The ABCs of setting up Google Analytics
You have a website, great. That’s the first step in your online marketing arsenal.
But, do you know what’s truly happening on your website?
How many visitors do you receive? What pages do they visit? Where do they come from? Who referred them to you and so on?
Analytics can also provide information about your website’s bounce rates and engagement levels.
Do people come to your site and then just click away or do they stick around for a while?
It may sound complicated (don’t worry, it’s not), but it’s important to be across it.
For example, if your site has a high bounce rate, that means most people come to your site and the just click away.
A low engagement rate could mean your site is not attracting targeted traffic or that your site is simply not up to scratch or both.
There is a great deal of information you can get from your website analytics and you can use this information to improve and fine-tune your site so that it purrs and truly appeals to potential customers.
For a small business owner the free analytical tools offered by Google should suffice. Google offers two analytical tools that you should use.
They are Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. And the best bit is that you don’t need to be technical or a genius to use these tools – oh, and that they’re free.
There are some advanced features such as Goals but you can always ask your web developer or SEO person for some help with the more advanced stuff. Or you can read our articles on these topics.
Think of Webmaster Tools as the demand side of your online business.
Here you can see information about your website’s page impressions and rankings in the Google search engine.
If someone performs a Google search and your page is returned in the search results then that counts as an impression. You will also see in what position your page was returned.
You also get information about your page’s click through rate. When your page is returned in response to a search query and someone clicks your page that will improve your click through rate. You want lots of impressions on Page 1 or as close to Page 1 as you can get. Then you also want a good click through rate (CTR).
Below is a screenshot of the Webmaster Tools dashboard. Even a simple glance unveils lots of information.
There is a lot of valuable information you can get from Webmaster Tools.
In addition to information about your site impressions and CTR, you can see which search terms you are ranking for.
This tool also provides you with information about your site health and it will notify you of any serious errors or conditions.
This is must-have tool for a small online business.
So, how do you get it? Easy, you just need to have a Google Account. Login to your Google account and then navigate to the tool.
Next you will select the ‘Add Site’ option.
Google will ask you to verify that you are the owner of the site.
You can simply download the verification file and upload it to your website (or get your webmaster to do it for you).
Once your site is verified, you need to copy the tracking script and paste that into the appropriate file on your website.
Where the appropriate place is depends your website and the framework you are using. If you are not sure of this, simply ask your web developer to add the tracking code.
That’s it, that is all there is to it.
This is the other side of the coin. With Google Analytics you get information about your real site visitors.
How many people visited your site? Where they came from? How they got there? How long they stayed? Which pages they visited and so on?
This is great tool that gives traffic breakdown in terms of demographics, countries, languages, new visitors, returning visitors, devices, bounce rates and more.
For example, you can see from which countries your visitors came, what age groups, what language groups and what devices they use to access your site.
You can also see how many visitors were referred by search engines, social networks, video sites and other sites.
Below is a screenshot showing traffic by referral from Google Analytics.
Again, this free tool is a must-have for your small business website and, again, it’s free.
How do you get it? In exactly the same manner explained above for Webmaster Tools, login to your Google account and navigate to Google Analytics.
Select ‘Add Site’ and perform the verification. Copy and paste the tracking file. That’s it!
Both Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics are web based, meaning you access them by logging into your Google Account and the navigating to the tool.
You can then select your site and study the data.