Google AnalyticsYou should. 

I can’t tell you how many times a potential client comes to with an existing website and I take a look and don’t see any Google Analytics script. And every time I do, I just want to face palm myself.

If you don’t know if anyone is coming to your website, how are you measuring its effectiveness? 

Recently I had a call from someone who had a website and it wasn’t working for them. After telling me their story and how they’d had the website for over a year with not one sale, I asked if they were getting traffic but no orders, or if they were just  not getting traffic. Unfortunately, they didn’t know. Their site didn’t have any analytics set up. That’s a year and a half of data that would give us a lot of information about how people are using, or not using, their site.

Why you need to know how people are using your website

You have a website for a reason. Most often it’s a way to drive new clients to your business, whether it’s because you want them to hire you to perform a service, buy a product, or click on a link that generates affiliate revenue, there’s a reason you have a website. Analytics allows you to monitor if your website is meeting that goal.

If nobody is coming to your website, then that is a problem. Why have a website if nobody is coming?

Google Analytics is going to provide powerful data about how your website is doing.

Knowing who is coming to your site, when, how long they are staying, and what they are looking at, and how they got there provides so much information that you can use to make your site better.

Example #1: Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is the percentage of people who are coming to your site and leaving before viewing any other pages. They hit one page and leave. If you have a high bounce rate, that means something on your site isn’t working. Something isn’t getting your customers to view more than one page. Is it the content? Is it graphics? If we know the point of entry and exist, we can try to assess why they are leaving and make changes to try to remedy that.

Example #2: Devices

It’s a good idea to know what devices people are using to access your site. If you notice most of your visitors are visiting on mobile devices, then you can take a hard look at your site and make sure it’s optimized for mobile visitors. And I don’t just mean “mobile-friendly” – which is just that it resolves properly on a phone. I mean optimized, meaning it shows exactly what the users want, quickly and efficiently, right on their phone. That often means eliminating the fluff that’s on the desktop for visual enhancement.

Example #3: Referrals

Google Analytics can tell you where people are coming from. Are they clicking through on your Facebook page? That means your social media marketing might be working. Are they coming from another website? That’s a backlink! Are they coming from an AdWords campaign? That means your ads are working. Or lack of referrals – is nobody clicking a link anywhere to get to your site? That says something too.

Reasons people say they don’t use it

  1. “It’s too complicated.” That’s true, it is complicated. There is a LOT of confusing data there, but even learning just the basics can bring you a lot of valuable information. I have been using analytics for years and I wouldn’t pretend to be an expert, but I’ve learned a lot about how to interpret those results.
  2. “My website is just an online business card.” This is the biggest reason I find that people don’t want to investigate their site’s traffic. Because they don’t think it matters. That they don’t really need a website, but felt like they needed a place so online searchers can find their phone number. Even if you don’t think your website is useful for you in growing your business (note: you’re wrong) there’s still useful information you can find out about your visitors by checking in with Google Analytics.
  3. “I’ll know if my website is working because I’ll have more clients and they’ll tell me they liked my website.” New customers telling you that your website convinced them to call is great. It’s fantastic. That’s excellent information. BUT, there are other people who saw your website and didn’t hire you. Maybe there are answers in the analytics. Don’t rely solely on what people are telling you, look at the data. The data doesn’t lie.

Yes, it’s complicated, but having data on your website visitors is SO important to understanding if your website is working. Don’t forget this key stat, or else you may find yourself wondering how it’s doing later with no data to fall back on.

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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