The importance of employing analytics on your company’s website is vital to any business. Being able to measure and understand your website’s traffic in a tangible way can benefit your business in many different ways, in the same way that paying attention to the customers walking through your brick and mortar storefront can help you understand where your sales are coming from.
While there are different analytics platforms to choose from, Google Analytics is the most widely used, likely due to three reasons: first, it’s powerful, second, it’s straightforward, and third, it’s free.
There are numerous important elements that Google Analytics can tell you. Things like how many visitors you get a day and where they’re from, as well as which pages on your site are the most popular. You can figure out how long someone is spending on your website before leaving, and how many visitors are being converted to leads or even customers. Even determining where your visitors are coming from on the internet can help you understand which marketing campaigns are working to drive customers to your website.
Not surprisingly, in order install Google Analytics on your website, you’ll need a Google account (if you’re already set up with Google for Business, then you’re sorted). If you have a Gmail account, you can use that, or you can create a new account, but a word to the wise: don’t allow anyone else–whether they’re your business partner or your web developer–to use their own Google account to create your analytics profile. If something were to happen and that person walked away, you would lose all of your data from the website and have to start all over.
Once you have a Google account, head over to the Google Analytics page and sign up for an account. Once you’ve signed up, you will be taken to a page that allows you to enter your website information. Assuming you have just one website to manage at this point, once the information is entered, you will be given a tracking code to install on every page of your website that you want to track.
If you’re using WordPress, this is as easy as installing the Google Analytics by Yoast plugin, which will handle everything for you. If you’re using another framework for website, it’s best to speak with your web developer or IT support to guide you through the process. A Shopify e-commerce store has a space provided for this code, when you go to the Online Store settings in your dashboard.
Things you should set up early on
One of the great aspects of Google Analytics is that it allows you to set up and track your websites milestones. For small businesses, lead generation, purchases, and email list sign-ups are all good goals to track, and allow you to measure the success of your website and funnels.
Site Search is another easy way for you to track what customers are looking for on your site, through the search toolbar that already exists there. It’s as simple as entering the URL of your search result and turning tracking on in the Google Analytics dashboard.
Custom information reporting
Google Analytics makes it very straightforward to understand the information in your reports. You can choose specific date ranges to examine, and a quick hover of your cursor over the “Sessions” or “Pageviews” metrics beneath the graph will explain what each term means.
Beyond these basics, you can determine your demographics easily by clicking on any country name that appears to drill down further and find out where, within that country, and how many, are visiting your website each month.
There are plenty of more advanced features to explore, as you become more comfortable with the platform. It won’t be long before you’re wondering what you ever did without it.