Let’s make Google Analytics less scary:
5 things you should be paying attention to!
Even though most of us creatives hear the word “analytics” and our eyes start to roll back into our head and we begin to have visions of nerdy teachers with pocket protectors droning on and on about statistical relevance and bell charts….I promise you….it’s NOT as bad as it sounds! Knowing the right things to look at, why you should look at them and then what to do with that info once you’ve found it makes ALLLL the difference in the world. Pinky swear. Let’s dive in!
What even is Google Analytics?
In a nutshell, Google Analytics (GA) is a free web analytics service provided by Google. It tracks and reports website traffic. If you have a website for your creative small business (ahem…which you definitely should) then you need to be in the know about GA.
Looking at reports about your website traffic may seem kind of scary at first (WHAT IF NO ONE EVER VISITS MY SITE?!?!?!), trust me, you will have traffic and you will find the information interesting, especially after a few months. So while it may seem like looking at Google Analytics is really only for everyone else, trust me, it’s is for you too!!
How do I make sure the Google is tracking my site?
Even though Google seems like the great and powerful OZ (I mean c’mon…it’s basically reading our minds at all times) it won’t just start tracking and reporting until you ask it too. Luckily, they have made it relatively easy for all this to happen.
Basically you will need to sign up for an account, and then set up your property (your website) and then install the tracking code on the back end of your website. It works a little differently for whatever type of website you have so here is a where can i buy amoxicillin 500mg straight from Google.
What do I look at?
Once you have everything all setup, and verified, Google will start to track and report on your site. It’s important to remember to give it some time to start gathering information so I would recommend setting it all up and then setting a reminder to go back in and check it in one month so you can really start to see a good set of data that might actually tell you something important.
It’s also a good idea to set a recurring task to check GA every month or every quarter. Looking at your analytics can be fascinating but it’s not something that’s always top of mind (until you come across a blog post about it #amIright?). So setting some sort of reminder or notification to go and take a look through things can be super helpful in the long run!
Check the following five things:
Alright, once you go back in to take a look, things can get overwhelming FAST. GA is a really powerful tool that can provide you with a LOT of information so it’s important to know what the most important and helpful stats are for you to dive into so you can get good feedback about how your website is actually performing.
1. Traffic overview
The place you want to start is looking at your overall traffic. Is the number of website visitors going up? Going down? Staying the same? In general, I like to look at 3 month time frames so you can get a decent sense of what the traffic has been like recently, however looking at 6mo and 12mo data can also be really helpful. You can get a sense for how your traffic has grown over time or you can see where dips are happening throughout the year.
Your traffic overview is displayed right as you log into GA. You can change the date range from the bottom left corner of the graph that is displayed. You are able to see your number of users, number of sessions, bounce rate and session duration right from that general traffic overview graph.
2. Time on Site
The amount of time people are spending on your site matters for a few different reasons. If your website is confusing or doesn’t lead people throughout your content, visitors will click away and go on to the next best thing. Keeping people on your site longer gives your content more time to draw them in, fall in love with you and give you buckets of money. Who doesn’t want that?
According to Google, average session duration for traffic coming in from Google organic search is 53 seconds. The average session duration for direct traffic is 1 minute and 50 seconds. If you are noticing your session duration is really low, you might want to focus on creating more content on your site that is interesting and engaging and also including more click throughs to make it easier for people to know exactly where you want them to go next when they are visiting your site. In short, every single page on your website should give the visitor the ability to easily click on to somewhere else (don’t just depend on your navigation bar!)
3. Where is the traffic coming from?
This is HUGE!!! You need to know where your traffic is coming from already so you can either: 1) put more emphasis on that channel because you are already drawing traffic, or 2) you can know where you need to focus on if you aren’t getting any traffic from a source you know might be good.
You can see from the screenshot below that Pinterest is my #1 referral source and is by far the biggest source of traffic to my site. I haven’t put a ton of effort into Pinterest and it is still drawing lots of traffic to my site on a daily basis. This tells me that my content is resonating and if I put more effort into Pinterest, my traffic will likely grow and grow.
You can also look through all of the referral sources in order to find out places that are sharing your site or your content that you didn’t even know about! Trust me, you will find this info interesting, browse around and you will absolutely learn so much about how people are landing on your site!
Navigate to Acquisition > Source/Medium to check out this info!
4. What are your most popular pages/posts?
This section of GA is also hugely helpful in determining what content on your site is already popular. You can get a quick snapshot of what exact pages on your site are performing well and which ones aren’t getting any traffic love.
You can see from my screenshot below how I am able to easily see which of my posts are the most visited and from that I can determine if I want to build products or services that focus on that content. I can also determine which content already has a lot of eyes on it in case I want to add an opt in on that page. Adding opt-ins on pages that hardly get any views won’t do much for you, so make sure to include them on your already popular content.
In order to check this info out go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
5. How much of your traffic is mobile?
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on how much of your traffic is from mobile devices. We are all becoming more and more used to accessing websites on our phones so ensuring your website is mobile friendly should be one of your top priorities. Especially if you find from GA that the majority of sessions on your site are mobile.
If your website is clunky to navigate from a mobile perspective you will likely have higher bounce rates. We all know what it’s like to access a non-mobile friendly website from our phones so don’t leave your potential clients frustrated while trying to access your website on the go.
Access this info at Audience > Mobile > Overview
Alrighty!! I hope you found this helpful and I hope that you are feeling a little more comfortable navigating all around inside Google Analytics! Want more awesome tips on photography, business and blogging? Come join me!
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