Google analytics is one of the most powerful free tools available to website owners, giving you data on how many people visit your website in a given period as well as allowing you to see how visitors navigate through your website. The most amazing thing about Google analytics though, isn’t the data it gives you or the fact that it is free, but the amount of website that still do not use it, and even more the amount that do not take full advantage of its features.
Google analytics is simply a must have, for small business website owners and we will show you in this article, how to set it up, install it and get the best out of the data it offers.
Your Google account
If you do not already have a Google account then now is the time to set one up. To access any of the Google products that are designed to help website owners you will need to do this (Click here to sign up).
Setting up Google analytics
This is fairly straight forward, just go to the analytics home page (Click here) and sign in using your Google account. You will then be asked to enter some basic info on your website, such as Account name, Website name, Website URL, Industry category and your Time zone. Google will then produce you an analytics ID and tracking code script which you will need to add to your website.
Adding Analytics to your Website
If you are running your website on WordPress and have already install the Google analytics plug-in we recommended in our earlier article (setting up WordPress) then all you will need to do is enter the analytics ID in to the plug-in from the tab marked “Universal Analytics” in the WordPress dashboard. If you are using static HTML to build your website then you can just cut and past the tracking script in to your code. There are a couple of different locations that you can place your code, normally either in the
or the footer of your website. I recommend adding the code to the as this will make verifying Google Webmaster tools easier, we will cover this subject later one. For additional details on setting up an analytics account click here.
Divi Theme Google Analytics
If you are using the Elegant Themes Divi template, you can choose to install the tracking code manually by going to the Integrations tab in the theme options. You can them simple paste the code issued by Google analytics in to the box marked “add code to the
How you use Google analytics
Analytics gives your business a massive amount of data, unfortunately not as much as it use to, since they stop supplying keyword data. This can make analytics seem to complicated and to much trouble for many small business owners understanding and making use of it. I am going to run you through the main terms, explaining what the mean and how to make best use of the data.
Visits/Sessions: A Session is a visit, so each time any visitor views your website analytics will record this as a new visitor, if they leave and then returns to your website after 30 minutes then analytics will count this as two visits, also if they remain inactive for more than 30 minutes then continue to browse your website this would also be classed as a second visit.
Page views: the number of pages viewed by all visitors to your website, if a visitor views the same page multiple times then each time they view the page it will be included in this field.
Unique Page views: the number of visitors that have viewed a page, if the same visitor view the page multiple times it will only count a one in this field.
Duration: the amount of time a visitor spends on your website before leaving or becoming inactive.
Bounce rate: The number of visitors that leave your website after only viewing the page they arrived on.
Landing page: The page at which a visitor arrived at your website.
Exit page: The last page a visitor view before leaving or becoming inactive.
New vs. Returning Visitors: A visitor is classed as new if they do not have a cookie from your website, so if they have never been to your website or the cookie has expired or been deleted. A returning visitor has viewed your website previously and has a cookie in their browser.
Visitors Flow: Gives you a graphical representation of how visitors are moving through your website.
Direct: these visitors entered your website address directly in to their browser. Note If analytics is unable to determine the source of a visitor then they will be classed as Direct.
Referral: these visitors have come from using a link on another website.
Paid: visitor has click on one of your paid advertisements such as Adwords.
Organic: Visitor has found your website from the search engine results, in the past Google used to give the search term that was entered by the visitor, this is now very rare due to a change in their policies meaning that most will be shown as (Not provided).
Social: the visitor has been referred by a link on a social network.
Analytics is divided in to section on the left hand side of the screen, let’s have a look at them and see what information they give us.
Dashboards: here you can customise your dashboard so the important information to you is view able when you login.
Shortcuts: Analytics allows you to run many reports, you can set up shortcuts to reports you have already created in this area.
Intelligence Events: in this section you can create alerts, such as being notified by email when an event happens, i.e. the number of visitors or page views has exceeded a set amount.
Real-Time: Allows you to see the interaction of visitors in real time.
Audience: This section is very useful as it give details about your visitors, such as the country and city they are from, what size screen they used and the operating system they are on. This will allow you make judgments on how to optimise your website.
Acquisition: this section will tell you about the number of visitors and how they found your website.
Behaviour: Possible the most valuable part of analytics, allowing you to see which pages are visited the most, which is the page that visitors arrive on and which one they leave one. This can give you insights in to problems, i.e. if most of your visitor leave from one page there may be a problem with a link. Correcting this can have a significant effect on your inquires/sales
Events and conversions: Knowing which visitors and where they came from, that made a purchase or competed a task such filling in a contact form will show you where to focus your marketing efforts. It is now even possible, using event tracking to monitor the number of visitors that click on an external link. This is especially important if your website is acting as an affiliate (see our blog for more details).
To get the most out of analytics, decided what action makes a visitor valuable to your business then track this action and focus you efforts on increasing visitors from those sources.