How to start with Google Analytics

Google Analytics

If you have a website then you might already have Google Analytics set up.  If you don’t, let’s fix that immediately.

If you don’t know what Google Analytics is, it’s a tool that allows you to monitor and measure the traffic on your website. Tracking visitors that come through your website can provide a whole range of insight and ultimately generate improvements to help you increase sales.

The best part: it’s completely free and incredibly easy to setup. Here’s where you can get started.

One of the great features of Google Analytics is that anyone can use it, from a first-time user who’s looking for basic information right through to Analytics Veterans doing a data deep-dive analysis. If you’re the former and haven’t used it before, the best way to learn is to jump in the deep end.

Install the analytics on your website, check to see if it’s collecting data, and then leave it to run for a month. At the end of the month, jump in and start to explore the last 30 days of data you’ve collected. In the beginning, you’ll be able to get a feel for things by looking for data such as:

  • How many visitors have been to your site since you set up the code?
  • How many pages do visitors go to?
  • How long do users spend on your site?
  • Are your visitors new or returning?

Once you’ve found your feet and you’re paddling, you can start to explore some of the other areas of analytics beyond the basic dashboard of information. Once you’re ready for it, you can begin to look for things such as:

  • Which pages are the most popular?
  • What sources does your traffic come from? Search engines? Advertising? Other websites?
  • What keywords do customers use to find your business in Google?
  •  Which pages have the highest exit rate?  (Where do users most often leave your page?)
  • Where are your visitors located?

Of course, the data is useless without analysis and action. For example, I worked with a client who ran a small business with a website that received decent traffic. She had Analytics installed, but didn’t do much with it other than the occasional glance at the basics.  She was alarmed that most of her traffic spent only a few seconds on her website before leaving.

So we jumped into the Analytics and discovered that an large proportion of her visitors were browsing on a mobile device. I jumped on my iPhone and discovered her website didn’t work properly. So we created a mobile optimised version, and the time spent on her site grew significantly.

That’s just one example of what you might be able to do to improve your business’s website. But for now, start small with the basics and get more sophisticated when you’re ready. So install it on your website, collect some data and begin to explore—you never know what you might discover.