Do you sometimes find yourself spending hours changing your website’s text, fonts, colours and images to get it just how you want it? But if you’re not checking the effect those changes have on your website visitors’ behaviour, you are working in a black hole!
How can you find out what changes really make a difference and what makes your visitors spend longer on your website?
Google Analytics is a mine of valuable information, and will give you those hard facts about your website. And it’s FREE!
First of all you need to set up a Google account, if you don’t already have one, and install Google Analytics on your website. There is a WordPress plugin to do this, or ask your web designer to install it for you.
Once you’re all set up, go into Google Analytics and enter the date period you want to look at, top right. This defaults to the previous calendar month. Then check out your Audience Overview, which should be the default page, showing you the total number of website visits, the number of pages viewed and your “bounce rate” – the percentage of visitors who leave your website immediately. Don’t panic if this seems high. Anything less than 50% is good because a lot of people will land on your site inadvertently!
Then look at just these 3 things to start with, selecting from the menu options on the left hand side:
This will show you the country your visitors originate from and then the pages they view on your website. A page with a high “dropoff” rate may need attention. If your Contact page is the last page they look at that could be very good news. They want to get in touch – success!!
Acquisition, All Traffic (from dropdown)
This shows you where your website visitors are coming from. Major sources are usually google (from Google search), direct (they typed in your web address), t.co (from Twitter)
Social, Users Flow (from dropdown)
This shows you the social networks that are bringing people to your site and which web pages they visited. So you can see which social media interactions are bringing you website visitors. Kerching!
As you gain in confidence start checking out some of the other options. There is a wealth of information available, so spend some time clicking on the various options and find out what is useful for you. For example you can find out what devices are being used to access your website and see how many of your visitors are using smartphones. If that’s a high number it’s worth checking that your website’s mobile version is up to scratch.
Hopefully this brief guide has given you the confidence to delve into Google Analytics and find out more about how your website is being used, and what you can do to improve it.
Just focus on the items you are interested in and ignore the rest! Don’t be daunted by it. It is there to help you.