Do you have a website, but you wish to better understand your visitors and where they come from?
Or what they do while they are on your website and whether they stick around on your site and take action?
If you want to learn more about your visitors you can use Google Analytics to gather data, but in order to do that, you need to move from just looking at page views.
That is why today you will learn more about the metrics that you should look at that matter most, especially if you don’t know what you are doing.
1. Setup Conversion Goals
I can’t stress enough the importance of having goals for your business and website.
If you don’t have clear goals setup, stop reading now, go outline your goals and come back to continue with this article.
Without goals, you can’t move from just looking at pageviews, or worse, HITS. By the way, do you now what HITS stands for? How Idiots Track Success and it was mentioned the first time by Katie Paine at a conference in 1997.
Now, I always recommend to every blogger or business to have at least 5 goals setup in Google Analytics:
- Engaged visitors: visitors who stay on your website longer than the average
- Readers: visitors who read more pages on your website that the average
- Email subscribers: visitors who sign up for your newsletters or freebies
- Customers: visitors who purchase a product
- Ad performance: clicks on ads to see which one is performing best, and who sent the traffic that clicks on your ads.
And each of these goals shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to setup, but I heard that people setup everything in 5 minutes.
If you feel stuck you can learn more about setting up each of these goals.
2. Analyze your Traffic Sources
Once you finish setting up your conversion goals it’s time to look at traffic sources. You can find the report in the left menu of Google Analytics.
Here you will be able to see who is sending you valuable traffic. You will discover what social media outlets pay for your efforts of spending all day on social media, which of your guest posts bring you back visitors, subscribers or even customers and which of your friends should be rewarded for sending you the most traffic.
Additionally you can see all the traffic that comes from search engines, especially Google nowadays.
Under [Search] > [Organic] you can see what are the most used keywords that bring traffic to your website. Well, what you can still see from it, because with the new feature from Google search most of them will display as (not provided).
That’s because the search is now forced to be done via a secure connection (SSL) and when used data will not be passed to third party tpols, such as Google Analytics.
Once you get familiar with the reports change the view to [Goal Set 1] and you can see conversion data for each traffic source. Magic, isn’t it?
3. Look at Unique Visitors
Instead of looking at pageviews, which matter only for people who are paid for that and sell advertising, look at the number of unique visitors that you get.
That number represents the individuals that come to your site and that’s what matters most.
4. Keep an eye on Engagement
Keeping our readers engaged is one of the most important goals, because if they are not engaged, they will leave the website immediately.
The Engagement report from [Audience] > [Behavior] will show you how good you are at keeping your readers engaged.
If more than 90% stay less than 10 seconds, this means that you definitely need to do something with your website: think at changing the design, adding more content or maybe reduce the number of ads you have on your pages.
Also, you may get traffic for some articles that it’s not that relevant to your blog, so don’t worry if you see a large number of visits under 10 seconds.
But keep an eye on this metric and act accordingly to change your website when needed.
5. Landing Pages
The Landing Pages report from [Content] > [Site Content] will allow you to see the pages that get the most traffic on your website.
Here, you can identify your most important pages and what are the sources that drive traffic to each of them.
Additionally you can see conversion data for each page, and insights about your visitors, such as visit duration, pages per visit and bounce rate.
These metrics will help you spot pages that are doing really good and those that aren’t. With this info, you can improve those pages to get better results from them.
And by improvements I am referring at changing the copy, adding more clear calls to action, adding an extra email signup form or even start A/B testing different elements on your page.
6. Identify your Readers with Pages/Visit
These last 3 metrics will be present on the majority of your reports and will provide you insights on visitors. They can be used to track performance of traffic sources and content on your website.
Page/Visit helps you see the average number of pages that your visitors see during their visit on your website. The larger the average, the better for you. This means that you are on the right track and you have an easy to follow navigation on your site.
But if this number is low, maybe you should start working on improving it by adding a related posts section under your articles or a popular posts section in your sidebar to make the navigation to additional resources easier.
If you do not have a blog, you can start adding more content on your website with a blog or just some extra static pages.
7. Spot Engaged Visitors with Avg. Visit Duration
The Avg. Visit Duration will help you see how engaged visitors are on your website. Having a large number means that your visitors are engaged with the content you provide and they like what they read.
On the other side, a low number means that they have not found what they are looking for and you will need to search and identify what are the reasons why this happens.
Some of the reasons why this happens may be the fact that those visitors are not targeted or maybe your content is not engaging.
To fix that, analyze your traffic sources and landing pages to spot who is sending you visitors that are not engaged and what are the pages that have a low engagement. Then start tweaking those pages, just like I mentioned at #7.
8. Look at Bounce Rate and Fix Low Performing Pages
Bounce Rate will tell you if visitors are not taking any action on the page they visit. This means that they don’t go to a second page or click anywhere on that page.
A high bounce rate will tell you that the page you are looking at needs your attention.
Make sure you have relevant info on that page, clear calls to action and your navigation is straight forward so people can visit other pages on your website.
Now that you have more knowledge on how to get better insights from Google Analytics, I would love to hear that you are committed to implement it and let me know how it goes.
Additionally, if you have any questions or comments, use the section below to leave them.