I always assume business owners know what to do with Google Analytics, but after speaking at a conference recently, I realize that might not be the case. So I want to go over what the free analytics tool can do for your business, as well as give you tips for using it properly.
Essentially, Google Analytics tells you about the number of visitors your website gets, as well as where they’re coming from, and what pages they like the most. Any marketing you do can be measured by looking at your analytics. You can:
- See what blog posts resonated with your readers
- See what days traffic spiked on your site, and correlate that with any sales or promotions you’ve done
- Find out what other sites are referring the most traffic to your site
- See if a press release generated clicks to your site
- Check how many visitors a blog review netted
- Determine how many of your visitors end up buying on your site.
If you work with bloggers on getting product reviews, if you write and distribute press releases online, if you conduct sales and promotions and if you use social media, having a handle on your analytics is imperative. Otherwise, how will you know if your marketing efforts are actually paying off? Here’s an example:
Let’s say you put out a press release on PRWeb.com. A week later, you get a report from the press release distribution site outlining where your release was published. That’s great, but it doesn’t give you the whole story. What you want to know is how many people clicked the link in your release on those different channels.
Just go into your Analytics dashboard, click Traffic Sources, and see which sites have been sending you traffic. Some of the bigger sites, like PRWeb.com and Yahoo News, will likely have sent more than the niche news sites, but they’re all important. If you didn’t get more than a handful of clicks, that might tell you either that no one was interested in the news you published in your press release, or that it’s not an effective strategy to generate web traffic.
The same process can be repeated for any of your online marketing efforts.
Now, Google Analytics can get a bit technical, if you use all the features, but the important ones I focus on are:
- Traffic Sources (what sites are sending mine traffic?)
- Content (which of my blog posts have been read more? This helps me know what to write more about)
- Audience: Pageviews (what’s the average number of pages a visitor visits?) and Bounce Rate (what % of people leave after viewing the home page?)
- Conversion (if you sell online, this tells you how many visitors ended up buying)
Google Analytics is key to any effective marketing strategy in that it enables you to track your results instantly.