I’ve said several times before that if you manage a website, you need to integrate with Google. Google’s tools are free. The most powerful benefit that Google gives webmasters is the vision that comes from knowing how their visitors are engaging with their websites. Over time, you can use these tools to set benchmarks to gauge what’s working, tweak what’s not, and identify new opportunities.
The old adage still rings true; you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
I stress to my clients that they should make a point to log into Google Analytics at regular intervals to compare recent activity with their own historical data. I also urge them to incorporate UTM data (code that indicates which of your tactics are converting impressions to visits) into their marketing so that they can establish ROI for their campaigns. That feature is already baked right into Analytics just waiting for you to take advantage of it.
Learning to sort through Analytics requires a little practice. It’s a robust tool with a bevy of options. But once you’ve learned to navigate it, you can understand so much about your visitors. You can see who came to your site, where they came from, and how long they stayed, and which pages they visited. You can also delve deep into technicalities like how many of your visitors came via mobile versus desktop, and which browsers and operating systems your visitors are using. You can even see their monitor resolution and their cell phone brand.
Analytics is always changing and new features are added frequently. One feature that’s fun to play with is Visitors Flow in the Audience subsection. It offers you a visual representation of how most visitors navigate your website.
In this view, you can sort by all of the usual parameters, and you can hover over certain steps for more information.
This is a fun tool to play with and it provides a bite-sized view of the typical customer experience. If you’re losing visitors before they hit the shopping cart, this will show you where they’re aborting. And if your most popular pages aren’t promoting your core message, then you can see where you need to make some changes.
If you manage a website and you’re not currently using these tools, then you need to sign up for them. If you think you need help doing that, you can always contact me for assistance.