Google Analytics is a highly effective website analysis platform that allows businesses to assess how well they’re doing with their online marketing efforts. But for small business owners who aren’t all that comfortable with technology, the thought of digging into the analytics can be intimidating.
You don’t have to be an expert to glean valuable insight from Google Analytics, according to Mark Boyd, Search Engine Optimization Director at MIND Development & Design, and a SCORE blogger. By familiarizing yourself with how to pull some basic information, you can gain an understanding of how well your business website is performing. “Not only can you track results, but you can also track how you’ve gotten those results,” said Boyd.
With Google Analytics, you can track:
n Traffic volume. View your daily and monthly traffic and monitor ebbs and flows, highs and lows.
n Average time visitors spend on your website. See the pages visitors viewed while on your site and how much time they spent on them.
n Bounce rate. This reflects the number of visitors who left your website after only visiting one page. Bounce rate and average time spent on a website are closely tied. When a visitor views multiple pages, the time onsite is typically longer than if they land on one page and leave.
n Number and percentage of new and repeat visits. Knowing this can help as you build engagement with your audience. You can see what percentage of your daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly visits are new visitors versus repeat visitors.
n Traffic sources. You can see geographically where your website traffic is coming from, and if the traffic sources are organic listings, pay-per-click ads, referrals (such as from social media), etc.
n Compare current traffic to that of previous months and years. This enables you to compare performance and detect trends.
All of these can help you understand how your website engages visitors and how effective your off-site digital marketing efforts are at driving traffic to your website.
These are only the tip of the analytics iceberg. There’s much more data available, but interpreting some of it requires a higher degree of knowledge about the platform.
“My favorite part of Google Analytics is comparing current numbers to the previous year,” said Boyd. “It’s amazing how you can see the same traffic trends from year to year. That’s very helpful in planning your SEO, paid advertising and social media efforts.”
To power up your social media techniques, plan to attend the free SCORE workshop on May 10 at 6:30 pm, at the Traverse Area District Library, Woodmere branch. Seating is limited, so please pre-register at www.upnorthscore.com.
Michael McCrary is a principal at Pine River Consulting, LLC and has been providing marketing and strategy consulting to clients globally since 1990. He has been a SCORE mentor since June 2015.