Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from marketing consultant and self-proclaimed analytics geek, Liz Lockard. On the daily, Liz helps entrepreneurs build more traffic to their websites and is also the creator of Google Analytics: The Missing Manual, a DIY Google Analytics course for small businesses. Today, Liz is sharing her expert advice on how to harness the power of Google Analytics to help your business grow. Thanks, Liz, for sharing your insights with us! — Stephanie
Read the full post after the jump . . .
I get it. Google Analytics can be a little intimidating. There’s a LOT of foreign-looking data points in there and terms that just don’t make real-people sense.
If you’re not familiar with it, Google Analytics is the best free tool on the Internet for your business (yes, really!). By simply slapping a piece of code on your website, you can know all sorts of juicy things about who’s coming to your website from where and what they’re doing once they’re there.
Don’t have it set up yet? Check out my quick tutorial here.
So what sort of marketing insights can Google Analytics give you about your business? Quite a few, it turns out.
Meet Susan. She loves what she does — making personalized children’s wall decor for her clients. Her business is still growing, but she has a few regular customers. She’s had a website up for about a year now — just a simple WordPress site where she blogs about the latest trends in kid’s wall decor and shares children’s bedroom decorating tips and stories from happy clients. She’s tried several different tactics to try and get more of the right kind of people to her site (so they can hopefully order from her!), but she’s still not quite sure what’s working.
How can Google Analytics help Susan or you and your business? Let’s assume you and Susan already have it installed on your sites.
Want to see this for your site? Once inside Google Analytics, simply head to Reporting – Audience – Demographics – Location.
How could this help Susan? Let’s say Susan is evaluating the shipping options she might need to offer for her customized wall decor. If she sees that a lot of her traffic is coming from another country, she might want to think about what international shipping arrangements might be required to send her wall decor across country lines.
Maybe she’s also thinking of hosting a local mom meetup to get some of her tribe together. This location detail in Google Analytics can let her know if she has enough of a local online following for a meetup to make sense.
2. Do I need a mobile site?
Lots of people are talking about how we’re all moving to a mobile world and everyone is consuming media via mobile devices, so you better run out and spend thousands on a mobile-friendly site.
If you’re anything like me, you’d like to see if that actually holds true for *your* business before you shell out a pretty penny for some fancy responsive (read: mobile-friendly) design. Don’t get me wrong — if you’re starting from scratch or already redesigning your site, it’s a good idea. This advice is for those of us who already have an existing website and a limited budget.
For Susan, she’s not working with a lot of cash on hand but is feeling the pressure to address the mobile issue.
How can Susan use Google Analytics to help her decide if mobile design is something for which she should use what little budget she has?
She can head to Reporting – Audience – Mobile – Overview.
Susan will see a chart like this. If her mobile traffic is 10% of her total, we could probably say she could safely table the mobile design stress for the moment. If her mobile traffic is 70%, Susan should probably keep a better eye on how her site is experienced on mobile.
3. Where are people dropping off before they hit buy or sign up?
Each order Susan does is custom made, so interested prospects simply fill out her contact form to get in touch to discuss their project. But how well is that contact form converting for her? Meaning, is there a good percentage of people who visit her contact page and end up contacting her?
Susan can head to Reporting – Conversions – Goals – Goal Flow in Google Analytics to find this out.
If she has goals set up for her contact form or maybe for her email newsletter, she’ll be able to see a visual representation of how many people are visiting her contact or newsletter sign-up pages (and where they’re coming from) and how many are “dropping off” before they hit that submit button.
If Susan’s getting 95% of her contact page visitors to drop off, she might want to take a closer look at that form. Does it load properly in all the major browsers? Is she asking for too much information? Is there some sort of techie glitch happening with the page?
One small tweak on this important page could mean a lot more dollars in her bank account.
4. What else should I write about?
If you’re anything like Susan, you know that keeping up with the demands of a blog-posting schedule can be tough. At some point, it feels like you just run out of ideas!
Never fear, Google Analytics can help with that one, too :)
If Susan heads to Reporting – Content – Site Content – All Pages, she can see a straightforward chart (like the one below) of what pages are getting the most visitors.
How does this help her editorial calendar for her blog? Well, she can simply see which pages/posts are most popular and write more on those topics or even write an update or a Part 2 to those posts. Done and done!
5. What websites are sending me the most traffic?
If Susan’s tried even a little bit of marketing online, she probably has more than one website sending her traffic. How can she find out what’s working?
In Google Analytics, she can head to Traffic Sources – Sources – All Traffic to see a list of the websites sending her traffic along with how many visitors each site is sending.
Here, Susan can see which of her marketing efforts have actually sent her website some visitors. And, more importantly, she can also see how well that traffic is performing on her site. If she doesn’t have goals set up to measure how well each website traffic source is converting into customers and newsletter subscribers, she can use the bounce rate as a way to measure the quality of her traffic.
What’s a bounce rate? It’s the rate at which visitors “bounce” from your website before visiting a second page. The lower the rate, the better. A lower bounce rate is generally an indicator of better quality (meaning more interest in what you have to say!) traffic.
So if Susan is spending a lot of time guest writing for a blog in her niche, but she’s getting little to no visitors from that site, OR it’s sending traffic that has a bounce rate of 90%+, Susan might want to consider spending her time elsewhere. Marketing = improved!
What about You?
We’ve seen how Susan can start to use Google Analytics to help her small business. Now it’s your turn. Do you have Google Analytics set up for your site? What’s your favorite insight from it? Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments!