Get the Critical Information You Need to Make Strategic Internet Marketing Decisions
You might already know that there is free software available to track your website statistics and visitor behaviour. Our favourite is Google Analytics. Do you use it on your own website? Recently, we’ve seen a number of websites that do not deploy any tracking software. Without it it is very difficult to understand how many visitors you get, what those visitors do, and gain an overall understanding of your potential customers.
Let’s discuss why you should use tracking software like Google Analytics and a few tips to get even more value out of it.
The Benefits of Web Tracking Software
First, let’s just state: if you have a business website it’s purpose is to ultimately generate more sales and interest for your business. It isn’t just something you had to do because everyone else had one. There are real and practical reasons to have a website, and all of those reasons are about growing your business.
With that purpose in mind, you can imagine the importance of knowing your website statistics. It’s like a financial investment. You want to see regular reports on how your investment is being used and what returns you’re getting from it. Those reports help you make critical decisions on what to do next and where to commit your resources.
Web tracking software gives you reports about your website. It empowers you to make confident decisions with your website and the rest of your online presence. You can learn how many people visit your website, what they do, how they found you, and whether they like certain pages over the others. It will give you a deeper understanding of your prospective customers and clients.
Tracking Reports Make More Sense When You Have a Goal In Mind
The amount of information provided by Analytics can be overwhelming. This is especially true when you aren’t sure what you want people to do once they reach your website. That’s why it makes more sense to look at your analytics with a goal in mind. Ask yourself:
- Am I trying to generate leads from my website?
- Am I trying to increase my branding and awareness?
- Am I trying to make e-commerce sales?
- Am I trying to get more people to click on the ads of my sponsors?
Once you know what’s most important to you, then you can focus more on the statistics that relate to your goal. Here are the stats, for the most common goals, you should watch:
- If you’re trying to generate leads: # of visits to your contact forms thank you page and # of visits to your site (divide the two numbers to get your conversion rate).
- If you’re trying to increase branding: # of unique visitors and average length of visit.
- If you’re trying to make e-commerce sales: # of people who complete the steps through your shopping cart checkout (and where they might be dropping out) and which products are being looked at the most.
- If you’re trying to get more ad clicks: # of visitors, # of ad clicks, and which pages get the most ad clicks.
Google Analytics provides a “Goal Tracking” system that you can configure to track each goal (or group of goals). You should look through your Admin screens and find the Goals section. Then you can provide the settings you want to track. Once you’ve set up a goal, or goals, you can watch its performance at a glance in the Goals Overview screen.
This may sound complicated to you. Don’t lose heart! Google has provided a wealth of free knowledge in the Help section of Analytics. Be sure to click Help and type in your question.
Installing Google Analytics
Before you can actually track anything with Google Analytics, you’ll have to install a small piece of code on every page of your website. The code will be provided to you by Google, but it will be your responsibility (or your web designers responsibility) to get it into your website code.
If your website runs on WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or most other Content Management Systems… There are plugins available to make installing analytics fairly easy. A Content Management System is something that allows you to add, edit, and modify your website without knowing HTML.
If you don’t have a Content Management System, you’ll need to install the code directly into the HTML of each page on your website. If you’re comfortable with this, then great! Google provides you with instructions. If you are not comfortable with this, then you’ll need to contact your favourite website designer. This is not a big task, and you should not get charged a lot to get this done; think $100 or less.
Ready to Try it Out?
You won’t regret installing Google Analytics on your website. You’ll learn a lot of interesting things about your website and your potential customers. Maybe you already have Analytics installed, you’ll get even more out of it by setting up some Goals.
Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions about this process. Maybe you’ve got a cool tip about how you’ve used Analytics before. We’d love to hear from you, so don’t be shy!