biz ladiesLife & Business

biz ladies: using web analytics

by Stephanie

Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Danielle Maveal, aka Daniellexo, Etsy’s education coordinator. Danielle works to help artists and crafters develop a creative living selling their work. She shares tips on Etsy’s blog, in “Etsy Success” (a biweekly newsletter), and hosts live workshops through Etsy’s online classrooms, the Virtual Labs.

Danielle has previously shared with us some tips on  understanding search engine optimization and utilizing it to our advantage. Today, she enlightens us on how to use web analyzing programs to collect data about our websites!  Thanks Danielle for the very informative and helpful advice! — Stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full post after the jump!

As an artist, it took me a while to become friends with cold, hard data. In high school I abhorred math class — my most dreaded period of the week. Something just didn’t click. Because of this, I steered away from anything that even resembled algebra, calculus, geometry, or statistics. Then I started creating jewelry. Everything fell into place, and I even enjoyed playing with numbers to figure out how much 14k gold casting grain I would need when casting a ring I had designed. Playing with pricing formulas was fun. All the formulas and equations I learned in school finally made sense. Data and I were slowly becoming buds.

Starting to play with web analytics took our friendship to the next level. I was definitely intimidated at first; there are so many different reports available that the process can be quite complex. But the pieces of the puzzle started to come together. Understanding the data was rewarding, and yes, even fun. Web analytics tools helped me quantify what was and wasn’t working, and this data was empowering, helping me improve the online experience for my customers, readers, and fans. So, I’m here to introduce you to the world of web analytics. I hope you find measuring and monitoring as intriguing as I do!

First, set up Google Analytics for your blog, website, or Etsy shop. It’s generally a pretty easy task.  You’ll find a lot of how-tos out there to get you started. Google has installation instructions here. After you’ve installed your analytics code, I highly recommend watching this 8-minute video from Google, as it will help you understand the basic features.

Now that you’ve found this jackpot of seemingly endless data, you’re probably wondering, “What do I do with all this?!” It’s easy to feel a little lost when you see the various types of reports you can generate.  So first, take out a notebook and jot down some questions you want answered before you get distracted. These questions might be

  1. What do I want to know about my web traffic?
  2. What areas of my blog do I want people to engage with the most?
  3. What is the one thing that I want visitors of my Etsy shop to take away with them?
  4. What’s the return on my Twittering investment?
  5. How are visitors to my website spending their time?
  6. Are those design blog ads paying off?

Use these questions to generate reports that will help you come up with an answer. Note: There are probably a lot of other questions, depending on your business, that you need to be asking. Let me know what they might be in the comments below!

If you want a little more direction, I’ve broken down the key data you’ll want to keep an eye on and tips for working with that data.

Where in the World: Log into your Google Analytics account and check out Visitors > Map Overlay. Getting an idea of where in the world your visitors are coming from can help guide your offline marketing. Are you getting a good number of Canadian visitors? Perhaps you should consider attending a craft show in our neighbor to the north? Or maybe you’ve noticed a big spike in visitors from San Francisco, and that Renegade Craft Show you did last summer is still paying off? You should also watch your international visitors and make sure you are offering shipping to those locations!

Time & Date: The reports you can generate in the Visitors > Visitor Trending area can give you an idea of what day of the week, or even time of day, your traffic is peeking. If you have a blog post or item listing that needs to be seen, this information can lead you in the right direction.

Bounce Rates: What percentage of visitors visit your website and then leave rather quickly, not bothering to click on any other areas of your site?  This sums up “bounce rate” and you can find your percentage here: Visitors > Visitor Trending > Bounce Rates. Now that you know what your bounce rate is, I’m quite sure you’re asking, “What should my bounce rate be?” The answer is, less than it is now. Don’t worry about comparing yourself to other websites, just try to lower your own bounce rate. I have a few pointers on how you can do this in this Etsy blog post.

Referring Sites: Reports found under Traffic SourcesReferring Sites will let you know which websites are sending people your way. Is there a blog sending you a lot of traffic from a past feature? You may want to think about partnering with them on a project, authoring a guest post, or purchasing ad space to keep this momentum going. Keep a list of all the blogs that have linked to you in some way, along with contact information if you can find it. Thank them in a creative, thoughtful way (holiday cards, a simple email, a shout out on Twitter).

Keywords: Find a list of the keywords people are using to find you under Traffic Sources > Keywords. This part is kind of fun. What terms are people searching that lead them to your website? Some of these keywords might be out of the ordinary. This month I had not one, but two visitors find me by searching “Jennifer Hewitt”. However, as expected, they bounced right out of my Etsy shop as quick as they could. So, I won’t be describing my jewelry as “Perfect for the Jennifer Love Hewitt fan!” anytime soon. Keep in mind that, just because some of those keywords are bringing people in, that doesn’t always mean they are effective!

Coming in for a Landing: Check out Content > Top Landing Pages to see what specific page your visitors are entering. Often we think most of our visitors are coming in through our home page and we forget that many might be landing on a specific post, product, or even something weird like your policies page. What are your top landing pages? Go to each one and try to experience it as a first-time visitor would. Are you giving them enough initial information? Are you leading them back to your home page (or even to more products) easily enough?

Popularity Contest: Want a visualization of this data? ContentSite Overlay can do just that! Click density, found in these reports, shows the number of clicks. What are your top three hot spots? What links are not getting much attention? This information can help you understand what your customers are drawn to — very valuable information.

If this type of visualization excites you, you might want to check out ClickTale. ClickTale doesn’t just capture clicks, but it also keeps track of every mouse move, hover, scroll, and keystroke and reports these findings with detailed visualizations. However, don’t worry about paying for analytics until you’ve mastered Google Analytics and think you need more info.

If you’re a visual learner, like I am, and scrolled up and down this article taking in bits at a time, as I often do, I highly suggest two video series: one right from the horse’s mouth (that’s right Google, I called you a horse!), and one from Sister Diane’s “Google Analytics Tricks for Crafters.” If you want more reading, “Web Metrics Demystified” is my favorite blog post on the subject.

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  • I thought I had been using analytics but this article just made me aware of how much I wasn’t using it. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

  • one of the things i learned from my bounce rates early on is which pictures suck the most. (^^;) i have one item in particular right now that has an almost 100% bounce rate, and i /know/ it’s because the picture is pretty bad. how’s that for motivation to get into the photo studio~ (^_^)

  • Great post! I’m a bit stunned by the keyword search, tough. People usually end up in my store with keywords that id not included in any of my item tags or description. No wonder my bounce rate is high! Would love to find out how I could avoid it.

  • I’ve enjoyed using statcounter for most of my time blogging. Through it I’ve found discussions of my technique on Russian forums; my pics being used on an American mens tailoring site; reviews of my work on other blogs ,among other things. I can’t seem to make google analytics work for more than one post though.

  • WOW! I was happy when I finally got the google analytics to work and saw where the traffic was coming from….BUT NOW im truly amazed at how much you are able to do and the information avaiable is priceless, If i didnt look at this article I would have had no idea what kind of master tool this is, Thank you so much for posting.

  • I just returned from the Creative Connection event in MN and met Danielle. She is an amazing wealth of information!! So much to learn, as confusing as it may be for us artists within, Google Analytics is a great tool!!!!

  • Thank you! I’ve been just scratching the surface with Analytics, realizing that they’re good for me, but not sure just how or why — like spinach, I guess. Thanks for making this more digestible!

  • Excellent article!! I’ve been fairly successful on Etsy and am really looking forward to seeing whether the changes I make will spark more sales. Thank you so much!

  • I’ve had Analytics for a long time, and considered myself quite knowledgeable. Luckily, I gave myself the tiem to read this excellent article, and discovered some VERY valuable new stuff!
    I didn’t know I could track the time of day of visits, and this information is super valuable in relation to the decision when to renew.
    SO – thank you so much Danielle! That was a half hour very valuably spent! You’re a wealth of knowledge, thank you for sharing!

  • Jill – Go to Your Etsy > Options > Web Analytics and you should be able to find the spot to enter in your ID #. It will look something like UA – ######-##.

  • THANK YOU SO much for this wonderful article. I was hopelessly lost with analytics, I had no idea what I was doing; this has really helped! I now am a bit more confident with what time of day is best for me to list/post etc, and what day, where my visitors are coming from (HELLO USA) :) and my keywords… so useful! thank you xxx House of Istria xx

  • Thanks for this post – very interesting indeed.
    The only thing that “bothers” me is that the information also includes information which stems from searches for items to put in one’s treasury.
    The second issue is the bounce rate which also includes clicks from treasuries that are aimed at improving the treasury’s “hotness”.
    Which means – the data is biased to some extent and it is hard to get the “real” picture…

  • Thank you so much!! Although alot of this is foreign to me right now, I did set up my google password, so I could sign up for this feature. I am still learning and want to be very successful!! My sachets are my passion!! Thank You and will be referring back to this a lot!!

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