What I love about google analytics is that you can watch in real time what your user is doing as well as just pop in once a month to track your business websites progress. Using Google Analytics for your business is a way for you to understand your customer but also gauge how users are interacting with your site.
I am always making improvements on my website, from text to images and even my opt-in. And only just recently I have started tracking goals with it, but that subject is for another time. First, let me tell you why you should be checking in once a month to see what is happening.
Each month I do this and what I am looking for is simple. Who my users are, how they got to my site, what pages do they love, are they sticking around to read more pages or are they running as soon as they land on a page. Do they check out my services are they signing up for my newsletter or opt-ins do they keep coming back. I know this seems all a little overwhelming right now but let me break this down for you.
How to use Google Analytics for your business
The first thing I want you to do is to log in. Google Analytics works best if you have had it linked to your site for a few months. Mind you it does work pretty much instantly it’s just that you can’t get all the back data.
>Log In to Google Analytics >> It should take you straight to the home page –Then click over to Audience Overview >> I change the dates of my stats to the last month, to do this – at top right-hand corner above the graph it will say the dates >> Click this, then set it to custom and select the days you wish to analyze. I do mine from the first of the month to the last.
See below for more details.
On to the stats.
1. Unique sessions
Unique sessions is the first thing I look at. What I want to know is how many people have been to my site in the last month. Since I am in the beginning of my business I really feel that it is not that important to be spending time chasing stats and instead working on my actual business. As I see the stats move and grow I would then check them weekly. For now monthly.
A unique session is when a person comes to your site and uses it, they may click on multiple pages or leave after the first but this is deemed one session. I class this the number of page views for the month instead of overall views as that is just the number of pages viewed total.
2. Unique Users
This is the total number of people that have used your site in the last month. Like the name implies it is the unique users. So if one person comes back a week later it is not counted but instead it is counted under unique sessions. The reason why I want to know this number is because it helps me see if I am attracting new possible clients to my page. It’s great that previous users have come back but I also want to grow my email list and to do that I need new blood on my site.
I just like to mention that if you ever want to do sponsored content on your blog having a high percentage of returning viewers is great. It means that you have a really engaged audience and that they love your content.
3. Pages per session
Each user will land on a direct page, be it a homepage, blog post but what I love about this number is it tells me how much information they are willing to take on. The bigger the number the longer they are staying around and the possibility of them clicking over to my services page or to read another blog post to get to know me.
4. Average session time
This is a big one. Do not underestimate this number. You want your visitors to stay on your website for as long as possible. Google really like it (I will talk more about this in the next point) and two it shows you how interested they are in your business. I like to think the longer they stay the better they get to know me and I want to build trust and I also want them to come back. So the higher the number the better. Also if your number is low, don’t worry – this can easily be fixed. You just need to see what pages they are landing on and make them more enticing to stay longer – perhaps bulk out a blog post, rejiggle your homepage content or craft big CTA (call to action) buttons to take them to another page with similar content.
5. Bounce Rate
In Google Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single page view on your site and then exits without triggering anything else. For example, if I google ‘how to write a blog’ I click on a webpage that looks like it might help me, but instead the information is not relevant and I am not too happy with it I click away. (hello – a bounce)
You want your bounce rate to below, the lower the better. My average is about 60-70% for my site currently.
Why is it better to have a low bounce rate and a high average session time for google? What it tells Google is that you are providing value, this is really important because Google prefers sites that have relevant information that people digest.
6. Device Used
Right now there are so many devices that people can digest your website. It uses to a PC driven world but with smartphones and tablets used it is really important to keep track of what is the preferred platform. If you haven’t already made your website responsive for these platforms. I highly recommend you take a month out to do this for your customers – it really might make all the difference to your business if your clients are mostly using their phones to view your site.
What device that people are using is also really great to tell you a little more about them who they might be. Generally I see tablets for the 40+, while PC is for the folks who run their biz from their laptop or computer and the smartphone is for the younger crowd under 35.
>> Under the audience Tab on the left-hand side >> Click on Mobile then >>Click on Overview. This will pull up the stats for you. Though you can also see them on your homepage.
7. Main Source of Traffic
This is so important if your business has been around for a long time. It’s great to see how people find you. My previous website was 80% organic search by the end it was brilliant as it was generating over 1000 hits a day through search engines, meanwhile the other 20% was a combination of social, direct and referral.
The reason why it is good to know where your traffic comes from is so you can improve all your sources. So if you are weak in the organic search field, think about ways to improve your SEO, perhaps your social channel is weak this means you need to look at the content that you are producing or even start producing some great content to share on social. Referral traffic is really special these may come from other blogs, online magazines or website in your niche. A referral is usually a link on one of these sites sharing your information or pointing to your page. Finally the last source of traffic is direct traffic, this is when someone just types in www.yourwebsitename.com and hit enter. Boom they found ya!
>> Click on the Acquisition Tab on the left-hand side >> click on overview.
8. Visitors from Search
Now this one makes me feel a little old school when I talk about it. So I just want to clarify a few things, I have been building websites for over 10 years not only for me but for friends, family and local businesses. There are many people with opinions about ways to acquire traffic and which is the best source but I like a mix but I prefer it to strongly lean towards an organic search. Why?
The reason I want my organic search percentage to be high is because searching for information on the web is not going away. Social platforms have changed, evolved and new ones began but we can always rely on a google search.
As a local business or any business really you want to be on the top page for your niche or keyword. For example when I type in Business Coach Byron Bay – I want to be on the first page. So if someone in my area is looking for a biz coach I want it to be me! It doesn’t matter if you’re business is based online so you sell shoes and you have a website selling only women’s sandals. You want to work really hard at making your page one of the first when someone types in Women’s Sandles Shop.
> Click on the Acquisition Tab on the left-hand side >> click on overview.
9. Top pages viewed
The reason why I like to monitor my top pages is so that I can see if some pages are attracting more views. Perhaps my ideal clients want more information like this so I will craft content for them based on what I find here. I also might use these top pages to add in an extra CTA or an opt-in form. I always think of ways I can leverage these pages to convert them to my list or get them to stay on my site longer.
If you have been creating content for a long time you will start to notice that a few pages generally stay at the top. I had a blog post that went viral on my old blog and it still is today the number one thing that is searched on the site. On that page now I have ads and an opt-in form plus a link to five blog posts that I think they might like to check out next.
Most of you will have a ‘/’ in the top box – that is usually your homepage. To get these stats do the following:
>> Click the Behavior Tab on the left-hand side to open