When it comes to your website, the more knowledge you have the better you’ll be able to understand what’s working, and perhaps more importantly, where you need to make improvements.
Without this knowledge, you’ll have no idea how people are discovering your website or what actions they are taking once they find it. Without this knowledge, you’ll have no idea how to improve your website performance and ultimately make the most of it as a platform to make sales, reach new customers and boost your business overall.
But where do you find the information you need to know about your website, and how do you break it down to make sense of it and translate it into useful, actionable tasks to progress and improve your business?
Google Analytics is something that all businesses with a website should use. It doesn't matter how big or small you are, or what goods or services you offer, Google Analytics is a beneficial resource, providing you heaps of information and reports about your website that you can use to make it better.
But many find Google Analytics confusing, and if you are not tech savvy or used to analyzing this kind of information, it can feel both daunting and overwhelming.
So let’s look at some of the basics Google Analytics has to offer and some useful tips on how to use it to enable business owners to focus on the data that’s going to make a difference to them.
1. Source/Medium report
This report gives an overview of how your website is doing and enables you to see where traffic is coming from. The table in this report breaks down all the different traffic sources for the site and how each source is performing. This enables you to see where your customers originate from as well as how engaged those users are once they arrive at your website.
If you want to measure the performance of a particular campaign, for example, you can see if people have clicked through after seeing that campaign and if the number of people doing so is in line with your target.
You can also see if there are any issues. For example, if people arrive at your site and then immediately leave it. Knowing the bounce rate of traffic from particular sources will give you a clearer idea of what’s working well and convincing your customers to hang around, and when you understand that, you can do more of it!
2. Bounce rate report
A bounce rate report tells you what happens when people arrive on your site. Do they visit more than one page, for example, and if so how long do they stay on your site?
Once you know which sources people are more likely to engage from you can change your focus and figure out ways to make those sources where the bounce rate is high more effective too.
3. Revenue and transactions report
Knowing the sources that bring the most traffic to your website is one thing, but does that traffic translate into sales? This is what the revenue and transactions report can tell you. If your most significant source of traffic doesn’t convert to sales, perhaps you can figure out how to better engage those customers or direct them more clearly, so they leave your site by way of the checkout.
Tagging your traffic is essential to ensure the results of this report are clear. If Google doesn’t understand how a visitor arrived at your site, they’ll classify them under the“(direct) / (none)” source. This means they could have typed your URL into their browser or could have come from an untagged link. If you don’t tag your links, that column is going to be pretty big and not give much away to help you.
If you don’t like the way link tagging makes your links look (messy and long) use a link shortening website such as tinyurl to help you.
4. Landing pages report
The landing pages report is helpful because it gives you information about the pages visitors first land on when they come to your website.
Making these pages work for you by ensuring they contain all the information and calls to action possible to engage your customer and direct them in the way you want them to go can make a big difference.
5. Product performance report
Finally, the product performance report is critical to monitor because it gives you a crucial insight into which products are performing best with regards to sales.
Here you can find information on goal conversions, and individual product performance including revenue generated, sales by quantity, any refunds given, and much more.
This report can also tell you where you are getting repeat sales, so if a customer buys the same product more than once or multiples of the same product in one purchase you'll know about it. You can also find out which sources/ mediums these sales are coming from.
These five reports can give business owners some useful insights to help them understand how to refine their website and focus on those sources and pages that are providing them with the highest revenue – while also looking to improve those that aren’t performing well too.
Google Analytics can seem overwhelming, but just by starting with the basics you’ll gain a better understanding of how to make your website and campaigns work better for you and your business – so it’s well worth taking the time to understand them and then using them to your advantage.
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