As a society we track everything. We track votes. We track athletes stats. In business, we track our revenue and our expenses. One of the most important metrics we check is the cost of goods sold. We track employee hours and pay rate. We track almost everything we can get our hands on so we can make good decisions about how to run our business. You track your number of likes on Facebook and we track the number of email addresses we’ve collected. Why the heck wouldn’t we track our website traffic?
Value of Analytics
Your website is a goldmine for information about your business. You can find out almost anything that you want to know.
- How many people visited my website?
- What town, city, state are people visiting my website from?
- What device are they using? iPhone? Tablet? Laptop?
- What pages do visitors look at most often?
- How many people add something to their cart and never checkout on the site?
All of this information is at your fingertips. Guess what else? It’s free!
There are many different platforms available for tracking website statistics. We are going to discuss the most popular: Google Analytics and Google Search Console. A web developer can connect both systems to your website. As the owner, you can login to either system using the same account you use for Gmail. If you want a store employee or vendor to have access to either of these systems it is easy to do. You can set them up with a user account using their gmail account.
Key Analytics Metrics
The insights these platforms provide are invaluable. Let’s explore some hypothetical situations. These situations will highlight how website analytics can help inform business decisions.
As we know, many consumers conduct an online search before visiting a store. Do you come up for important keywords related to your business? If you’re a lawn & garden store that also sells mulch, do you come up if someone searches for mulch in your area in Google? The Google Search Console will provide this information. If you’re not coming up for mulch, it gives you an opportunity to add a mulch page or product to your website. This will help more consumers find you for this product.
Which customers buy from you online? Who submits contact requests? Who fills out your online forms? A quality website drives sales or sales leads to your business. As a business person you’re always looking to increase sales and sales leads. The data will help tell you who converts on your site. A conversion is when someone submits their contact information or buys something on your website. Your analytics will tell you where these people come from. Are people who come to your website from Facebook, Google or email more likely to buy from your website? Your analytics can answer this question. The data will help you focus your other marketing efforts.
What device are people viewing your website on the most? Is it a smartphone? It may be time to upgrade the mobile version of your website. Have you hesitated to create a responsive website? If more than 50% of your website traffic is coming from a mobile device, it is time to invest. When was the last time you looked at your website on mobile? Is there anything missing? Is there anything that is hard to use?
How to set up and manage web analytics
Setting up Google Analytics and Search console is not a difficult process. However, the process is different depending on your website platform. Certain platforms allow you to set up Google Analytics and Search Console without editing the code. Others require you to insert bits of code called code snippets into your website’s HTML. To ensure the process is smooth. It may be best to have your web developer help you set this up.
Once you have Google Analytics code installed, be sure that you are using the proper settings. The system has different configurations depending on the type of website you have. For instance, there are different configurations for ecommerce sites versus informational websites. The correct settings are important. You need to measure the proper variables to help you grow your business.
Google Analytics can be set up to be as complicated or as simple as you need. We won’t get into all the various configuration options available in this book. However, Google offers excellent courses to help take you from a beginner to an expert. Visit the Google Analytics Academy to learn everything you need to know.
Analytics themselves won’t help you outlast Amazon. But, combine analytics with your quality business sense and you’re armed with a powerful combination. The reporting will help you make decisions that drive sales and capitalize on opportunities in your local market.