Photo: By Ray_from_LA on Flickr
This article originally appeared at American Express OpenForumAnalytics software is essential for any online business: it helps you understand ways to reach your audience and drive traffic to your site.
Google Analytics is one of the easiest ways to do this, and is especially helpful for the eternally busy small business owner or the on-the-go blogger.
It allows you to access both general statistics and minutiae in detailed, comprehensive reports. And of course, it includes all the basic specs, like how many visitors you’re getting, and lets you refine your information based on date range.
Here are 7 things Google Analytics will tell you about your website:
1. The Browsers and Operating Systems Your Visitors Use
Whether they’re coming from Internet Explorer or Chrome, Analytics will tell you. Your website’s report will show a breakdown of which browsers are used and how frequently, This feature is useful because sometimes web features are incompatible with certain browsers and operating systems. If a significant chunk of your visitors are using a system that doesn’t suit your website, it might be time for you to troubleshoot. Second, browser choice says a lot about your visitor base. If most of them are using a boilerplate program, like Internet Explorer or Safari, your site should be extra user-friendly and easy to navigate. Newer browsers with more bells and whistles, like Chrome, signal net-savviness.
2. What, Specifically, Isn’t Keeping People Interested
It’s good to know where your visitors are flocking, but it’s perhaps more important to know which page of your website they’re viewing when they click away to another site. funelling resources to features that aren’t captivating users is clearly not a smart business move, and Google Analytics can help you avoid making that mistake. By showing you the Top Exit Pages of your website, the program shows you the frequency at which web visitors jump ship navigate elsewhere, all broken down by the individual pages of your site. Based on that report, you can decide whether those ill-trafficked parts of your website should be scrapped or just retooled.
3. What Exactly Draws People To Your Site
Very likely, your Google Analytics Keywords report will list a collection of words and phrases familiar to your organisation as the main drivers to your site. But the rate for each of those terms, especially when cross-referenced with the feature that shows how many new visitors are logging on versus returning ones, can be substantially useful in developing a marketing strategy. If you know what’s pointing people to your site, you can work backward — explore advertising opportunities with sites that focus on related topics or, if it makes sense, gear your homepage toward the subject matter that’s drawing people in. If the point is to captivate visitors and keep them clicking around your site, this tool is a most valuable one.
4. How Many People Just Aren’t Interested At All
Your site can have all the hits in the world, but if people aren’t finding their way to your site and staying there to explore, it’s tough to foster growth online. To help you better understand how many people are coming to your site to stay, Google Analytics offers you a Bounce Rate breakdown. So what’s Bounce Rate? It’s the proportion of your website’s visitors that navigate away without clicking through to a second (or third, or fourth) page. True, you can tally that person’s visit as a hit to your site. But there’s no lasting power there, and a high Bounce Rate indicates your site isn’t making a very strong impression. Check out the ultra-useful Bounce Rate among first-time visitors, perhaps the purest form of the metric because it deals with visitors who are ostensibly entirely unfamiliar with your website.
5. How Much People Are Poking Around
The Depth of Visit function sounds a little Big Brother-esque, but it’s important for you to know how many pages people are viewing each time they head to your site. This feature shows the proportion of visitors that view one page, two pages, three pages, and so on. If typically people aren’t looking at more than one or two pages per visit, it might be time for a redesign or at least a reorganization of content.
6. Whether People are Viewing On The Go
The ubiquitousness of smartphones and tablets means you need to keep up with that technology. If a significant portion of your website’s visitors are finding you on their mobile devices, as Google Analytics can show you, you need to be sure your website is mobile-friendly and accessible. In cases where this feature shows you a sizable enough crop of visitors are seeking you out on such devices, it could be worth it for you to explore building a site specifically designed for use on them.
7. When You’ve Hit A Million Clicks
…or any other myriad benchmarks you’ve decided are important. From number of clicks and visitors to increases and decreases in traffic, the Alerts feature of Google Analytics provides you instant updates (which can be sent to your phone) to let you know when you’ve achieved them. This function could help you mark milestones, like when you finally reach that million-visitor mark, or realise you’re in the danger zone, like when the number of unique visitors drops by half.
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.