You've spent the money on a beautiful new Web site, you've put in tons of great content, and you've launched the site to rave reviews! Now you just want to know one thing - is anyone coming to my site?
Being able to track and properly analyze the traffic your site receives is crucial to the overall success of your Web business. Fortunately, Google provides a terrific tool that is simple to install, easy to navigate and also completely free!
Google Analytics has quickly become one of the most popular methods of analyzing data, as it pertains to Web site traffic. But let's say you've installed Google Analytics (or better yet had lifeBLUE Media install it for you) and now you want to know exactly what you're looking at when you log in. Fortunately, Google Analytics makes it easy by providing four basic categories of information for you to use. Let's discuss each category and what you can learn from them.
The first category of information that Google Analytics provides is basic visitor attributes. This information includes the basics; like where your visitors reside and what language they speak, but you'll also be able to find out technical details about their computer system such as their Operating System, their Web browser and the speed of their data network. All of these can be crucial when you're trying to plan out a new feature that you want added to your site.
The nuts and bolts of the visitor attribute section is the information about how many unique visitors have come to your site, how many pages have been viewed and how long an average user spends on your site. You can't possibly know if you're reaching your target audience without this crucial information.
The second category of information that Google Analytics provides is traffic sources. Think of this information as "how my visitors found me." Google breaks your traffic down into three categories - direct traffic (people who directly type in your URL or have it bookmarked), referring sites (other sites that link to you) and Search Engines (you know all about this). By analyzing the sites that link to your site, you'll be able to not only know the domain of the site they came from, but the exact URL as well. This becomes useful information that you can use to analyze the online habits of your visitor and potential customer.
You can also see exactly which search terms are being used to find your site in search engines, which can help you further develop your SEO (search engine optimization) campaign. What's more, if you already have a Google Adwords account, that data is seamlessly integrated into Google Analytics so you can properly determine if you're CPC (Cost Per Click) campaign is on target.
The third category of information displayed in Google Analytics is traffic information about your content. Think of this as your sure-fire method for determining what is popular on your site and what could use a little help. Information included in this section includes the top landing page (what page users are first coming to on your site), top exit pages (the last page they were one before they left your site) and a list of your most viewed pages. Again, this can be crucial information as you plan your future content strategy.
The final category of information is one of the most powerful yet underused aspects of Google Analytics - goal tracking. Google Analytics allows you to designate specific goals that you want users to accomplish on your site and track the conversion of that goal. Maybe you have a site that has a contact form that you want visitors to fill out. By putting in a few lines of code, you can track exactly which part of your traffic made it to that form and actually submitted it. Or perhaps you have an e-commerce site and you want to track exactly how many people are buying a particular product based on a new banner ad campaign you instituted - again, Google Analytics comes to your rescue.
Google Analytics isn't the only traffic analysis tool on the market, but it does have a lot going for it. It's easy to implement, a snap to use and costs you absolutely nothing. Using it as a tool to help you build your Web content and marketing strategies going forward can provide numerous benefits and help ensure that your online business continues to thrive.