There are scores of analytical tools on the web that can tell you all the information you need about your website’s visitor stats. But there is really only one analytical tool out there that can both boast quality and cost you nothing: Google Analytics. Unfortunately, this tool is often overlooked because of the confusing format the results are given in. Here are some facts Google analytics and what you really need to know about it and spare your cash:
Terms to Know
First of all, some of the terms Google analytics uses are pretty straightforward, but not all of them! These were particularly difficult to decipher:
– The Bounce Rate is basically the percentage of people who visit your website, but then leave after a very short time. They do visit your site, but bounce right back afterwards. You typically want to have this percentage pretty low (below 50%), otherwise that means people aren’t very interested in your content!
– Organic Traffic is what you want: visitors to your website who got there naturally, through a free search engine result.
– Ecommerce Conversion keeps track of any purchases made over your website, if applicable.
– Goal Conversion, which has to be set up separately, counts the number of activities completed on your website that contribute to the success of your business.
What You Should Do When Getting Started
Now that you actually know some of the terms, you’re probably ready to dive right in. But to make the most of the data that you’re collecting, there have to be some methods involved! These next few tips and tools should help you on your way to becoming a Google analytics pro:
How Long Is This For?
To accurately track the results you get with analytics, you have to be consistent with the amount of time you gather the data during. Google gives you the option to choose Today, Yesterday, Last Week, or Last Month as your date range. You also have the ability to compare with other weeks or months, which is extremely useful for compiling annual reports.
Customize and Use A Dashboard
A Google analytics dashboard is a one page summary of certain data you’ve gathered over a length of time. With a customizable option, you can choose the most important or most revealing data you’ve gathered to display. Then you can easily send the dashboard to your boss as an ongoing report of the website’s progress.
Be Prepared With Intelligence Events
Another cool feature of Google analytics is a tool called Intelligence Events, which sends you an alert if your website analysis catches anything out of the ordinary. Google has certain automatic alerts, such as drastic spikes or dips in the data, that it will notify you of. You can also customize your own Intelligence Events, or have an email instantly sent to you when one of your alerts is set off.
Filters Are Your Friend
No, I’m not talking about Instagram filters here. What analytics folders do is let you exclude certain IP addresses from your collected data. For example, if you’re the website administrator, you probably visit the site multiple times a day. To fix this issue, just filter yourself out from the data by excluding your IP address from the analysis. Filters can also be used to help you analyze the data from only certain areas of the world, or certain countries, to see where most of your visitors are from.
Use Inpage Analytics
This is possibly one of the coolest features available through Google analytics. Instead of getting all your website visitor data in a jumble of separate reports, in-page analytics allows you to see the percentages and statistics right on your home page. For example, on your homepage near a link to a separate page, you can place a percentage bubble that tracks and displays how many of your visitors use that link. This is incredibly useful since it is a mostly visual tool, allowing you to find errors that you probably wouldn’t with only the raw data reports.
Attend the Analytics School
It’s not as complicated as it sounds – this is a series of video-trainings that will teach you everything you need to know about Google Analytics and how to apply it to your particular business needs. https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/explorer
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