Google Analytics is a godsend for all small businesses. But, so many either don’t know it exists or don’t use it.
In January I delivered a marketing workshop to about 60 small business owners. Less than half of them put their hands up, when asked if they had Google Analytics on their website.
Let’s spend just a few minutes looking at why we believe EVERY small business with a website should have Google Analytics installed and what you can learn from it.
How much traffic do you get?
At the most basic level, Google Analytics will tell you how much traffic you get in any given period. Whether you want to know who’s been on your site today, in the last seven days, this month or, indeed, for any given period, you can.
The only thing to be wary about is that the data is usually about 3 hours behind. So, there’s little point in being on your site at 9am the day your new website goes live.
Where does your website traffic come from?
John Wannamaker’s famously tweaked saying of “I know 50% of my advertising works, just not which 50%” can be answered with the data provided. You’ll know how much traffic your social media accounts feed to your website.
It will show you what sites are referring traffic to you (although take this sta
t with a pinch of salt until your drill down). PPC traffic is clearly shown, as is the level of traffic generated by natural search.
For example, if you’re doing a lot of social media, but getting very little traffic to the site, you should review what you’re doing on your social media channels.
Who’s on your website right now?
I know we’ve just said the data is a few hours old, but they do have a Real Time function. If you are looking to know how many hits your website gets at a particular moment, this may be a function that helps.
Where are your visitors located?
Google Analytics allows you to see whereabouts in the world your traffic is coming from. You can break it down by continent, country or even the cities your site’s visitors are located in.
As mentioned above, you can add a second dimension to your data and see how your audience are getting to your website. The Source/Dimension tab will allow you to see whether your traffic is coming from organic Google searches, through email or social media and how this varies depending on where they’re located in the world.
What are they doing?
There are plenty of different ways to see just what people are doing on your website.
- Landing pages: what pages are the most popular for people to go to first? The top one will always be your Home Page, but what are the next few? This will give you a good idea of how well your SEO is working, as well as campaigns aimed at specific landing pages.
- Exit Pages: what are the pages that make people leave your website? Again, for volume reasons, your Home Page is going to be top, but those below it are likely to be the ones in need of some TLC.
- Visitor Flow: a diagrammatical representation of how people move through your website. This will give you a good idea of whether visitors are taking the path you want them to. This is a picture of how good your UX planning has been.
What are they using to look at your site?
Depending on your product or service, your audience will be using different devices to view your website. You can find out the primary devices your customers are using to get to your site. Whether it’s an iPhone, tablet or desktop device, you can get information right down to the makes and models of the devices being used.
This will help you get a better understanding of how your customers experience your website.
What goals do you have for your site?
You can set goals for your website using Google Analytics and it will track how close you are to achieving them.
For example, you can set a goal to have a certain number of people click on your ‘contact us’ page in a month, or to have customers visit at least 3 pages per visit. You can then track how far you are from reaching those targets. This might help highlight any issues with your site or marketing that need addressing.