Many businesses spend time and money developing web sites to promote their products and services only to then let them sit and wonder if it is doing them any good.
The only way to understand how your web site is performing is to analyse the traffic to it. How many people are visiting it? How long do they stay on the site? Which pages do they go to? What search terms did they use to find you?
Google Analytics allows to you do all of this for free and is invaluable if you want to make your web site work for you.
So how do you make Analytics work for your site?
The first thing required is to get your web site developer to add the special code required to enable Google Analytics. The exact details can be found at the address below but most good web developers will be familiar with this.
Next you will need to create a login for your own Analytics account. To do this go to www.google.com/analytics, choose the sign up option and follow the instructions.
What can Google Analytics do for you?
Once the code is in place and you have a login then after a few days you will start to build useful information about visitor habits that will allow to improve your site performance.
For example, the Site Usage gives a summary of how many visitors the site is getting, how long each visitor is on the site, and what percentage come to the site and then quickly leave (the Bounce Rate).
How can this information enable you to improve your web site?
A high Bounce Rate shows that although you may be attracting visitors, they are immediately leaving the site. Check what page they are landing on (usually your home page) and change it to try to appeal more. Also, make sure it is easy for visitors to navigate through the site to find what they’re looking for.
The Content Overview shows you which pages are being visited the most. Perhaps visitors are not going to pages that you expect them to or want them to – if this is the case then increase the exposure of those pages on the home page. If visitors are attracted to certain pages then make sure these contain content that will make them want to contact you.
Traffic Sources Overview is incredibly useful as it shows what sites are directing visitors to your site and what search terms they are using to find you. Are the search terms what you would expect? If not then change the site to focus towards the phrases your target market would use. Are there any sites that are sending visitors to your site that you weren’t aware of that you could do more with?
Take time to really analyse what’s happening on your site, change the site accordingly to improve the responses and you will eventually create a site that creates a tangible return on investment.