By: Craig Fester | Online Marketing Specialist
Many moons ago many business websites would feature, very prominently, a widget with number counter indicating how many visitors had been on the site.
This was done to offer visitors some assurance that the business website they were visiting had been frequented often, and them being there meant that they were about to experience the same great service as those who had come before. This phenomenon was referred to as a ‘hit counter’. The website owner could use this as a measuring tool for their website foot count.
You may see that 29 people have visited a business website, but who are they? Where did they come from? What did they do on the website? Did they find what they needed? Hit counters left us in the dark where these metrics are concerned. Over the years, there have been various systems that measured website statistics but to date, Google Analytics has been the clear favourite – and it’s free!
Do you have clearly and concisely written content that will act as a shop assistant for a first-time visitor?
Let’s have a look at what insights this application provides. I’ll tap into the Google Analytics ABCs.
Acquisition – How did a visitor get to your website?
Google Analytics’ Acquisition report gives us insight into the various channels used by visitors to get to your business website. Your visitor may have typed your website address directly into the browser’s address bar and found your website immediately.
Others may have seen a Facebook post about your product and clicked through to your site. The bulk of your visitors may have just Googled your company name. Then there’s the precious group who searched for your product or service and found you on Google’s results pages.
Having insight into how your customers find you will guide your decision-making with regards to your marketing efforts. Are you being found on Google for your product or only your company name? If it’s only the latter, you may need to invest in search engine optimisation (SEO).
Behaviour – What did your visitors do on your website?
Studying your visitors’ behaviour will give insight into the effectiveness of your business website usability and content. Are visitors able to quickly find what they are looking for? Did they leave as soon as they got there?
In the Behaviour report you will uncover metrics such as Bounce Rate, Average Time on Page, and Pageviews which shows the most popular pages on your website. A high Bounce Rate means that your website is being found but you may not have the content your visitors were expecting and they’ve, therefore, ‘bounced’ off your website. Are you getting views on pages you were not expecting? You need to promote those pages in your menu and optimise them even more.
Conversions – Did your visitors complete the action you expected them to?
Did your visitors buy the product or complete the contact form? Perhaps your goal is for them to call you. These final actions are referred to as conversions. They may not all directly lead to a sale, but your goal may have been to collect leads via your form.
Conversions are the ultimate metric to look at and you can measure your conversions per traffic source using Google Analytics. If you are getting very high numbers of website traffic but low conversions, you need to investigate the guidelines you offer your customers that leads to a call-to-action. Do you have clearly and concisely written content that will act as a shop assistant for a first-time visitor?
Google Analytics offers great insight. The different reports can be overwhelming, and you may not find any value in some of them. Stick to the reports I mentioned here, and you will extract priceless value from it.
About the author: Craig Fester is an Online Marketing Specialist at 1-grid, a website hosting company. With over 15 years’ experience in online marketing, Fester has driven many websites to the top of Google search results. On 1-grid’s blog, he uncovers the value of the critical technical aspects of websites and combines it with solid online marketing techniques that make a website an online success. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.