As many of you may already know, we here at DynamiX are huge proponents of Google Analytics. That’s not to say the system isn’t without its flaws, but it offers more great features in a clearer format than just about any other web analytics platform out there, and best of all it doesn’t cost a penny to use. Today we’re going to cover some of the basics of the system, what it is and how it can help you to grow your business.
First, let’s cover what Google Analytics is.
Google Analytics is a website statistics program, created by Google that allows you to track (with roughly a one day delay) customer visits to your web site. Specifically, the system keeps track of what keywords visitors use to find your web site in search engines, as well as what sites they used to find you (say you have an account with Atlanta local directory Kudzu.com, Google analytics would track who found your web site by clicking on your web address from the Kudzu.com web site). In addition (and one of our favorite mini-features), the dashboard features a small pie graph including the percentage of traffic that was direct (from typing your link directly in a web browser) from search engines and from referring web sites. If you are looking to expand your presence on search engines, this pie graph is an effective way to see how your search engine presence is growing.
Okay, so how does Google Analytics help me and my business?
The analytics system is great for discovering what your customers are typing into Google to find you, and what web sites are most valuable to you from an advertising perspective. Say you have two different web sites that you are paying to advertise your company. The first costs $200 a month, and the second just $10. If you see in Google analytics that the site you are paying $10 a month for in advertising is bringing you more traffic than the $200/month site, it may be a red flag for you to re-evaluate where your advertising dollars are best spent. The keyword aspect of Google is maybe the most important, as it can give you insight into how your visitors think and how they are finding your web site in search engines. It is often difficult for a company to think like a customer who may not have a lot of experience in the product you are selling, and these keywords will help you to refine and expand your web site text. Getting the most out of Google Analytics can be hard work and will take some hours of frustration to fully get the hang of, but over time that hard work will pay off with more web site traffic and more business.
Customer locations, targeting zones and tracking advertising campaigns.
A neat feature of Google Analytics is the ability to visually represent where your customers are visiting your web site from. For instance, if you are a national (or international) company that sells products online, you can track what states or countries are bringing in the most business, and adjust your advertising budgets accordingly. This works just as well for local businesses, too. The map system can track all the way to the city level in any given state, meaning that an automotive repair shop in Marietta, Georgia could track how many visitors come to the web site from Kennesaw or Acworth.
Discovering popular products or services.
Tracking is a great way to discover trends in the marketplace you may not otherwise have captured. Say, for instance you have a web site that utilizes our SE Content Management System, and you have a section that features your custom projects. With analytics installed, you can see that one of your custom projects may be bringing in three times more traffic than your other project pages, and bringing you twice the customer e-mails. By knowing this, you can expand this project to include more information and pictures, thereby increasing the amount and quality of information your potential customer receives when visiting your web site, as well as the chance that you will get an e-mail or phone call from this potential customer. Conversely, if you see a section of your site that receives little or no attention from site visitors, it may be a sign that you should dedicate your efforts elsewhere.
Tracking Adwords or other advertising efforts.
Google Analytics has built in integration between adwords, meaning that as customers come in, you’ll know how and where they found you through the Adwords system. In addition, utilizing the Goal Conversions section you can track how many customers who enter the site by various means end up e-mailing you, what page they e-mailed from (if you have a contact form on multiple pages), how long they browsed your web site before e-mailing you, and much more.
Taking it further.
Did you like this article? Stand by, our newest Analytics article entitled “An expanded look: Setting up Goal Conversions with Google Analytics” is coming soon!