Take The Guesswork Out Of Your Website Goals

Google-Analytics

If your website had eyes and ears, they would be Google Analytics. This popular, free tool automatically collects helpful data for you, taking the guesswork out of your website goals.  When your customers talk, you listen. So when your website has something to say, don’t ignore it; its the voice of your online customers! Whether the purpose of your site is to sell products, send customers to your physical location or creating brand awareness, Google Analytics can measure how well you’re achieving these goals.

Daniel Waisberg, analytics advocate at Google, provided some useful tips about how to use the popular tool. Ready to get started? Here are 10 essential questions to ask when using Google Analytics:

1. Why should I gauge my website’s performance anyways?
Knowing precisely what your website visitors — who are often current and potential customers — like and dislike about your site can help you reach your overall business goals. As well as once you discover your customers’ preferences and habits, you can create a better experience for them. A better website experience = a happier customer.

2. How do I use Google Analytics on my website?
Its relatively easy to get started with Google Analytics. First, visit the Google Analytics website. Next, click on “Create an Account” and follow the steps. You’ll then be supplied with a small bit of Google Analytics HTML to enter into the source code for your website. This code is how Google Analytics sees and captures your website’s stats. If you don’t have access to the back end of your website – or you’re nervous about this step –  you can ask your website administrator to insert the tracking code for you.

3. What are Google Analytics ‘Goals’ and why should I use them?
After installing the handy tracking code you received from Google Analytics, the next step is to discover what website visitor actions you want to monitor. Google Analytics refers to these as Goals, which will help you measure which types of content works well with visitors and which don’t.

There are 4 essential types of Goals:

  • Destination. A specific location within your website.
  • Duration. How long a single visitor is on your site.
  • Page/Screens Per Visit. Which pages and screens visitors see during a single visit.
  • Events. Actions visitors take while on your site, including ad clicks, social media shares and video plays.

4. How can I find out how people discover my website and keep them coming back?
Google Analytics’ Keywords report will tell you what search engine keyword delivers the most traffic to your site, and if your search engine marketing (SEM) is being effective. Be sure to notice Google Analytics’ Referrals reporting as well which will tell you what websites your visitors are coming from. Understanding what attracts people to your website can help you give them more of what they want, therefore increasing engagement and longer visits.

google analytics dashboard
5. Will I be able to see what browsers and devices people view my website on?
Under Google Analytics’ Audience section, you can get a complete list of all of the web browsers, operating systems and devices your visitors are using to access your website. If  you notice a a great deal of people are viewing your site on smartphones and tablets, perhaps it’s time to consider a responsive website redesign and/or an helpful mobile app to better serve them.

6. How can I see when and where visitors are leaving my site?
Google Analytics’ Exit Pages feature will show you individual pages within your website that users are on when they decide to navigate away. If your homepage is the top exit page on the list, you’re likely losing visitors on the first page they see. If that is the case, it might be time to redesign your main landing page for optimal engagement. Or, if the page most visitors exit on is a buried deep within your site, you may choose to reconstruct it or consider deleting it altogether.

7. Can I track my Google Adsense campaigns with Google Analytics?
Yes, Google Analytics does measure the success of your Google Adsense. If you want to generate revenue through AdSense, try  the Google Analytics’ Pages report. It provides a detailed view of which website page performed best in terms of generating AdSense revenue and more. For example, if you find posts about football generate more revenue than posts about swimming, write more about football.

8. Can I measure the success of my Google AdWords initiatives?
Yes, you can use Google Analytics to find out which of your Google AdWords campaigns work and don’t work, and why.

  • Create an advanced Google Analytics Pages report segment
  •  Include only AdWords visits that did not finish any conversion
  • Check the Landing Page report
  • Note the pages that have the highest bounce rates

9. How do I track and improve e-commerce sales?
Using Google Analytics’ helpful but somewhat advanced Goal Funnel feature will assist in analyzing the overall success of your e-commerce efforts. Take advantage of the Goal Funnel option to find out where in the online shopping process your customers are abandoning their purchases. Learn when and where shoppers are backing out of transactions to improve your online shopping experience and increase your purchase rate.

10. How do I share my Google Analytics data with clients, colleagues and stakeholders?
Sharing your website data is not only beneficial but sometimes its required. The user data that Google Analytics gathers is sharable in several ways, you can even automate it if you wish. To email a report, look for the email button just above the Google Analytics chart you’d like to share. Next, choose your recipients and select the file format (exe., .pdf. .csv, etc.). You can also decide how often to send the information (once, daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly) and pick which days of the week to send reports.

We hope this helps take the guesswork out of your website goals and improves your website’s overall user experience! If you want to learn more, join us for our informative Lunch & Learn series where we will be discussing this topic in more detail.

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About the Author

Though his chief ambition is to one day control the entire Internet, Jim busies himself in the meantime running our little web development and marketing agency. He's a certified super nerd who ranks coding in old, outdated languages and watching Star Trek reruns just a bit too high on his list of fun things to do. Outside of work, Jim enjoys Hockey (Tampa Bay Lighning, to be specific), more genres of music than most people realize exist, riding his Harley (he calls it "two wheel therapy") and exploring the world through travel.