Google Analytics: Things to Consider
Google Analytics: Things to consider right now! Like, when should you log on to your Google Analytics dashboard. And once you get there, what should you be looking at?
Assuming you are NOT a business engaged in a Google AdWords campaign or a sophisticated search engine optimization [SEO] strategy where number of page views a day is your primary business driver, I suggest this best practice: Log into your dashboard during the first week of a seasonal change [summer, fall, winter, spring]. Reviewing your web traffic quarterly is a reasonable, achievable goal for most small business owners.
Before a Website Refresh or Rebuild
Study your site analytics before any notable website refresh or rebuild. You will uncover information that will increase your understanding of what content is effective and what content is ineffective. I always tell my clients that the day your website launches is the beginning, not the end. If you are managing your brand online, you should be prepared to make changes and add/remove content to your website over time to reflect the needs of your market.
4 Months Post Website Launch
Search engine algorithms are not know 100%, but we do know they crawl and index the pages on your website almost immediately. About 4 months after your website launches, your on-site SEO strategy has had time to settle in. I advise logging into your dashboard to review keywords searchers used to find your site. Some tweaking may be in order.
Real Time Brand Monitoring
The day may come when a person or business with great influence says something online about your brand. You can log into your dashboard and see in real time how many hits your website is getting and where these hits are coming from. As an example, on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien posted on her Facebook page a comment about my client Eat Well Enjoy Life Hummus, “it’s the best hummus on the planet!” Logging into Google Analytics and clicking on the Real-Time Overview Report showed us 800 page views in a matter of a few hours.
Once business owners understand when to log on, the next question they ask me is, “What should I be looking at?” Take this moment to log into http://www.google.com/analytics with your username and password.
What Should I Look at in my Google Dashboard?
You don’t have all day. In fact, my guess is you’re willing to give this about 10 minutes. First, I encourage you to click around your dashboard. You are not going to break anything and you’ll be pleased that the reports are self-explanatory.
4 Areas to Review:
 YOUR DASHBOARD
Here you’ll find statistics on Number of Visits to your site. Every visit is an opportunity to convert or persuade someone to do business with you! Take a moment to look at your Bounce Rate, which is the percentage of people that came to your site, looked at one page and left. A high bounce rate is not necessarily bad. For instance, it could signal you have great SEO; it’s possible that the visitor got what they needed quickly, your awesome blog post for example, and left. Sooth yourself with the thought that it often takes several touch points with a brand, especially a professional services firm, before people are willing to engage. Google Analytics has reported that the average bounce rate for a Content Website is between 40-60%.
 AUDIENCE OVERVIEW
Here you can look at New Visitors versus Returning Visitors, the Demographics of your visitors, what Browser people are using, and even track the rate at which your site is being accessed from a Mobile device.
 TRAFFIC SOURCES OVERVIEW
This overview will show you where the people came from before connecting to your site. Make note of the Search Traffic percentage, that tells you the percentage of people that found your website using a search engine. It’s good if this number is over 50% because it indicates that more than half the people likely found you as a result of good practices in SEO and Content Management.
 CONTENT OVERVIEW
Page Analytics are incredibly informative in showing what content is working, what content is not working, and what content is leading to conversion. Make note of your Site Speed to be sure your hosting company is doing their job. A high Bounce Rate combined with a long Page Load Time suggests it’s time to examine the performance of your web hosting services. Also scan through the Keywords people are using to find your site.
Google Analytics has more features and reports than you have time to study on a daily basis. But, it’s a habit worth getting into because there’s no quicker, easier, zero cost way to understand the health and functionality of your website. If you suspect you have an underperforming website and need help, call me. We are here to help!