can eat up time and the tips above are largely designed to produce maximum results from minimum time input. The problem with this is that you could miss noticing something useful if you stick to the regime all the time.

My suggestion is that you occasionally put aside some time to have another look at the data behind your dashboard and review the questions you are asking. Putting the two together may give you further insights.

Want to know more?

We run our Google Analytics workshop regularly. It is a hands-on session on setting up and using Google Analytics.  You can book here.