You’ve probably heard of Google Analytics. It is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Given the fact that your website is the central hub of your business's digital presence, your website analytics is the best way to help you better understand your online customers. Although Google Analytics may seem complex, having a solid understanding of what it can do can take your business to the next level.
Using Google Analytics to Grow Your Small Business
The amount of data within Google Analytics is massive. It is a dream come true for stat geeks who will quickly immerse themselves in the sea of data. That data is what business owners need to make actionable changes. Whether you like the data or are overwhelmed by it, here are some simple ways to improve your website which will then improve your business.
Who Is Visiting Your Website?
As a business owner, you have a general understanding of who your target customer is, right? Let’s say your current customer base is females aged 24-35, living within 30 miles of your business.
But, are the same people coming to your physical location the same ones that are visiting your website? Google Analytics can help with that.
How to: Go to Audience in the sidebar > Geo > Location.
Drill down as deep as you would like to find out where your website users are coming from. You can find age and gender data under Audience, then Demographics.
If you find out that most of your digital audience does not fit your target customer, it is worth considering why and how you can change your marketing approach to better suit your current audience. Additionally, if your digital audience doesn’t match your target audience, many of your website metrics will be affected. This will lead to poor website performance and rankings.
What Web Pages Are Slow?
Sometimes web pages don’t work as intended. Among the many issues that affect a web page is that it can take forever to load. Well, Google Analytics is there to provide insight into page speed issues.
How to: Go to Behavior in the sidebar > Site Speed.
A slow website can harm your brand, so make sure you avoid the most common mistakes.
Learn How Fast Visitors are Leaving Your Site, and From What Pages
Attracting more visitors to your website is one way to increase sales, but attempting to limit the number of people that leave your site without converting is more cost-effective and successful.
If users aren't staying, you may want to make your website design more attractive. Make sure it is clean, modern and easy to navigate. If users can’t figure out how to use your website, they are going to leave. Keep it simple and design your website so the content users want is easy to find. If web design isn’t your thing, consider hiring a company to design a custom website to give you a competitive edge.
In Google Analytics, you can see which pages have a high exit rate. Some pages will have a higher exit rate, such as a ‘Thank You’ page on a form. But for others, like the payment page of the checkout process, something about the experience may be causing people to leave. Check out these pages for yourself and see if anything jumps out at you.
How to: Go to Behavior in the sidebar > Site Content > All Pages > Avg Time on Page column.
How to: Go to Behavior in the sidebar > Site Content > Exit Pages.
Also, take a look at any webpages with high page views and low exit rates. Why are people staying on those pages? Perhaps there is something that can be replicated on your less-effective pages.
How Are Your Competitor's Websites Doing?
Worried about your competitor’s online presence? Well, Google Analytics can give you some insights into the competition. Through Benchmarking, you can see how you are doing compared to other websites in the same industry.
After opting-in and allowing Google to use your own data, you will have the ability to overlay industry averages on top of your statistics. This data isn’t 100% accurate because not all of your competitors are using Google Analytics, or they may not have opted into Google Benchmarking. But, this can give you a general perspective on how your site is doing.
By comparing stats such as ‘average time on site’ and ‘bounce rate,’ you can get a better idea of how you stack up against other websites that are competing for the same audience.
How to: Go to Audience in the sidebar > Benchmarking
Is Your Website Compatible With Your User’s Screen And Device?
The Screen Resolution section in Google Analytics allows you to see what resolution your customers are using. Why does this matter? If one size is predominantly more popular, you may have space to add more to your site. Although more isn’t always better, if your users have giant screens you can enhance their user experience by filling in some gaps. Or, you may learn that most of your users view your website from a small screen, which means they are using a mobile device.
Whether your users come to you from their desktop, mobile, or tablet devices, keep in mind the value of whitespace and how it is the fundamental building block of good design. Whitespace creates balance and can lead a reader from one element to the next. An overcluttered website will chase users away, but a clean and simple design will be more effective are growing your business.
How to: Go to Audience In the sidebar > Technology > Browser & OS > Screen Resolution
Likewise, if any of your users are on mobile devices, you need to optimize for a smaller screen size. Using a responsive design adapts to the dimensions of the user’s screen, ensuring that they will have a positive user experience.
How to: Go to Audience in the sidebar > Mobile
Who Is Sending You Traffic?
Search engines may be a huge source of traffic for your website, but what if users are finding your website from other sources? From social media? From other businesses or strategic partners? Referring websites add a new dynamic to the user experience as these users are coming from another website directly to your website.
Referral traffic is important because it sends possible buyers to your website from other sites that likely have the same target audience. You can learn about the interests of the customers coming from the referring website and optimize your content for them.
How to: Go to Acquisition in the sidebar > Overview > Referral
Google Analytics can help you understand how users behave on your website. Once you understand their behavior, you can adjust your strategy with your business goals in mind.
Next Step to Grow Your Business
To learn more about how Google Analytics can help grow your business, contact us today. We help many businesses optimize their website and are happy to provide a free web assessment to discuss how yours can be improved as well.