How Google Analytics can improve your website

You’ve got your website, perhaps it’s all shiny and brand new, or maybe it’s more established and been around for a few years.  But before you leave your website to rest on its laurels, we wanted to let you know about a simple tool that will make your website work harder for your business. And it’s free as well!

Some form of analytics software is vital for any online business as it helps you to understand ways of reaching your audience and, ultimately, how to drive traffic to your site. By using Google Analytics, you can access both general statistics on your website (such as visitor numbers, most looked at pages, location of visitors etc) as well as comprehensive, detailed reports on specific aspects. It’s especially helpful for small business owners who are always on the go.

So why use Google Analytics? We’ve compiled seven clever things that it will tell you about your site:

1. What browsers and operating systems your visitors are using
One of the many reports that Google Analytics can give you is which browser your visitors are using to access your site, whether it’s Internet Explorer, Chrome or Safari. But why is this useful? Sometimes web features aren’t compatible with certain browsers, so if a large proportion of your web traffic is using a system which doesn’t suit your site, it’s worth looking at correcting this. Browser choice also tells you a lot about your visitor base. If most of them are using the big name browsers like IE or Safari, you should be looking to have a site which is easy to navigate and user-friendly.

2. What’s not interesting on your site
You might think that it’s more important to know what your visitors are looking at than what they’re not. But to maximise your website efficiency, you should be looking at that page(s) of your site that visitors are on when they click off to another site. You don’t want to be wasting your resources on features if they aren’t captivating users and Google Analytics will identify those areas for you. By showing you the Top Exit Pages of your website, the programme shows you the frequency at which web visitors jump ship to go elsewhere, all broken down by the individual pages of your site. So using that report, you can then make a decision as to whether to get rid of the pages which aren’t working or rethink the content.

3. What is attracting people to your site
Have a look at the Keywords report from Google Analytics. Most likely it will be a list or a collection of words or phrases which your business is familiar with as driving traffic to your site. However, you can develop a much more effective marketing strategy by using this report and cross-referencing it in the feature which shows you how many new visitors you receive against returning ones. Knowing what’s pointing people to your site, you can work backwards and identify opportunities to maximise those keywords – for instance, change your homepage so that the subject matter which draws people in is now the main focus, or advertise on websites which concentrate on related topics. If the main aim of your website is to captivate visitors and keep them clicking around your site, this tool is really valuable.

4. How many people just aren’t interested at all
You may be attracting lots of visitors to your site but if you’re not managing to keep them on the site when they get there, it’ll be tougher to achieve growth online. To explore this in more detail, take a look at your Bounce Rate breakdown on Google Analytics. Your bounce rate is the proportion of people who navigate away from the page they land on without clicking through to any further pages. So you can count this person’s visit as a hit but as they’ve clicked away almost immediately, there’s no lasting power in their visit. If you’ve got a bounce rate of over 50%, particularly among first-time visitors, it’s worth checking your page content to see if it can be tweaked to be of more relevance.

5. Who is digging deeper into your site
Not that we want to come over all ‘big brother’, but it’s important for you to know how many pages people are viewing each time they land on your site. And the Depth of Visit function does just that. This will show you the proportion of visitors that look at one page, two pages and so on. If your site visitors aren’t looking at more than one or two pages per visit, it could be an indication that you need a website redesign or a change of your content.

6. Are people mobile when viewing your site?
Mobiles and tablets are everywhere these days, whether you’re travelling, out shopping or at home. This increase in mobile technology will mean, inevitably, that people are accessing your website from their mobile devices. Google Analytics can tell you the percentage of visitors that are finding you via their mobiles or tablets. If it is a significant amount, you will need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly and accessible otherwise your bounce rate will increase.

7. Achieving your goals
The Alerts feature of Google Analytics will give you instant updates (sent via email or even direct to your phone if you wish) of when you hit those benchmarks which you have decided are important. It could be a certain number of clicks, a decrease in your bounce rate or an increase in traffic volume.  Alerts can help you mark milestones, such as hitting 5,000 visitors or over 100 subscribers to your newsletter in a month.

If you don’t already have Google Analytics installed on your site, or you have it but would like to learn more, please contact us for advice and we’d be more than happy to help.