Marketing June 2, 2016 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,964 Reads share

A Guide to Google Analytics for Small Business

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In terms of helping you know who’s visiting your site, what they’re looking at, and shaping future content for your business, nothing beats

First, What Analytics is All About

Analytics, in general, are designed to help you understand your business’ customers and your website’s audience. When you know who you’re attracting (or who you’re not), you can tweak your marketing and sales strategy accordingly.

You can see where traffic is coming from. Perhaps that site that you guest blog on regularly is sending a lot of traffic your way. This is valuable to know and you can amp up your efforts there to attract even more business. Likewise, if a site isn’t sending you much traffic at all, you can halt all marketing activities there.

Analytics can also help you gauge which of your blog’s posts are the most popular, which is useful in helping you develop more relevant content that will be a hit with your readers.

Next, Know What You Care About

There are a lot of technical features in Google Analytics, but the average user won’t need the majority of them. You can leave the digging to marketers who are more well-versed in conversion rates and other metrics.

Still, there are areas you’ll want to pay attention to, even if the platform makes your head spin. Here are a few examples:

  • Find out how your website visitors found you by looking at the referral sources. This will show you whether people are finding you on search engine listings, social media or elsewhere.
  • Discover how your customers interact with your website. Are there any pages where you’re losing potential customer’s interest? This can guide you to knowing which pages deserve your focus, helping you make adjustments and make more money long-term.

I’ll show you how to find this information in the next section, but for now, focus on your goals. Do you simply want to measure traffic over time? See which sites are referring traffic to you? Get to know the demographics of those who visit you? These are all noteworthy objectives.

Some Key Data to Pay Attention To

The first step is knowing what you want to learn by looking at your Google Analytics. From there, you can hone in on the specific analytics that will help you monitor your progress.

Here are nine key data points you might want to pay attention to.

  1. Knowing the number of visits your site gets is a fundamental metric to track. Google Analytics will tell you this as soon as you open your dashboard. Watch this metric as you try new marketing tactics to determine if you’re seeing a spike in traffic. (One tip here: only try one new marketing strategy at a time so you can measure results better. Too many variables and you won’t be sure what’s causing the results).
  2. Start tracking your numbers before a campaign, then look at them during and after to understand how that campaign moved the needle. Use this information to help you plan the next campaign. You can get data for the past 30 days or customize to get a different date range or compare date ranges.
  3. Want to know more about who’s on your site? Check out your demographics. This is insightful information about the gender, age group, and location of the people who visit your site. If you see that most of your audience is men in their 40s and 50s, that might influence how you market to them or even what products you carry in the future.
  4. Understanding where your traffic is coming from is helpful in marketing. Under the Acquisition tab in Analytics, you can get a high-level view of the channels that send traffic to you like direct search, social media, and email, or you can dive in under Source/Medium to see exactly how much traffic each site sent. The top 10 on this list is where you want to put more energy so that you can increase referrals from those channels.
  5. You also want to know what people looked at while on your site. On the product side, this data can quickly identify popular products…or ones that might need some help. Let’s say your top seller is Product A, but the most visited product page is Product B. This brings up some questions: why isn’t it selling better? Is it priced too high? Is something broken on that page? The analytics can be a starting point for further investigation.
  6. On the content side, seeing the content people are looking at tells you what you’re doing right on your blog. If your post, “Top 10 Apps for Busy People” has gotten more views than any other, consider using that as a launchpad for future blog posts and maybe an ebook to leverage it across your content marketing efforts.
  7. Look at your bounce rate to get a sense for how many people landed on your homepage and left immediately before clicking any other page. This usually indicates that they didn’t see what they were looking for or were otherwise turned off by your site. Again, this will take some investigation, but make sure any ads you have are using proper keywords that don’t mislead people to click to your site. Ensure that your homepage is appealing and doesn’t have annoying pop-ups that might send people running.
  8. Another interesting metric to look at is the new vs. returning visitors. You want a healthy balance of new and returning, because you want to provide value to those who come to your site so that they’ll come back to read your blog or buy from you, but you also want new potential customers to discover your brand. A high percent of new visitors tells you that people aren’t coming back for more, and you need to explore the reason why.
  9. And finally, examine your average session duration to understand how long the typical visitor is spending on your site. The longer, the better, naturally. If you’re seeing times of under a minute or so, look for the reasons.

Start slow with Google Analytics, getting to know each data point that interests you. In just a few sessions of looking at the information, you’ll become more savvy and be able to apply that to your marketing.

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