It is difficult to generate sustainable improvements without measurements. Most people know this, but are unsure of how to do it and why. I use Google Analytics, which , certainly for small businesses should provide most of what you need to guide your business to success. The question I am asked most often however is what to look for. This depends on your business objectives, however here are seven insights offered by Google Analytics:
1. Your visitors and their browsers
Which browser do your visitors use? Is it Chrome or Internet Explorer? Your website’s report will show a breakdown of which browsers are used and how frequently. These two reasons are the main ones for this being so.
(a) A significant number of visitors to your site are coming there via a system that doesn't suit your website. It may therefore be time for you to troubleshoot.
(b) Browser choice gives you insight as to your visitor base. If it is Internet Explorer, your website has to be very easy to navigate as the choice has indicated a basic user. If it is a newer browser such as Chrome, a more sophisticated internet user is suggested.
2. Which content is drawing your visitors in?
Your website report will let you know which page of your website your visitors are most engaged with, and likewise, which pages they click quickly away from. Features that do not hold the interest of your visitors may not be the best investment of your small business budget, so Google Analytics has a key role to play here. The analysis will show you the top exit pages of your site, and the frequency with which your visitors navigate elsewhere. Individual pages are rated. Based on this information, you can take remedial action. On the other hand, you can act positively to further optimise any success.
3. Which keywords are important in drawing people in?
This is immensely important to your campaign. Google Analytics will report on those keywords which are the main drivers to your site. If you know which keywords are important to your visitors, you can explore advertising opportunities with sites that are complementary. You can also create additional content for those keywords and by so doing, extend your promotion.
4. How many people are simply not interested?
You need to know the numbers of those who visit, and then go away. This aspect is covered by the bounce rate feature of your Google Analytics report, which gives you a breakdown. Bounce rate is the proportion of your website’s visitors who click away without attempting to go through a second, third or fourth page. I suggest not getting too worked up about bounce rate because it will mean different things to different businesses. For example, if you want people to sign up for an email newsletter, you could get them to do just that on the first page they visit. One page per visit won’t be that bad, will it? If on the other hand you are selling £3,000 ($4,500) bespoke, luxury holiday packages then the more pages people look at the more likely they are to book. You would therefore want the bounce rate to be fairly low. Ultimately, the best thing to do, whatever business you are in, is to watch your visitor metrics for major dips and peaks. Did you redesign your site, and did your bounce rate then go up drastically? Figure out why and fix it. Did you implement some changes that you thought would help but afterwards see traffic drop drastically? You can watch for those changes and adjust as quickly as possible, thanks to visitor analysis.
5. Whether your pages are “attractive” enough to visitors
The page views metric will show you the proportion of visitors that looks at page, two pages, three pages etc. on your site. If only one or two are viewed, and you are expecting much more, it might be worth considering a reorganization of content. Through spreading your main points through several pages you draw your visitor onward and into your site.
6. Whether visitors are “mobile”
The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets requires you to keep up with that technology. If a significant portion of your website's visitors are finding you on their mobile device, as shown by Google Analytics, you need to optimise your website for mobile technology. Mobiles could be the way a very high number of visitors are seeking you out. If so, it could be worth your exploring and then building sites specifically designed for them. The opportunities presented are discussed later on in this book.
7. When you’ve hit a milestone
The attention you receive is vital to your marketing. From numbers of clicks and visitors, to increases and decreases in traffic, the alerts feature of Google Analytics can provide you with instant updates (which can be sent to your phone), letting you know when you've achieved milestone targets. Whether you have finally reached that million-visitor mark, or have realized you're in the danger zone as the number of unique visitors has dropped by half, this function will provide the immediate information.
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