Are you terrified of your website’s Google Analytics? Overwhelmed by all the data? Confused by all those options down the left side? It’s okay—Most of our small business clients are.
Thankfully, you don’t need to understand everything in your Google Analytics account. For small business owners, some metrics are way more important than others.
Checking out just three of my favorite reports each month can make a huge difference for your business. Are you up for making this one of your business resolutions for 2016?
Below is a how-to guide for zooming straight to the metrics you need to know for your site.
Resolution #1: Learn how to find your top traffic sources
How are your website visitors finding your site? It’s really important to know where your audience comes from.
To do this, you’ll want to zero in on the Acquisition > Overview report. Log into Google Analytics. Look for Acquisition in the menu on the left. Click Overview.
You’ll see a pie chart breakdown of where your website traffic is coming from.
- Referral means the visitor has followed a link from another source. This might be an email campaign you sent, a news article you were mentioned in, a directory site you’re listed on, or something else. If you click on the word Referral, you can see a list of the referring websites.
- Organic Search means the visitor searched for a keyword on a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) and clicked to your site in the results.
- Direct means someone typed your website URL right into their browser. They may have seen the URL on your business card, TV ad, or logoed truck.
- Social means the visitor followed a link from a social network. This might have been in your Facebook profile or a link you shared in a tweet on Twitter.
You can click each of these sources in the table to see more detailed information.
Why does the Acquisitions report matter for your business?
- Monitor Referral traffic to track your best referral sources. Getting lots of hits from YP.com? You may want to continue advertising with them.
- Use Organic Search to see which keywords are working for you.
- Use Direct traffic to monitor if your other campaigns are working. If you see a noticeable uptick in direct traffic after running a radio ad, you can guess that customers heard your ad, heard your web address, and typed it into their browsers.
- Use Social to see if your social posting efforts are paying off.
Resolution #2: Identify your site’s most visited pages
You don’t know much about your site if you don’t know what your visitors have come looking for. Find out by checking out the Pages report.
Look for Behavior in the left menu. Then click Site Content > All Pages.
On this report, you’ll see a list of your most visited pages.
The table will also tell you a few more things:
- How long visitors spend on that page (Avg. Time on Page),
- How many visitors started on that page (Entrances)
- How many visitors only viewed that page and then left the site (Bounce Rate)
- How many visitors exited the site after viewing that page (% Exit).
Why does the Pages report matter for your business?
Use this report wisely to determine which content is working best for you.
- Is it your About page that receives the most visits, or your Services page? If no one seems to be viewing your Services, maybe you want to put a link at the bottom of the About page to drive them there.
- Did you write a blog post that’s getting a lot of traffic? Make a list of more posts on the same topic that you can write.
- Does a page have an especially high bounce rate? You may want to put a “Find out how we can help you” link at the bottom or in the sidebar that points to more content.
Resolution #3: Find out your Exit Pages.
Want to know how visitors are ending their experience with your website? Check out Exit Pages.
Navigate down to Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages
This page lists the pages that were viewed last before a visitor left your site.
In some cases, Exit Pages are okay. If a visitor exits from the Contact page, they may have made an inquiry. If the visitor exits from a Checkout page, they likely made a purchase.
But what if you’re seeing a ton of people read a blog post and then exit your site? Chances are, you’re not keeping them engaged and moving them toward a conversion (sending a contact form, signing up for an email list, etc.)
Why do Exit Pages matter for your business?
Use this report carefully to see if you can tweak your Exit Pages for better retention. Make sure to include links to your other content wherever possible.
Note: make sure you pay attention to both number of exits and the percentage of exits. While a lot of visits may exit from your home page, it may be just a small percentage of total visits and not a cause for concern.
Ready to really make your website work for you this year? Reviewing these simple metrics will help you see what’s working for your visitors and what isn’t so you can make more-informed marketing decisions. We challenge you to do this each and every month. Who’s in?