If you are a webmaster than you are probably familiar with Google Analytics, and even if you aren’t you probably heard of it. In many cases webmaster install Google Analytics on website and forget about it, while many webmasters don’t even bother setting it up.
So what is the big deal about this tool and why should you use it?
As you can see from the name, Google Analytics is website analytics tool
Now, when you started with setting up hosting for your new website you probably noticed that your hosting provider already gave you a website analytic tool, which can be found on your cpanel. If you think using that tool is all you need for your website analysis, you are mistaken. Although those tools are most likely already set up for your new website, you should additionally set up Google Analytics. We will explain why.
Google Analytics Basics
As a website analytics tool, Google Analytics covers all the basic statistics of your website but also gives you better in-depth reports
. There can be very helpful for improving your website.
So the purpose
of Google Analytics is to help you understand how your visitors behave on your website. Understanding your visitors gives you valuable feedback. You are unable to detect users behavior if some of the web stats are missing or the data is incomparable to other stats or metrics. Google analytics is capable of doing all this and of comparing the provided data.
Google Analytics Installation
Installation of Google Analytics isn’t complicated so you should be up and running in no time. To start, you need to have a Google account
. If you have more websites you want to track, you can have up to 50 website properties
under one Google Analytics account.
Once you decide with which account you will go, you need to go to Google Analytics
and click “Sign in” on the top right corner. There you’ll find 3 steps to follow in order to setup your account.
After you click “Sign up”, follow the registration process by entering required information about your website. Once you are done, you will receive a unique code
that needs to be inserted on every page of your website.
Depending on how your website is structured depends how this will be done, some CMS or eCommerce platforms have various places or plugins where tracking code should be inserted. In most cases this code is placed in the website footer to make sure all pages are included
If you are unsure on how to place the code correctly you should let professional developers do it for you or just contact us!
Important metrics to track
After you got Google Analytics set up, you will be presented with a user interface consisting of many options. There are few basic metrics that you should keep an eye on.
1. Number of visitors and page views
This will give you insight on how many visitors your website get in certain period of time
. Keep in mind that page views
(sessions) are not the same thing as page visits
. One visitor can get you multiple page views, that’s why the page views count is always bigger than the number of visitors.
Having a high number of page views is valuable because it means that visitors are interacting with your site by browsing other pages of your website. The goal of every webmaster’s efforts is to have as many users as possible on his website.
If you work on your website and optimize it well, you will notice increase of users visiting your website. This brings us to the source of incoming traffic.
2. Traffic sources
Knowing from where your visitors come is also very important information and that’s what traffic sources will show you. If you are doing some marketing activities to attract visitors, you will get a complete overview over the situation. This metrics will show you how many visitors, and from which websites, came.
That valuable information will provide you with feedback on where you should increase or decrease marketing activities.
There are three different types of visitors when it comes to traffic sources:
- Direct visitors: These are visitors that came to your website directly, in most cases they are returning visitors.
- Referral visitors: These visitors came from an other website, you can see from which website.
- Organic visitors: Visitors that came from the search engine (Google).
Doing marketing for your website should result in new referral and organic visitors. Organic visitors are extremely valuable
because they are the targeted audience which came from the search engine while searching for relevant content.
We recommend to make at least basic SEO for your website to increase the number of organic visitors. Correctly SEO optimized website
also decreases the bounce rate.
3. Bounce rate
Not all metrics are good when they are high, the bounce rate shows you the percentage of visitors that immediately leave your website
. This happens when visitors don’t find what they were expecting.
The bounce rate is a common occurrence, but if you spot that your bounce rate is getting higher over the time then you should be alarmed. If that is the case then check if the content of your website matches the descriptions and also see if the website is correctly displayed on other devices (like smartphones).
Goals Tracking in Google Analytics
Make sure to define your goals
in your Google Analytics account. This will help you track results. Goals can be used to track different events that can occur after marketing campagins.
In Google Analytics there are four ways to track goals:
The URL destination goal
- URL Destination goal
- Time goal
- Pages visit goal
- Event goal
tracks which URLs are being visited by users. Once the user visits a specific URL, it triggers the goal. This type of the goal is the most commonly used as in most cases you would like visitors to a visit specific page of your website (like the offer page).
URL destination goals can also be set in a way that they are triggered only when visitors come from a certain page. For example if you would like to set a goal for when users visit the “Thank you” page, you can set the goal in a way it’s accomplished only when users come from the payment page.
If the “Thank you” page is opened from any other source, the goal is not accomplished. The Time goal
tracks how much time visitors spent on a certain page. It can also be set to track vistors that spent “greater than” or “less than” time, given time limit. This is a very useful goal if you have articles or videos on your website, it will give you the idea how many visitors actually read article or watched whole video. The Pages visit goal
shows you how many pages were visited by visitors before leaving your website. It can also be set to “greater than”, “equal to” or “less than” the given value.
If you would like to know how many pages are opened by your visitors, this will help you segment them. If you have an eCommerce website this type of goal can show you how many products are seen by visitors. The Event goal
is able to track any other events that you find important. For example you can track if visitors pressed certain buttons or entered information in some of the fields on your website.
We recommend letting professionals to deal with the Google Analytics goal set up, because wrong configured goals can give you wrong results leading you to wrong conclusions and actions.
Using Google Analytics will help you to better understand your users. Compared to other alternatives it gives you deep analytic on how users behave and what they like or dislike on your website. Since it tracks so many website stats (there are many more that aren’t mentioned here) it provides a very detailed reports. Except that it is a great web analytic tool, its reports are also used as a standard when doing a website evaluation
If you are asked to present your website stats, it is a common standard to use Google Analytics for it. Considering all of that, Google Analytics is a must-have tool for your website.
In case you need help with Google Analytics, feel free to contact us