Measuring your marketing is important. It’s how you know if the time and money you’re spending is helping you achieve your goals and build your business. So how do you know if your website is performing to its fullest potential? You can certainly refer to the basic traffic reports in the iHOUSEweb administrator menu, but that will only give you part of the answer. If you want to better understand when, where, and how your visitors find and interact with your website, consider installing Google Analytics.
Why Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a powerful traffic reporting tool that provides a wealth of robust traffic reporting data. Google offers so many tools for businesses, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, but Google Analytics is easily one of their best offerings. Google Analytics can tell you:
- How many people visited your website
- How long people stayed on your website
- Where your visitors are from geographically
- How people arrived at your website (search engine, social media, advertisements, etc.)
- What pages are the most popular
- How many pages were viewed
- What devices your visitors used
- What browsers your visitors used
- Common conversion paths
- Conversion rates
How to Use Google Analytics
Signing up for Google Analytics is easy. If you already have a Google Account for Google Drive or Gmail, you’re halfway there. Go to analytics.google.com to register. Make sure you use a primary Google account that you don’t plan on getting rid of. After populating a minimal amount of information about your website, you’ll be given a unique tracking code to install on your website. Not sure how to do that? Check out our help center article.
Google Analytics reports
Once Google is tracking the activity on your site, it’s time to take a look at some reports. Google begins tracking data immediately after installation, so feel free to examine your real time traffic reports to verify the tracking code is working. If you visit your website while you are viewing real time reports, you should see your own pageviews appear almost immediately.
Before you can perform any kind of meaningful traffic analysis, however, you will have to give your Analytics account time to accrue some data. Once some time has elapsed, you can review your aggregated Google Analytics reports to answer questions and make educated decisions to improve your website. For example:
- Where do most people enter my site? Can I make similar landing pages to get more visitors?
- How long do most people stay on my site? How can I get them to stay longer?
- How often do people “bounce” from my website? (viewed one page and leave without interacting) Can I reduce the number of bounce visits?
- What pages do most people navigate to? Can I make it easier for visitors to find these pages?
Perhaps the most interesting and valuable information in Google Analytics reports relates to conversions. When, where, why, and how do your website visitors relinquish their contact information? Common conversions include contact form submissions and user registrations. Google Analytics is capable of tracking conversions very accurately provided that your website is designed in a way that allows these actions to be tracked.
Fortunately, iHOUSEweb sends conversion data to Google automatically once you have the Google Analytics tracking code installed. If a visitor registers on your iHOUSE Elite website, an event code is fired notifying Google of the registration. If a contact form is submitted, Google is notified just the same. You can view records of these events in your Google Analytics reports by navigating to “Behavior” then “Events”.
Conversions are the primary metric for rating the performance of your website. If you filter your Google Analytics reports to only view traffic that converted, you may find interesting commonalities that will grant you insights into which parts of your website are performing well, and which parts are not. Conversions are frequently tracked for PPC campaign managements purposes, and Google AdWords accounts can be configured to pull conversion information directly from Google Analytics.
Clearly, Google Analytics can be a very valuable tool for a website owner. Navigating the Google Analytics interface can be a bit daunting at first given the sheer volume of data and reporting options, but overall, it is an intuitive and user-friendly application. Google also offers plenty of help and training resources for those who are interested; check out the Google Analytics youtube channel, or visit the Google Analytics Academy for more information.