Google Analytics. You may have heard of it. You may even have it installed on your website (and if you don’t I highly recommend you do – it’s free and very, very useful). It’s an essential tool to track performance indicators that can help you grow your business.

But I’m assuming you are here reading this post because you haven’t really used it for your business yet and you want to know some of the basics to get you started. If that’s correct you are in the right place, read on!

Ideally, like anything marketing or business-related, it is good to set regular reporting periods to jump in and review your website performance. I like to use monthly, quarterly, and yearly review periods so that I can see what’s happening in the short term as well as the bigger picture.

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Performance Indicators

If you are new to Google Analytics, the following list of performance indicators can give you a good snapshot of what is happening on your website. These results are easy to find and interpret in Google Analytics so I find they are a great place to start.

Each of the 10 indicators listed below provides opportunities to optimise and grow your business. So if that’s what you are looking for, let’s dive in…

1. Number of Sessions

Audience > Overview

The number of sessions informs you of how many times your website has been accessed in the reporting period. Imagine you own a retail store, you always have a good idea of how many people come in each day, your website is your business’s online storefront so it’s good to know how many people are visiting.

View your results for the set reporting period, then compare it to the previous reporting period or look at the results over the year. How is the performance tracking? Are there any obvious trends?

2. Number of Users and whether they are New or Returning Visitors

Audience > Overview

It’s a good idea to know how many actual people are visiting your site. Ideally, you have filtered your data to remove hits from known bots and spiders, so the number of users should be fairly accurate.

New User vs Returning Visitor information lets you know how well you are doing to bring people back to your website. They may be coming back for content, products, or something else and you can investigate further as to what has brought your visitors back to your site and use that information to attract more people.

The number of new visitors can also highlight aspects of your marketing that are working well at bringing in new visitors and leads. Again you can use this information to leverage your business.

3. Total Page Views and Number of Pages Viewed Per Session

Audience > Overview

Page Views tells you how many pages of your website have been looked at during the reporting period. Then you can diver deeper into which pages attracted the most and the least amount of views and you can investigate as to why.

The Number of Pages Viewed Per Session indicates how well website visitors are being led through your website. It helps you discover if website visitors are exploring your site or leaving after seeing what they came for. It can also give clues as to where you can improve your website to help people navigate around to more of the content or offers you want them to see.

4. Average Time Spent On-Site

Audience > Overview

Average Time Spent On Site will tell you how long, on average, a website visitor will spend browsing your site. Are the results surprising?  If you think about how long your blog posts are, or your sales pages, and how long they each take to read… are your website visitors actually reading your content?? If not, think about how you can encourage them to.

5. Bounce Rate

Audience > Overview

Bounce Rate is an interesting one. It indicates the percentage of visitors who come to your website and leave without exploring any further pages past the first one. Ideally, you want people to explore your site and see what other valuable insights or offers you have available.

Bounce rate is not something to really worry over unless your bounce rate is over 70% or you have a ridiculously low bounce rate <10%.

6. Visitor Acquisition Channels

Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels

The acquisition channels sending the most amount of traffic your way are very important to know. For example, if someone was referring business to you regularly wouldn’t you want to know who it was and why? I certainly do so that I can replicate that interest on other channels or amplify presence, content and advertising on the channels that are working well in attracting visitors to the business website.

7. Traffic Referrals

Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals

Following on from visitor acquisition channels, I like to dive a little deeper into which specific platforms, websites, or posts are driving the most traffic. For example, if social channels are bringing in the most amount of visitors for the month, I find out which social platform or post on a social channel is performing the best so that I can use that information as an advantage to getting better results for my business going forward.

8. Top Performing Pages

Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages
Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages

Top-performing pages tell you what content is of the most interest to your website traffic. Looking at this data you can find opportunities to write more blog posts or create offerings around the topics that are popular with your website visitors, revise copy on the pages that aren’t performing as well as you had thought, or change your website layout to encourage more exploration of the pages you want visitors to see.

The organic results and show what posts are really working FOR your business. The popular landing pages (landing page being the first page a visitor hits on your website) can tell you which pieces of content are resonating and attracting people to your website enabling you to capitalise on that information to grow your reach, traffic and business.

9. Device Used To Access Your Website

Audience > Mobile > Overview

As the business owner, marketing manager, or website developer, you need to know HOW people are accessing your website. The device commonly used to access your website will:

  • impact how website content should be structured and presented
  • where the call-to-actions are
  • how a visitor will use your website
  • and more

The device impacts so many things on a user, customer, engagement, and sales level. This information SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED.

10. Goal Completions

Conversions > Goals > Overview

Goals are an important part of any marketing campaign, any sales employee expectations, and (of course) any business. Your website is a humongous part of all three so I highly recommend setting some goals in Google Analytics to easily track performance.

Tracking goals can highlight breakdowns in sales copy, website extensions, or product offerings. It can also highlight:

  • which parts of your website are working really well for you
  • how much money they are bringing in for your business
  • and the usual path a visitor takes on your site to complete the goal.

All of this information is valuable in terms of optimising and growing your business.

Performance Indicators Help You Grow Your Business

These 10 key pieces of data are easy to find in Google Analytics, relatively easy to interpret, and provide great insight into the overall performance of your website. Once you are comfortable with these aspects, look deeper into the data available to you to find even more valuable information to assist with the growth of your business.

ACTION: What has influenced the traffic trends you have seen? How might you leverage that information to optimise and grow your business going forward?

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Prefer to have someone else analyse your website performance for you? Get in touch.