Making Sense of Google Analytics in a Few Easy Steps
If you’ve recently started using an analytics tool to try to figure out your website traffic, then you know there’s a lot of information there, but not a lot of information about what to do with it. And that’s a little intimidating – numbers and statistics aren’t for everyone. We’re here for you.
Today we’re breaking down Google Analytics into bite-sized pieces. The key to making sense of Google Analytics is understanding which data is most important for you to track and focus on. Once you know what to look for (and understand what it means) you can begin to adapt (optimize!) your website for better performance. The more you know about your visitors, the more you can provide content to keep them engaged.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can find out using Google Analytics.
- How many people visit my website?
- Where do my visitors live?
- What websites send visitors to mine?
- What websites and social media platforms bring the most traffic to my website?
- Which pages on my website are the most popular/visited?
- Are people leaving my site too quickly?
- Where did my converting visitors come from and go to on my website?
- How can I improve my site’s speed?
These are questions that any website needs to have answers to. Now let’s look at some key metrics you can (and should track) to provide you with some answers.
Landing Pages – Your home page, your About Us page, your blog. Find out who goes where and how often – which will tell you about your most popular content. You can also take a look at “stickiness”—how long a visitor stays on a particular page.
Countries – Here in Aruba we host people from many countries. Not only can you see where your visitors are coming from, you can then make decisions about marketing to them. Will you use Facebook to target them in their countries? Are you localizing content in a way that attracts the most traffic?
Devices – What devices are people using to get to your site? Are they in an office behind a desktop, sitting on the beach with their phone, or on the couch with an iPad? Of course you may not know exactly where they are browsing from but this device information can help you see how people engage – and help you tailor your content to be easily visible on those devices.
Source of Traffic – Where are your visitors coming from? Are they getting to you through social media, other website referrals, or paid advertising? This can help focus your efforts to improve traffic quality.
Queries – Allows you to see what visitors are searching for on your site, as well as which pages they want to see but can’t easily access. You can then shuffle the deck to showcase the content they are looking for.
Bounce Rate – Crucial! Google says that this metric tells you the percentage of your visitors that navigate away after only seeing one page. But it is a whole lot more than this, Bounce Rate is very powerful when combined with the Sources of Traffic, Landing Pages and other metrics. If the bounce rate is low on your traffic sources, you know they are sending you quality, relevant traffic. As a rule of thumb a low bounce rate is considered to be 35% and below.
Pages – Top pages – the ones that your visitors navigate to and that have the best stickiness. Exit page – the last page your visitor sees before exiting your site. Know where you’re losing them.
Site speed – Super important. You know from your own experience that nothing makes you exit a site faster than a slow loading time. A good look at this data can tell you which pages have too many redirects, overly large images, or even if you need to switch to a better, speedier host!
While these metrics are a great place to start, they are only the beginning. Google Analytics has evolved into a very complex piece of software with many options and settings. We can help you identify issues, measure and improve. Contact us if you would like to dig deeper into your Google Analytics or for more information.