Exploring Google Analytics

Last night in the pub, the discussion turned to what was happening next week and I mentioned our Google Analytics workshop. “Ah”, said the barman, “It’s a while since I checked mine. The trouble is that it is too easy to get distracted”. For his business, the phone is the main point of contact. Customers may or may not have visited the site and he will not know unless he asks them.

Beware of the time trap!

Google Analytics is a very powerful tool as it allows you to discover the way people are using your site. You can see who is visiting your site by location, language or device. Once on your site, you can see how long they stay as well as which pages they visit. You can combine this information to discover, for example,  how iPhone users traverse your site. The list goes on and it is true that you can spend a long time exploring. The question is, how many of the answers are useful? Do I want to know that this site got 50 hits from Japan last month?

What do you want to know?

The key to using Google Analytics wisely is to start by asking yourself what you want to find out and how you are going to use it. Armed with this list, you can then plan your visits and are less likely to get distracted by curiosities.

For example, on a site such as this one we are interested in the number of hits and where our visitors are finding us. This could be from Google (or other) search, typing in from a business card or from a link on a newsletter. We are also interested in which pages they land on and then go on to visit.

Google Analytics has lots of reports and tools to help you find the information you want. You can also personalise it so that your dashboard gives you the highlights when you log in.

Interpret and act

Once you have the information, how are you going to use it?

If your visitors are abandoning their baskets before checking out, can you work out why and do something to stop it happening?

If you are not getting referral traffic from Google, what can you do to improve your SEO?

If there are pages on your site that never get visited, do you improve or delete them?

Then again, if your B&B site is getting regular hits from Japan, maybe it is time to see if you can captialise on their interest.

Find out more

We run our Small Business Clinic workshop “Google Analytics Masterclass” online regularly. In this workshop we take you on a tour of Google Analytics, show you what you can learn and also how to use that information to improve your website’s performance. Find out more.