There are so many different ways you can market your business. How do you know which ones are working for you?
There’s a really useful (and free) tool from Google, Google Analytics, which is a treasure trove of information about who is visiting your website and what they are doing. All the data is anonymous so you don’t know if it is your nosey neighbour or that potential client you have been eyeing up for weeks – professionally of course, but it is oh so valuable.
Let’s take a look at exactly what it tells you
1. Google Analytics shows you who your visitors are
Did you know that Google Analytics shows you the gender, age profile and interests of visitors to your website? It even shows you where they come from?
This kind of information is really useful. It shows whether you are attracting the kind of audience you want to attract. And if you aren’t, you can do something about it. You can also see the impact of changing your marketing – is it giving you more of your target audience or just more traffic?
Since becoming active on Pinterest we have noticed an increase in traffic to our website but the audience has come from a wider geography. Whereas our efforts on Instagram are giving less additional traffic but more in line with our “target”. Clever stuff which we worked out from our Google Analytics!!
2. Which pages your visitors visit
Personally I think this is the most useful feature of Google Analytics. You can see which of your pages have the most visits.
Your homepage will probably be the most visited. In our case it is clear that our audience love the case studies we show in our portfolio (you can check them out here) as they attract a lot of views. So we try to do more/change them from time to time and ensure we show a good variety of our work on that page.
Most interestingly though is traffic to your blog (if you have one). We have a couple of blog posts which get significantly more traffic than others. These pages are therefore worth revisiting to see how you can improve them. You want to ensure that when your “target audience” finds those pages they are directed through your website to the further information they need to build the “know, like and trust” factor. This is so important to your marketing success. You also want to ensure they get the information they need to decide whether they want to work with you (either now or at a time in the future when they might need your services).
And the pages that get little traffic? You can either drop them or make more of an effort promoting those pages so they do get traffic. Until people are finding them there is no point investing significant time optimising them for conversion.
3. Where your traffic comes from
I think this is the tab that most people like best. How do your visitors find you? Google Analytics shows you how many visitors come from social media and even which social media platforms.
This is not only fascinating stuff (I really do need to get out more!) but more importantly information which is useful. All that time you have spent on LinkedIn and you have had 1 website visitor in 3 months from it? Time to focus on a different platform…
You can also see how many visitors you have had from any directories, backlinks or other referral sources. Again if you’re getting a lot of traffic from one of these then maybe it is time to hunt out some more that are similar. And if you are paying for a directory but getting very little in the way of traffic from it maybe it is time to find a better home for your investment.
4. You can see how visitors behave using Google Analytics
This is my favourite. It is pure gold in terms of the data it gives you! If you go to the Audience then User Flow tab you can see the route people take through your website. You can see which pages people land on and where they go after that. The path they take.
Perhaps half the people on your home page go to the services page, then your about page and contact page. That shows you the most frequent “flow” through your website. You might see that certain pages have the highest rate of exits from your website. Is that because there is nowhere obvious for them to go next? Or is it because they are hitting the “contact me” button? Clearly if you operate a shop you want the page with the most exits to be the “checkout” page (and people checking out rather than abandoning the checkout).
Frequently visited pages with the highest exit rate (also called the “bounce rate”) are the ones you want to work on. What can you do to keep visitors on your website for longer and moving on to other pages?
5. When your traffic peak points (and low points) are
Google Analytics shows you which days of the week and times of the day have the most visitors to your website.
It shows you when your audience is active. This might therefore be a good time to post on social media (if your traffic comes from social).
Quieter times are good for working on your website. If we are working on an existing website and we’re ready to make the new website “live” we’ll always ask when the quietest time is and move the website over then. That way if there are any problems it will have the smallest impact.
6. Which kind of devices they’re using
These days mobiles are used more and more to look at websites. But not for all websites. We have several clients where the majority of their audience view their website on a desktop (two thirds of our visitors view our website on a desktop too).
Whilst all websites should be optimised for all kinds of devices, if most of your audience is mobile then you should take this into account in the design – likewise if your audience is more desktop. You might use more “scrolling” for a mobile but more “clicks” for a desktop.
Don’t assume your audience is one or the other without checking Google Analytics!!
7. Google Analytics is free
The reality is that Google Analytics gives such good data for your marketing that we would pay good money for it. But even better is the fact you don’t need to. Yes it is completely free!
All you need is to sign up for a Google Analytics account which you can do here (this is not an affiliate link – we recommend it because we use it).
It is also easy to install. You need to sign up and then link Google Analytics to your website. You do this by copying a bit of code (some words and numbers that Google will show you) and pasting them into your website in the appropriate place. Sounds too complicated? If you have a wordpress website install the MonsterInsights plugin and it has a box for you to add the code. If you have a website on another platform then just Google “how to install Google Analytics on [Squarespace/Wix/Weebly/whatever]” and you will find step by step instructions.
Google Analytics is really like having your own spy agency. You can find out so much information about what your customers do on your website and how they got there. So you can adjust your marketing to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t – basing it on facts rather than guesswork. Best of all it is free and you can add it yourself (no need to pay people like us to do it for you).
We include installing Google Analytics on all the bespoke websites we build. Because your website should work hard for you and you need to know what does (and doesn’t) work.
And if you’d like a new website building to track? You can find out more here