The Importance of Web Analytics: The 3 Questions Google Analytics Can Answer
You have followed Hinge's website planning guide exactly and your new website is up and running. You have optimized the pages for SEO, created effective and enticing conversion actions, and you are promoting content in social media. Now you can just sit back and watch the leads come in, right?
Not exactly. You still need to monitor what's happening on your website, and that's where web analytics come in. Web analytics allow you to track all kinds of activity on your site, such as:
- How many visitors are coming to your website?
- How those visitors are getting there?
- How they are behaving while they are there?
So, where can you find all of this information? Well, it's all right there in Google Analytics.
How many visitors are coming to your website?
The main screen of Google Analytics gives you a quick overview of key statistics, such as how many visits your website has received and how many of those visitors are unique (that is, if you counted each person only once). It also gives us detailed information about how long those people were staying on the website and how many pages they visited. (In case you were wondering, the information in Google Analytics is anonomous, so you can't identify a specific visitor or company.)
How are people finding your website?
This can be answered using the Traffic Sources section. In this section Google Analytics gives the user a breakdown of where their traffic is coming from, this is broken down into 5 groups:
- Referral traffic — visitors who clicked on a link to your website from another website (including social media)
- Direct traffic — visitors directly type in your URL or have bookmarked your site
- Organic search — visitors who entered a search term into a search engine and clicked through to your site
- Campaigns — visitors who clicked on a paid ad in Google search. This information can be especially useful to see what keywords are drawing in visitors.
What are visitors doing on your website?
When you created your website you had a goal, something that you wanted visitors to accomplish on your site. This could be to download a report or to request a proposal. Maybe it was both! Now that your website is up and running, you can use web analytics to discover if people are converting on those actions. These reports can be found in the Conversions section of Google Analytics. To be able to track goals and conversions, however, you have to first set them up (click here for instructions). Once you've got goals set up, Google Analytics will track the completion of those goals and where those visitors are coming from. Then you can begin to understand which keywords phrases and social media platforms are producing results on your site.
The real importance of website analytics is that it allows you to monitor what is and is not working on your website, as well as where visitors are and are not going on your website. Finally, you'll know what content on your website interests your visitors, and what they are looking for when they arrive. If visitors seem to be coming for the wrong reasons, a few simple changes to your website could attract a whole new segment of visitors who will be entering your website for the right reasons!
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