How to Use Google Analytics for Small Business
We’re sure by now you know that we are firmly in the camp that businesses need websites.
Unlike your social media accounts (which we also love!) you own your website content in a much more significant way. But, having a website isn’t a one-and-done situation. Websites take ongoing care (which is why we offer maintenance plans for our clients) to stay up to date and effective for your clients. One key thing that we’ve noticed a lot of small businesses skip is checking your Google Analytics! Although it can be overwhelming at first, it’s important to learn how to use Google Analytics for small businesses.
What is Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of Google’s marketing tools. It gives you data about how your website is performing. It lets you know how people access and use your website so you can better understand your customers.
Google Analytics can also collect data outside of websites, you can track apps too! But we find most small businesses have a website only, so that is where we will focus this blog.
Why Do You Need Google Analytics
Without Google Analytics it’s hard to know how your website is performing. With the information you can get from Google Analytics you can make decisions about what pages on your website may need some updates, where to focus more of your time on social media, and how your users behave on your website.
Google Analytics helps you answer questions like:
- How many people are visiting your website?
- Which pages on your website get the most traffic?
- What are their demographics (like age, location, language)?
- What device (phone, computer, tablet) do they use when using your site?
- What internet browser (like Chrome or Safari) do people use?
- What websites direct traffic to your site?
- Which social media platform sends the most people to your site?
- How much of my traffic is organic, and what keywords do they use to get there?
How to Set Up Google Analytics
If your website doesn’t already have Google Analytics, set it up now! Google can’t give you data from before the code was installed on your website, so the sooner you do it, the better. Setting up a Google Analytics account is simple:
- Go to analytics.google.com
- Sign into your Google account
- Set up your account with a name, your website URL, industry category and time zone.
- Grab the Google Analytics code and add to your website (this looks scary at first but is simple to do! Many content management systems have the option for plugins to do this for you.)
- Give Google a little bit of time to catch up and you can get analytical data from your website!
If this is the first time your website will have analytic data, resist the urge to dive into the data. We suggest giving it at least two weeks to compile data before making changes so you have a baseline to look at.
A Few Helpful Definitions
Before digging into the data that you can find on Google Analytics, there are a few terms you’ll need to know.
- User: Think of the user as the one individual person visiting your website.
- Bounce: When a user makes it to your website, doesn’t interact, and then leaves the website.
- Bounce Rate: This measures the percentage of users who bounce.
- Pageview: Total number of times a page has been viewed.
- Session: The group of activities that a person does on your website. This includes the different number of pages they visited, actions taken, and how long they stayed on the site before leaving.
Here are a few examples of these metrics working together:
If one user simply visited one page and then left the website, they would have triggered one user, one-page view, and one page per session. If they visited five different pages, it would count towards one user, five-page views for the website, and five pages per session.
Navigating the Google Analytics Home Page
One reason people don’t use Google Analytics as much or as often as they should is that it’s so overwhelming to look at. The default view of the home page has 12 different charts, graphs, and tables to look at! We know it’s a bit much at first, so we’ll direct you to the most important metrics to keep an eye on.
On the home page, the number one thing to look at is the very first graph. It shows your users, sessions, bounce rate, and average session duration over the last seven days. Keep an eye on how many people are visiting your website and for how long – if there are any sudden changes it may mean there is a problem with your site.
We also suggest keeping an eye on the top pages users are visiting. This can give you a good idea of the content on your website that is working well for you.
Both of these metrics are covered in an overview on the home page. For more detailed information, check out the different reports found in the left-hand side bar.
Our favorite to look at is the acquisition tab! This helps you find how people have found your website. Click on the acquisition, then overview and you’ll get a look at how people are finding your website. From there you can click on the different options to see, for example, which social media site sends the most traffic to your site.
See It In Action!
Our Marketing Manager, Allison, covers all of this with a visual guide in our video below!
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