Know Your Web Visitors
After swallowing the big frog (see Charlie Gilkey at Productive Flourishing for more on frog swallowing) of getting your tech-savviness started with a web presence for that cool thing you do, one of the first concerns I hear about from my clients is around how to understand what the heck is happening down on the web-ranch.
If you’re thinking about creating your first web presence or already have one, one of the key ingredients for understanding exactly what is happening is by looking at metrics and this is where Google’s free service Google Analytics comes in very handy.
Google Analytics (GA) will help you understand who is viewing your website, how they found you and what they look at while they are visiting. What biz owner wouldn’t pay for that info?
You, that’s who! Right in line with nearly all things Google, Analytics is free! It’s just takes a bit of tech-savviness to set up your free account, install the code to your blog or web site and then take a brief tour through the dashboard of colorful graphs and data that is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics works by including a tracking code in the template of your web presence. This way, Google’s indexing bots can see every page of your site and tell you all kinds of information about the traffic you’re receiving on those pages.
When I think of web statistics, my mind immediately goes to measuring how many people visit my blog or website. Besides giving you an idea of how much total traffic your website receives, GA will also tell you important stuff about your visitors like what internet browser they’re using, at what internet connection speed (this is good to know if you
deliver video or audio to your visitors), which pages they’re visiting, what content they are actually reading and how long your visitors are spending on your website.
GA will also give you a pretty graph and easy-to-digest data that help you understand which search engines your web presence is being picked up on, what keywords or phrases are being searched to discover your blog or website and a breakdown off how much traffic comes from each source (search engines vs referring sites vs direct traffic).
At a glance, GA helps you quickly see the top pages your visitors enter your website at and the top pages they exit from. Also key as a biz owner is your content itself; your voice and writing style and whether it is reaching your prospective clients. You can get an understanding of this by how long any one visitor stays on your website. If visitors are spending less than 5 minutes, a biz owner can consider new strategies such as working with a copy writer or just beefing up how effectively you are delivering your message.
If your web presence up and running, but you just need to understand what the heck your website is doing, Google Analytics is the cheapest and easiest way to begin tracking and understanding visitor behavior.