Google Analytics helps you improve web design and increase sales

Published: Friday, June 29th, 2018

Google analytics (GA) is a free tool that small business owners can use to monitor web traffic and behaviour on your website. If you have no idea how your business website is performing then this tool is one that you should familiarise yourself with. To use it you must open a Google Analytics account and have your website synched up with Google in order for them to track data about your visitors’ behaviour. This requires a piece of tracking code from your website. Those of you with basic web design skills will know how to get the code but for those of you who don’t, ask your web developer for help. Once you are hooked up, you can begin tracking visitor activity on your web pages.  On the homepage you will find sets of data that provide an overview of your website visitor activity, but GA is a powerful tool that allows you to drill down further into the raw data to identify behavioural patterns on your web pages. We will cover those in more depth later, but for all you beginners here are some of the basic data sets to get you started.

What is your website traffic?

The purpose of the analytics tool is to give you an idea of which pages on your website perform well and which ones don’t in terms of visitor traffic and conversions. You need to be able to identify the web pages with low traffic, or pages with poor conversions rates such as your product sales pages. Knowing there is an issue with a particular page means you can do something about it. It gives you and your web design team a chance to discuss the issues that may be negatively affecting a web page from the visitor’s point of view. GA has a calendar that allows you to measure the activity on your website within any given time period e.g. 7 days, 28 days, 90 days, 6 months, a whole year. Once you set your required time-frame Google provides you with the raw data for that given period.  Here are some of the traffic results you will see right on the analytics home page.

• Users: number of visitors to your website per time period
• Sessions: total number of sessions the users had on your website within the time period
• Bounce rate: how many visitors left your website without viewing more than one page (the lower the bounce the better!)
• Session duration: average time each visitor spent on your website per session

how a small business can use big data

How did you acquire users?

 

When did your users visit?

What time of the day are your visitors most active on your website? Initially, this data may seem relevant only to large companies whose websites may have live chat support services who interact in real time with visitors. Why would this data be important to a small business? Well let’s say you want to make some significant web development changes to the back end of your website. If the raw data shows your visitors are mostly on your website between 12 noon and 5pm, then you do not want your developer making changes during those peak activity times. Make and test the changes outside of those peak times in order to ensure your visitors have an unhindered browsing experience. Knowing your peak visitor times may also be handy for publishing new information on the site regarding special offers, sales or events.

google analytics

Where are your users?

Are your web visitors mostly in Ireland or the UK? How about further afield? Maybe you have significant numbers of visitors from Canada, the USA or Australia. This kind of raw data may influence your decision making and potentially help you increase sales by targeting your offers and web content at people in other countries and regions. This kind of raw data helps you adjust your digital marketing strategy.

What pages did your users visit?

Which page on your website attracts the most people in any given period? You may have 50 product pages. You may offer a range of different services. Which exact products and service pages are people visiting the most? How much traffic does your testimonial page get? How is your blog page performing? The pages doing well speak for themselves but the pages that are failing to attract any visitors need attention.  Perhaps you are making it too difficult for people to find the poor performing pages. Here are some quick tips on internal links to help you deal with this problem; visit understanding web design and the customer journey.

How are your active users trending over time?

An interesting feature in Google Analytics is the interactive line graph. Using your mouse and cursor you can track the number of visitors to your site over the course of a day, a week or a month. It’s a handy visual tool that provides you with a raw data overview of how your website is performing from month to month. If this graph shows a steady decline in traffic over time, you know there is a problem that needs to be addressed. If you have no digital marketing team to help you with this, then get in touch with us. Details below.

What are your top devices?

How do people find you online in terms of the devices they use? On a desktop, a mobile phone or a tablet? This data is useful in helping you understand your customer’s behaviours. Having said that, every website should be mobile-friendly at this stage. After all, research shows 30% of mobile users will abandon websites that are not mobile and that’s too many lost sales opportunities for you. Find out more about mobile-friendly web design and why it’s crucial for sales.

How well do you retain users?

After people first engage with your website how can you tell if they come back again? Google has a feature to help you with this too! It’s called the Cohort Analysis tool and it measures the level of retention on your website. It allocates a percentage score to user groups called ‘Cohorts’ who are groups of people who became customers of yours around the same time. For example, visitors who became customers by year – 2016, 2017, 2018 and so on. It tracks their level of engagement with your website over a given time period. Track them by the week, month or by the year. How engaged are they after 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks and so on? Are they scoring high or low or not at all? This is more raw data that helps you determine whether or not your website content, i.e. your products and services pages, are effective enough not just to acquire new customers but to retain customers over time.

How are your Adwords campaigns performing?

Yes, Google provides you with raw data on your Google ad campaigns as well. A simple chart shows you the number of clicks your ad received, the cost of those clicks to you and the total revenues earned from your campaign. Very useful data at a glance. You can measure this over any given time period just by clicking on the calendar button in the bottom left corner of the report chart. In the bottom right corner of the chart you can click on the Adwords Campaigns link that will take you to another page revealing deeper data for you to review and analyse.

Other features and reports

We have only scratched the surface of Google analytics here but I think you get the idea. Raw data can provide you with an insightful overview of your website performance that helps you determine what areas of your website are doing well and what areas need urgent attention. There are plenty of other highly insightful reports to explore. These are listed on the menu on the left-hand side of the homepage and include the following data categories:

• Real time: including real time traffic, location and conversions data
• Audience: overview and active users data
• Acquisition: organic traffic, social media referrals, Adwords and keywords data
• Behaviour: what pages people view on your website, page speed & other vital data
• Conversions: ecommerce & sales conversion data

We will drill down into these key areas in the next post. For now, no one expects you to be an expert on using Google Analytics. However, it is in your own interests as a business owner to at least have a basic understanding of your website performance, in terms of weekly traffic, best performing pages and sales conversions. Guesswork is useless to you and qualitative feedback from customers can only go so far. Raw data is what you need to help you make business decisions. Could there be an issue with your web design? You need to know why your website is not driving sales. If you need a hand to set up your Google Analytics account, or how to understand these raw data sets, then get in touch with us.

Contact Digitaledge

Want to improve your web design? We can help you set up a Google Analytics account and get your team started with an analytics training session. Email us or call 091 704830 to arrange.

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