Google Analytics is one of the best (and free!) analytics tools out there to monitor your website's success. The catch? It’s only effective if you know how to use it. You’ve probably noticed that your account provides an incredibly in-depth analysis of your website. But if you don't understand how it works or what to look for, it's pretty pointless. So where should you start and what should you look for?
If you want to see results, you need to set goals. Take a look at your results prior to setting goals and establish some benchmarks you'd like to hit within the month. Do you want to improve the visit time on a page by 2 minutes? What could you improve to have a stronger call to action on your page? Questions like this are important to ask before coming up with specific goals.
It’s also necessary to realize that there isn’t a one size fits all type of goal to reach. For example, we asked ourselves specific questions and set unique goals when building our engineering sites, because we knew they would require a different strategy than our other projects.
Now that you’re thinking about some goals you’d like to set, let's explore the categories you should pay close attention to.
What it is: Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your website and leave without viewing any other pages on your website.
Takeaway: Is having a high bounce rate a bad thing? It depends on what type of website you have and what your call to action is. If the purpose of one of your pages is for users to get all the info they need, a high bounce rate is less crucial because they don't have to search for details on multiple pages. On the other hand, if you want users to explore your website and browse multiple pages, you’ll want to see a lower percentage.
Number of Visitors
What it is: The number of visitors on your site tells you who is looking where. This is important to recognize because it helps determine how your content is performing based on the number of people looking at it.
Takeaway: You should be following along and paying close attention to the number of visitors because it can show you what content your users are interested in and what's leading them there.
What it is: Real-time statistics are helpful if you're in eCommerce or have things to purchase on your website. These stats show you who's going to your website in real-time, and you can see what your customer's shopping process is. For example, you can see what they're doing from the time they start browsing through items through the time they check out.
Takeaway: If you have an eCommerce page, you should be tracking these statistics. It can help you identify where in the shopping process your users are dropping off, and you can see what's stopping them from purchasing your product.
Top Visited Pages
What it is: Google Analytics can track which pages are being visited most frequently to help you identify what content is resonating with users.
Takeaway: This is helpful to understand so you know what your users are interested in. Once you see what pages they're visiting most frequently, you can spend more time developing those pages or adjust your online advertising to focus on those pages since they're getting people's attention.
Types of Devices
What it is: This feature shows you if your traffic is primarily on mobile or desktop. Typically these days we see more mobile traffic, which is why it's important to have a mobile-friendly website.
Takeaway: By keeping an eye on these results, you'll be able to see what type of device your audience is using. The majority of your users will probably be mobile traffic, so if your website isn't mobile-friendly, it will negatively impact the time spent on page and could cause you to lose potential customers.