Okay, so Google Analytics – and the concept of analytics in general to understand traffic statistics related to your site – is old news (so they say, I just found out about it 45 seconds ago). What are the most important sections of the platform, though – how best to quickly and efficiently focus your attention so that you can get in, get out, make informed decisions, and start implementing improvements to your site? Here are a few of the most crucial aspects of Analytics to simplify its usage.
Note: If Google Analytics’ broad functionalities are still too overwhelming, you can always go with a stripped-down analytics platform such as Clicky – specifically designed for ease of use. (If Clicky is overwhelming, I recommend a system of 14 digital abacuses plugged directly into your server. Contact me for the blueprint.)
This report, as you might guess, tells you how folks landed on your site. Did they type your URL directly into their browser? Did they find you on Google? Were they referred from a post you made on a social media site?
Here is why this is important: If you change your posting strategies on Facebook to try to increase engagement at the beginning of March, and at the end of March your Facebook referrals have gone down from the February statistics, you know exactly what you need to change. (Or, keep it exactly the same: “If you build it, no matter how poorly constructed and ugly it looks, they will come.” – Kevin Costner)
These statistics reveal how Internet users are responding to your activities on a particular day. Then, of course, you compare that to your “control” – your average traffic per day. If you see an increase in numbers after you publicize or promote in a particular way, or if you create a blog entry that generates a lot of visits, it tells you what to sustain or repeat and what to rework.
What keywords bring in the money – what are the best keywords for conversion? This report will give you a huge amount of insight into optimizing your site, not just with keyword-rich content, but with the best keyword-rich content. (My uncle is keyword-rich. He has like 18 million of them.)
Why is bounce rate just as important for you as it is for a nightclub next to a methadone clinic? If people are getting onto your site, looking at one page, and then going elsewhere, you’ve lost an opportunity to engage that person and potentially convert them.
If you sell anything, I would make sure that you get Ecommerce Tracking up and running. This will tell you so much more about your customers and how the react with your advertising spend. If you can, make sure your AdWords is communicating with GA. If you have Ecommerce Tracking hooked-up and AdWords is exporting data to GA, you’re well on your way.
That’s a Wrap
So those are a few of the key features. Of course, it depends what you are trying to measure. Each report gives you a different sense of activity on your site.
Poke around on the platform, and see what else might be of use to you. (It’s either that or the 14 abacuses – the “back to basics” approach.)
What do you find particularly helpful on Google Analytics? And how do you use that data to improve your site?
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