One of the most valuable free tools online for any small business owner, blogger, or a person developing their own ecommerce site is Google Analytics. This is not just one simple tool, but rather a way to understand the pattern of behavior for people visiting your site.
This is essential for several reasons. The most obvious is that it allows you to learn how people are accessing your site, and then to develop a strategy to improve this access and to develop additional ways to drive traffic to your website.
To understand more completely how effective and helpful this free service can be, let’s take a closer look at the various features and the information that is just a click away.
To get started, you will first need to create a Google Analytics account. This is simple as you just visit the Google Analytics site and click through, providing the necessary information.
You can then set up the account to track the basics as well as any specific information you require. This is even applicable to tracking traffic and use of mobile apps; it is not just restricted to website information and analytics.
On the account dashboard, you will then want to take a look at the audience section. This will provide you with a valuable snapshot of the behavior of your viewers, the audience, including if they are a new or returning visitor.
Additionally, you can see how many pages people view on your site. This is important when compared to the number of sessions, or the time they spent on your site, and the actual number of viewers.
The goal is always not just to bring people to the site (users), but to create an interest in moving through the site (pageviews) and also reading and interacting with the content (sessions).
One very important consideration is known as the bounce rate. You want to have a very low bounce rate as this means people came to your site, looked at the landing page, and then bounced right back off.
A high bounce rate can be an indicator of problems with a slow loading site, incorrect use of keywords that is bringing in the wrong viewers or users, or a website that simply is not grabbing people’s attention and interest to look at another page.
Returning Visitors and New Visitors
For any business to keep growing you need new visitors, but you also need your current customers to return to make purchases, interact with the content, or spend time on your site in learning more about your products or services.
For most established online sites, a good ratio to look for is 60 percent returning customers to 40 percent new customers. This is true if you are between campaigns and not offering any special promotions, ad programs or incentives. You can expect the existing customer numbers to jump up after you send out a marketing email or if you are running some type of promotion.
When you are running a new advertising campaign, including social media marketing, direct marketing or even traditional types of marketing that are providing the URL of your website, you should expect to see new visitors exceed returning visitors.
This can be an extremely effective way to determine which advertising campaigns are actually working with existing and new customers. To get a clear picture, run one campaign at a time and then compare the analytics through the dashboard.
There are other options in the Audience component of Google analytics that apply specifically to behavior, geographic locations, demographics of your visitors and a host of other interesting factors to help you refine your understanding of your target audience.
Other issues to consider with the information provided through Google Analytics are keyword analytics, the actual performance of links you have on your site with regards to bringing in new viewers, and even the interest of the customers and where else they spend their online time.
Google Analytics is very easy to use, and it provides an advanced look at your website from a unique perspective. By applying the information, you can improve your site. It can continually keep evolving to match your growing customer base, which is a very important factor in a successful online business.