One of the biggest things I see great business owners do is not pay attention to their data.
We work with many small businesses across different industries on their digital marketing and one of the most valuable advice I can give is to have the business owner track and understand their website and business data.
To get started tracking your website metrics use Google Analytics, free software provided by Google, which is the best option to start with. Many business owners do not know how to use Google Analytics to analyze what is happening on their website. Right off the bat, I want to tell you that I’m not a Google Analytics expert; however, I will share with you some of the things I learned are extremely useful in understanding how your visitors are using your website and how to increase your revenue.
This will get you started on your journey of how to use Google Analytics to make your business a success. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to use Google Analytics as a small business owner to drive revenue; these tips have helped countless of my clients already.
7 essentials on how to use Google Analytics for Small Business Owners
- Install Google Analytics – Seems obvious, right? But it’s essential when you are just getting started learning how to use Google Analytics. When you’re busy running your business you don’t have time to spend looking at data and learning how to use another software package. However, without measuring how your site is doing now, you will not know what you need to improve. Just go ahead and install Google Analytics even before you need to use it because Google Analytics starts gathering data only from the moment you install it on all the pages of your website. It does not show any retroactive data from before it was installed. Here are some tutorials on how to install Google Analytics on your website.
- Filter out your own visits to get reliable data – I am really meticulous about using the filters option to filter out any IP address I am using the computer from. This is really important because if you or anyone on your team visits the website Google Analytics will track those visits unless you tell them to exclude traffic data from that source. You cannot retroactively filter out the data so I always put in the IP address to filter before going to the website I am collecting data for.Here is a tutorial how to filter out your IP address in Google Analytics. If you use Chrome then you can just install a plugin made by Google called Google Analytics Opt-out Add-on that will automatically opt you out of being tracked by Google Analytics on ANY site.
- Know where your traffic is coming from – If you go to the Acquisition tab on the left side after you log in and go to All Traffic you will be able to see all the amount of traffic coming into your website during a specific time period. You can modify the date range for the data on the top right of the page. This report gives you data on how people are finding you and you should spend some time exploring it to see how it changes over time.For example, if you recently got a link from a really relevant website with a lot of traffic, you will be able to measure the number of visitors the site sent you using this report.
- Know your Audience – The Audience section gives you an overview on how people are interacting with the site. I like to look at how much time people are spending on the site, how many pages they’re looking through and what is the bounce rate. As a rule of thumb, a 50 percent bounce rate is average but it really depends on what kind of website you’re running. I like to make my sites sticky so the bounce rate is a low as possible. For some sites in certain, months I got my bounce rate to be between five to eight percent.I like the Audience section because you can get some really good geographical data, down to the city level, but also whether people are using mobile phones or tablets to access your website. If you have a lot of traffic to the site from mobile, then one action you can take is to make sure that your website is responsive and will adapt to the mobile user.
- Link to Adwords and Webmaster Tools – You may ask how Adwords or Webmaster Tools will help when you’re trying to learn how to use Google Analytics. The short answer is more data. I always set up Google Webmaster Tools for my clients. By linking the two platforms together you can see some of the data from Webmaster Tools in Google Analytics. So in a way, Google Analytics can become a hub to go to for a lot of data about your website.I especially love the integration between Google Analytics and AdWords because on the AdWords platform you can get a lot of data on how your ads are performing so you can optimize them and pay less in advertising. However, the downside of just using AdWords reporting is that you don’t know what actions a visitor from an AdWords ad took on your site. Did they just leave right away or did they make a purchase? Once you link both of those platforms you will know just that. This can be extremely powerful to make sure you’re making sales from users you’re paying money for in AdWords.
- If you do e-commerce you can get so much data, but you need to set goals – If you have an e-commerce store, you can set up Google Analytics to integrate with your e-commerce platform. This is really great because you can start getting data not only on where people are interacting with your website but also what are the buyers doing and which actions on your website are most profitable.I have a client who has an online store on Shopify and the way we can slice-and-dice the data is fantastic.If you do not have an e-commerce website, don’t fret. You can still use Goals in Google Analytics to designate certain types of actions a user took on your website, like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. You can also assign a monetary value to those goals and slice the data that way too.
- Multichannel Attribution – This feature is very helpful if you want to see which marketing sources contributed to sales. This allows you to see how in the last 30 days one traffic source to your website might have helped drive sales for another. Imagine a user seeing you come up on search results and clicking through to your website. They are not ready to buy yet so they navigate away. But later, they see an ad you posted through AdWords and they click on it and go ahead and buy. Normally you might attribute the sale to AdWords, but in this case, the Multichannel Attribution report will show you that organic searches contributed to this sale too. This gives you a much better understanding of all your different marketing channels that Google is tracking and how they interact with each other.
I barely scratched the surface on all the great insights you can get once you start learning how to use Google Analytics. There are plenty of tutorials out there for the basics on how to use Google Analytics; however, if you are a business owner who just wants to get started in looking at their data then the tips above should be helpful. The important thing is to start tracking your data and start looking at it to see how you can improve.
Remember that it is very easy to spend hours looking at data without taking any action. So my challenge to you is to start analyzing your data, and then start taking action on it. As the famous quote goes: “What can be measured can be improved”.
If you have any questions about how to use Google Analytics in your business please let me know in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always happy to answer questions and teach people about how to make more sales by focusing on the things you can control.