We live in a world driven by data. Knowing how to view that data and interpret it is crucial for businesses- that’s where website analytics comes in.
Understanding the data that is freely available through various website analytics platforms could be the difference between stagnation and exponential growth, and in this article we will talk you through some basic steps every business with a web presence should think about taking.
If you're involved in a small to medium enterprise, you've probably already heard of Google Analytics; a popular platform for gaining data insights on your website's performance. It’s one example of a range of powerful analytics tools available online from different suppliers- each of which equip you to monitor different aspects of your website and social media performance.
We'll use Google Analytics as an example, and take a look at the ways it could help your business to thrive and grow, while pointing out other powerful tools that can broaden your understanding and boost performance.
The benefits of Google Analytics for business could be felt throughout your company, with data insights acting as a cornerstone for business goal setting and a catalyst for growth.
Google Analytics presents you with key metrics about website performance, presenting you with an opportunity to identify both what is going well and what could be improved.
Once you've created your free account at the Google Analytics for business website, you’re taken through a quick process of setting up your property, and adding a piece of tracking code to your website. That’s it, your analytics is now live.
You’ll now see five tabs down the left of your screen; from ‘Realtime’ to ‘Conversions’. There are a lot of powerful features hidden within each, here are some important ones to know about.
This tab shows you which users are using your site this very second. You can see which of your webpages are being used the most, and also a breakdown of what devices people are viewing your site through. If your users are mostly using their mobiles, check that your web design is mobile-friendly.
Through the ‘Overview’ category in the Audience tab, you can view how many users are using your site. To get the most out of this category, you can:
In the ‘Acquisition tab’ (see image above), you can view a list of your top sources of traffic. This will show you how people are reaching your website; are they googling a phrase related to your brand, or being sent through via ads?
You can integrate ‘Search Console’ in this tab, to get accurate data on how your landing pages are performing as well as see how your website is performing for keywords under the ‘Campaign’ section- which should help you decide which of your webpages to optimise to rank better in google search listings.
This crucial tab shows you exactly how your users are using your webpages. Bounce rate refers to how many swiftly exit after clicking onto a page, if this is over 60%, you may want to think about how you can improve the quality of your website content and web design.
Insights like these enable you to start piecing together the average journey of a visitor to your site, so you can optimise important pages to make sure that people see and click on the areas of your site that will turn visitors into customers.
By comparing your Unique Pageviews with your total Pageviews, you can get an idea of whether your users are spending time on one page, or many. If these two statistics are highly similar, perhaps users are heading straight to a webpage of yours to make a purchase. Check whether this is the case in the ‘Acquisition’; ‘Search Console’ tab.
This tab is all about Goals. A goal can be anything from signing up for your newsletter to finalising a purchase by checking out. Map out your ideal user journey on the website, and use goals as touch-points to identify how far people are going on that journey.
If plenty of people are using your site, but your conversion goal isn’t performing too well, then perhaps you need to give your users more reason to make a purchase. Or, perhaps your users are looking for information; intending to make a purchase in-store.
Once you are comfortable using Google Analytics, you may want to look into utilising Google's full suite of webmaster tools. Aside from Google Search Console, which we have already mentioned, useful tools include Google Data Studio, which allows you to turn your analytics reports into shareable visualisations, and Google Tag Manager, which lets you use tracking pixels to monitor specific actions on your site (e.g. checking the time an email was opened).
Google Analytics and other data insight platforms provide you with clear direction to improve your website, hone your key messages, and optimise your business for search engines. In this way, data can enable you to connect more powerfully with your external audience.
But if you're only using analytics to inform your external marketing, you could be missing a trick. Data is one of the most effective tools to use when you want to align everybody in your business around central, agreed goals and strategies for success.
Data drives people by making the obscure obvious. When copywriters know that their new paragraph drove a 50 per cent increase in clicks, they feel compelled to go one better. When designers learn that the 'Buy now' button they placed on your website drove more sales than ever before, they understand the impact of their work.
Once you've mined your analytics platform and processed the data that matters to you, use the data to formulate a smart plan to take your business forwards. You could consider making sharing your findings within your business a habit. Transparency around performance can help to motivate staff and encourage buy-in when you set goals for your employees.
With your team aligned around the same goals and the scope of your project set, you can use the eligibility checker from Esme Loans to find out how much your business could borrow to help you hit your targets and achieve growth that is measurable using – you guessed it – website analytics.