Use Google Analytics to Get Actionable Intel for Your Small Business
If you ask a typical already-overwhelmed small business owner if they’d like to begin using Google Analytics, the average response is one of wide-eyed fear, dreading taking on the mountains of data that Analytics can provide. Who has time to learn new stuff when there's work to be done? The fact is, Google Analytics can help make that work proceed far more efficiently and profitably, if you are prepared jump in and start utilizing it in a focused, specific manner. Begin with asking the right questions: what are my goals, and what do I need to know to achieve them, and which of these website metrics will help me get there.
Which metrics do you need?
While each business will present somewhat different needs, the most useful common needs follow.
- Total visitors - The number of both “unique” (first time) visitors, and total visits, which includes returning visitors.
- Keyword phrases - Which keywords are people entering to get to your pages? This is critical data, and will help you learn how to target your marketing.
- Most popular pages - See which of your pages are getting the most visits.
- Visitors country of origin - Where in the world are these folks originating from.
- Referral pages - Seeing which pages are driving traffic to your website is very valuable information. This may be from affiliates, video, images, social media and many other sources.
- Search engines - Which of the search engines are delivering the most traffic to your pages.
Google Analytics advanced features that will help decipher the data
Three beneficial advanced features are very useful for processing and understanding this data.
Custom reports will give you the power to create a version of Google Analytics just for you. You are able to select the data that’s relevant to you, and organize it any way you like.
Advanced segmenting lets you sort traffic into segments that shed light on your data, such as segmenting out mobile or tablet traffic.
Intelligence events is similar to Google Alerts, and sends a you an email or text to your mobile device when anything remarkable happens on your site, such as a spike in traffic, either up or down.
Yes, Google Analytics is a LOT of data. And yes, you can make it do the job for you, with just a wee bit of effort!