Google Analytics (GA) is an analytics tool that can help you understand how powerful your website is in your marketing strategy. You can measure how many returning visitors you get versus new visitors, what website pages are the most popular, and so much more. Because it offers a lot of measuring opportunities, sometimes GA can seem overwhelming. To get you started, here are some essential metrics to measure the value of your website to your business.
Turning it on
First things first – you have to open an analytics account and add GA to your website. The tool is free, so all you need is simple information like your website URL to get your GA code snippet. Highlight and copy the entire snippet of code once you are ready to add it to your website. You can access this snippet of code anytime in your GA settings.
If you have a Business Plan website with WordPress.com, adding this code is simple. Just install the Google Analytics plugin created by MonsterInsights, as that is the plugin trusted by WordPress. Once installed, go to the settings of this plugin on your WordPress dashboard and add your snippet of code.
You can also add GA to WiX, Squarespace and most templated websites. If your business has a custom website built by code from a developer, you should contact your developer or IT professional. It may take a day or two for your website to start recording data. You won’t be able to gather any data from the time period that you did not have GA.
Behavior: Popular Pages
Now for the fun part: measuring! Right off the bat you’re going to want to know what pages are working for you. Your homepage will always be the most popular by default, so it’s better to pay attention to the top three to five pages on the list. On your left hand menu in GA, click Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Once you arrive make sure you adjust the time frame on the upper right corner of the page so you can be specific on what day or days you want to measure.
Now that you are looking at your top pages, pay attention to some of these details:
- Pageviews and unique pageviews: it’s interesting to see how many of those views are unique.
- Average time on page: you want to see something above 1 minute and 30 seconds so you know users are truly reading.
- Bounce rate: how often are they on the page for only 0 seconds? This percentage should be lower – ideally under 50 percent.
On your popular pages, don’t make too many content updates because clearly something is working. Make sure you have strong CTAs and feel free to add testimonials to these pages since they have a good chance of being viewed.
Acquisition: Where are Visitors Coming From
With this data there is no more guessing what social network works best for your brand. You can also learn about other channels bringing traffic to your website like paid search if you’re running Google Ads, referral websites if other websites are linking to yours, or email if you’re sending email campaigns.
On your navigation click Acquisitions > All Traffic > Channels. Right off the bat you’ll see what channels are bringing the most traffic to your site. If you click on a specific channel like Social, you can track what specific networks are bringing you the most traffic, and decide which ones to stop posting on every week. And remember – take the bounce rate into consideration when you’re deciphering which channel is working the best for your brand.
Audience: Know Your Visitors
This is a great tool to help you pinpoint who your website audience is. If you click Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning on your navigation, you can easily see who you’re content should be catered to. Maybe your website is mostly returning users, while your social media pages are where new customers find you.
While staying in the Audience tab, explore the Demographics, Interests, and Geo subtabs to really get to know your users. This information is great for inspiration on sales, promotions or incentives you hold.
Marketing only has meaning to your business when it is measured. Although there are many ways to analyze the different marketing channels you use, Google Analytics is one of the best for understanding the power of your website, who is visiting it, and where they came from.