By Darren DeYoung
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Given the fact that your website is the central hub of your business's digital presence, your website analytics is the best way to help you better understand your online customers.
Although Google Analytics may seem complex, having a solid understanding of what it can do can take your business to the next level.
The amount of data within Google Analytics is massive. It is a dream come true for stat geeks who will quickly immerse themselves in the sea of data. That data is what business owners need to make actionable changes. Whether you like the data or are overwhelmed by it, here are some simple ways to improve your website which will then improve your business.
As a business owner, you have a general understanding of who your target customer is, right? Let’s say your current customer base are homeowners, living within 30 miles of your business.
But, are the same people coming to your physical location the same ones that are visiting your website? Google Analytics can help with that.
How to: Audience > Geo > Location
Drill down as deep as you would like to find out where your website users are coming from. You can find age and gender data under Audience, then Demographics.
If you find out that most of your digital audience does not fit your target customer, it is worth considering why and how you can change your marketing approach to better suit your current audience. Additionally, if your digital audience doesn’t match your target audience, many of your website metrics will be affected. This will lead to poor website performance and rankings.
Sometimes web pages don’t work as intended. Among the many issues that affect a web page is that it can take forever to load. Well, Google Analytics is there to provide insight into page speed issues.
How to: Behavior > Site Speed
A slow website can harm your brand, so make sure you avoid the most common mistakes
If users aren't staying, you may want to make your website design more attractive. Make sure it is clean, modern and easy to navigate. If users can’t figure out how to use your website, they are going to leave. Keep it simple and design your website so the content users want is easy to find. If web design isn’t your thing, consider hiring a company to design a custom website to give you a competitive edge.
In Google Analytics, you can see which pages have a high exit rate. Some pages will have a higher exit rate, such as a ‘Thank You’ page on a form. But for others, like the payment page of the checkout process, something about the experience may be causing people to leave. Check out these pages for yourself and see if anything jumps out at you.
How to: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages > Avg Time on Page
How to: Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages
Also, take a look at any webpages with high page views and low exit rates. Why are people staying on those pages? Perhaps there is something that can be replicated on your less-effective pages.
Worried about your competitor’s online presence? Well, Google Analytics can give you some insights into the competition. Through Benchmarking, you can see how you are doing compared to other websites in the same industry.
After opting-in and allowing Google to use your own data, you will have the ability to overlay industry averages on top of your statistics. This data isn’t 100% accurate because not all of your competitors are using Google Analytics, or they may not have opted into Google Benchmarking. But, this can give you a general perspective on how your site is doing.
By comparing stats such as ‘average time on site’ and ‘bounce rate,’ you can get a better idea of how you stack up against other websites that are competing for the same audience.
How to: Audience > Benchmarking
The Screen Resolution section in Google Analytics allows you to see what resolution your customers are using. Why does this matter? If one size is predominantly more popular, you may have space to add more to your site. Although more isn’t always better, if your users have giant screens you can enhance their user experience by filling in some gaps. Or, you may learn that most of your users view your website from a small screen, which means they are using a mobile device.
Whether your users come to you from their desktop, mobile, or tablet devices, keep in mind the value of whitespace and how it is the fundamental building block of good design. Whitespace creates balance and can lead a reader from one element to the next. An overcluttered website will chase users away, but a clean and simple design will be more effective are growing your business.
How to: Audience > Technology > Browser & OS > Screen Resolution
Likewise, if any of your users are on mobile devices, you need to optimize for a smaller screen size. Using a responsive design adapts to the dimensions of the user’s screen, ensuring that they will have a positive user experience.
How to: Audience > Mobile
Referral traffic is important because it sends possible buyers to your website from other sites that likely have the same target audience. You can learn about the interests of the customers coming from the referring website and optimize your content for them.
How to: Acquisition > Overview > Referral
Google Analytics can help you understand how users behave on your website. Once you understand their behavior, you can adjust your strategy with your business goals in mind.
We help many businesses optimize their website and are happy to provide a free web assessment to discuss how yours can be improved as well.
How can Google Analytics help grow YOUR business?