Many website owners want to understand how many people visit their website, where they come from, and which pages are the most popular. A lot of people will install basic tracking services, such as a line of html code that registers a visitor count, however with very little extra fuss there is a way to find all the tracking information you could ever dream of, and more.
Google Analytics is a way to assess, measure and analyse every kind of metric imaginable. Do you want to know how visitors found your site? What browser and computer operating system they are using? How long they spent on your site, and which pages they looked at before they left? By installing and starting to use Google Analytics you can finally have access to the kind of information that you can use in ways to seriously boost your website. The data available is incredibly sophisticated, and it is possible to make it work in ways that suit your precise needs.
So, why should you be using Google Analytics?
1) It is free. This degree of depth of insight could be worth £millions for an online business, yet the service is absolutely free to use.
2) Easy to install. Setting up Google Analytics to work with your website is a matter of copying and pasting a piece of html code into your site’s coding. If you use WordPress, or certain other content management systems, there are even plug-ins that can do this for you.
3) Profiles. Using the Profiles portion of Analytics allows you to segment your traffic and look for specific behaviours or patterns. If you want to see specifically how your local visitors navigate your site, or which page is most popular with people who make a purchase, Profiles will allow you to do this.
4) Inform website updates and site design. If you notice that you have a growth in visitors who use mobile platforms, or that your mobile visitors tend to navigate away quickly, this can be an indication that the rendering of your site on mobile browsers needs improving. Similarly, if most of your visitors leave the site after visiting a particular page, it could mean that you could benefit from reassessing whether there is something about that page which is driving people away.
5) Caters for beginners as well as advanced users. If you just want a reliable count of your site visitors and a general idea of how they found you, Google Analytics will provide you with this information easily. If, however, you want far more specific, in-depth information then this is all available too.
6) Integration with your PPC campaigns. If you use Google AdWords to promote your business, you can integrate your Analytics account with your AdWords set up and gain a lot more information about how your ads are performing and what is proving the most successful.
7) Easy to export to Excel. To keep records of how your website is performing and run your own analysis on the metrics that Analytics provides, you can export whatever data is relevant to your interests to an Excel spreadsheet for offline use. This also makes your data shareable with appropriate third parties.
Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool, and offers a great deal of benefit to webmasters and marketers. If, at first, it seems bewildering, Google even provides a free course on how to make the most of its tools and insights.