Google Analytics is one of the most widely-used tools in businesses, no matter how large, because it is unbelievably deep, comprehensive, easy to use, and best of all- free. If your small business is NOT using Google Analytics, then your website is not being nearly as effective as it can be. Here are my top 5 reasons why your small business needs to use Google Analytics:
Measure content effectiveness. Are you posting new columns to your blog? Updating your recent news items? Adding events to your calendar? The only way to know how effective any of the content that you’re posting is is to look for peaks and valleys in the visits. If you see a spike you know that something you did was working; if your traffic has been bottoming out for some time, it may be time to rethink your content strategy.
Monitor traffic sources. You have links to your website all over the place: Facebook statuses, Twitter posts, Linked in profile, YouTube channel, discussion boards and forums, and online advertisements. The only way to know what’s working, what needs more attention, and what needs to be abandoned is if you monitor your traffic sources. Maybe you’ll discover that one site you seldom visit is driving a large percentage of your new visitors, or a popular site that you spend a lot of money advertising on isn’t contributing to your traffic at all.
Optimize your post schedule. Are your readers more likely to read your content during their morning commute or their lunch hour? Do you tend to get more traffic on Tuesdays or Thursdays? Analyzing the habits of your visitors and knowing the patterns of your traffic can help you get the most mileage out of every new piece of content that you post.
Gauge page popularity. Chances are your website has more than one page. You might have dozens of blog posts, products in your store, or pages of information, but no matter what your site offers, the only way to know what content is the most popular is by comparing and contrasting the different pages. Repeat visitors, longer than average visit times, and a large number of pageviews all indicate that you might be on to something—so promote that page!
You’ve gone through the trouble of creating a website, keeping it updated, and promoting it—why not make sure that your website is working as effectively and efficiently as possible? Google Analytics are free and can help you improve every facet of your online marketing presence- there is no reason why your small business shouldn’t be using it.
Wait—what about bounce rate? I’ve heard many analytics experts give a lot more weight to bounce rate than I think it deserves. The bounce rate refers to the number of people (as a % of total visitors) who left your site after visiting a particular page. The problem is this: you don’t know why. A very high bounce rate could mean one of two things- either your page is boring and you lost a customer, or they found exactly what they were looking for and were content. Similarly a low bounce rate could also indicate two opposite things: either your content is so gripping that they were compelled to read on, or your site is so in-navigable that your users were lost clicking around in circles trying to find what they needed. For this reason, I try not to pay too much attention to the bounce rate when it comes to key metrics.
Is your small business using Google Analytics? If so, how do you use it? How frequently do you analyze the data?