Your Small Business Website Needs Google Analytics, and Here’s How to Get Started

by Garrett Spence
4/28/2014 5:02:29 PM

Why does your small business website need Google Analytics?
Knowledge is power, and Google Analytics gives you all of the knowledge you need to understand your website’s success.

Analytics shows you where your visitors come from, how they got to your site, the actions that they took while on your site, and so much more. All of this information is useful for creating marketing campaigns, pay-per-click campaigns, accessing the success of social media campaigns, and testing SEO campaigns… to name only a few benefits. Essentially, Google Analytics helps small business owners get to know their audience and their potential customers.

Plus, it’s free. You can’t beat free.

How to get started with Google Analytics
Firing up Google Analytics isn’t as simple as just signing up for an account. The process is easy enough, but there are a few steps you’ll need to take before Google starts curating your metrics.

Signing up for an account is the first step, but you’ll also need to install a tracking code on your website. Google details the process thoroughly in its Getting Started Guide, so give that a read.

Important metrics to understand
Monitoring your website’s analytics won’t do much good if analyzing the metrics feels like reading Latin. You can create custom reports for nearly every metric imaginable, but here are a few numbers to pay attention to:

    ·Bounce Rate: The Bounce Rate measures the percentage of your site’s visits that weren’t quality visits. A visitor is considered “bounced” out of your site if they’ve only viewed a single page, hit the back button or typed in a new URL as soon as they entered your site, or anything else that results in a brief stay. For example, a bounce rate in the 70s is high because it shows that 7 out of 10 visitors didn’t interact with your site.
    ·Pages Per Visit: This number helps quantify engagement. How many pages did people view on your site? A “good” number for this metric will depend on the content of your site and it’s design. If your site’s content is on a few pages, a lower Pagers Per Visit metric isn’t terrible. If you have a ton of pages with loads of products or services and other information, you’ll want that number to be higher.
    ·Average Visit Duration: How long did a person spend on your website? 20 seconds, or 5 minutes? Again, whether this number is “good” or not will depend on the type of content on your site.
    ·Traffic Sources: Google Analytics breaks down all of the traffic sources that got visitors to your website. You can view the metrics for search-related sources, referrals from other sites, or direct hits from bookmarks or typing in the URL. Under the Search portion you can see which keywords visitors typed in before landing at your domain. Similarly, Referral numbers are important. Do your top referrals come from links on popular industry sites, social media, mobile, or some combination of these? Knowing these numbers can help you plan an effective marketing strategy.
There’s no reason not to use Google Analytics
Google Analytics can truly be the foundation of a successful online marketing plan. There are plenty of experts who know the metrics and their consequences inside and out, but even casual users can glean plenty of useful data from Analytics.

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