Website Design - Using Google Analytics to Track Your Stats
by Andrew Grant
[Jun 27, 2010] Ok, so you've designed your website, posted it up to the world and it seems to be working; you're getting opt-ins and making some sales. But do you really know how well your site is working for you? Google offers some amazing free programs to help you in your quest for web perfection and one of the most powerful is Google Analytics (GA), a complete suite of tracking and analyzing tools.
Here are my five tips for making the most of this excellent resource.
Put tracking code on every page of your site. Once you have set up your free account at GA, it is an easy thing to follow the instructions and generate the little snippets of tracking code. Cut and paste these snippets into the bottom of each and every one of your pages.
This will ensure that you can see everything that happens on your site. It may not seem important right now to be tracking your privacy page, or your error page, but one day you might want to make different use of it and you'll regret not having the data to hand.
Put conversion code on your thank you pages. GA allows you to also generate a different piece of code to monitor where you make sales or sign-ups. Use this to keep track of your sales funnel and you will be able to see how many visitors leave the site and where from before making it through to the end the process.
Analyse your traffic sources. Once the code is placed, it may take a few days for GA to properly begin to track your site, but once it does you will be amazed at the depth of data available. It is important to focus on what are the most important metrics; one of which is traffic sources.
This is a comprehensive list of all the places where visitors found a link to your site. It will tell you which ones came from your PPC campaigns, which came from organic search and which from various other links across the web. Use this to determine how effective your campaigns are and to discover where you should spend more time and effort.
Analyse your page view by content. The second vital area to monitor is which pages your visitors go to within your site and how long they spend on each page. Here you can track their movement from the home page to the opt-in page, which other pages catch their eye and which ones they skip over.
For example, if you have a page with a lot of important content, but visitors are only spending a few seconds on it, then it might be time for a re-design; maybe they are put off by so much information. On the other hand, if you have a simple page where people spend a lot of time, is this because they find it fascinating or confusing?
Analyse your exit pages. As well as telling you where your visitors enter your site, GA will also tell you where they leave from; the exit pages. If you had designed your site to lead from the landing page to a sign up, but your visitors are just not following that path, then you need to do something about it.
Analyse your conversions. GA's special conversion code will let you see what percentage of visitors are actually following the entire sales process and buying your product or opting-in to your list.
If you are losing too many of them, or they are getting lost in your navigation, what could you do to increase that percentage and make your site simpler?
Finally, check your stats every day and over time you will learn to see the trends and very quickly spot if anything has changed. You will also see the effects of any changes you make and in a very short time you will have your finger right on the pulse of your site
However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. - Henry David Thoreau