Article

How Successful is Your Company Website?

If you’re running a commercial website, then you should be taking a constant measurement of its performance so that you can improve the site and the revenue it generates for your business.  

In our previous article, “How to install Google Analytics” we ran through the steps required to get started with Google’s free analytics tool.  Now that you have it set up, the key thing is not to get bogged down with too much data, but simply ask a question and use Google Analytics to find the answer…

How Many People From BC Come to my Website? 

Concentrate on your target market.  If you’re providing a local service in a small community in BC, then the number of visitors from Ontario is probably not a number to get excited about.  But if you find you have a lot of visitors from another region who you aren’t selling to, you could consider forming an alliance with another company in that region, or bringing on a partner and expanding your business.

Where can I find this information?

Click Visitors, and select Demographics and then choose Location.  

The default view will show the Country/Territory of your visitors, at the top of the table you will be able to select City to view more detailed information about your visitors

How Long do People Spend on My Site?

You want your customers to spend a long time on your site, don't you?  Well not always.   

A high dwell time of over three minutes could also demonstrate that users are finding it hard to find content or that they are unsure of how to proceed.  If, for example, you are selling a product on your website you would want the customer to buy an item relatively quickly to ensure that they complete the transaction and do not get distracted.  

On the other hand, if you run a website which has video content or longer articles, a dwell time of over 4 minutes is desirable, as it shows people are taking time to consume the content.

Where can I find this information?

To drill down further and find out the number of people who spent between 0 and 10 minutes, 11 and 30 minutes and more, select Visitors, Behavior, and Engagement.

What Content on My Site is the Most Popular?

Google Analytics enables you to quickly see which pages and sections of your website are attracting the most traffic.  Over time as you see what content is the most popular you can focus on feeding more content of that type onto your website.  

Where can I find this information?

Select Content, Site Content and Pages to view the most viewed pages on your site or select Content Drilldown from the same menu to find out the most viewed pages by your website file structure e.g. mywebsite.com/products not mywebsite.com/products/mouse

What are Goals? 

Goals, in Google Analytics, are something that you as the site owner can set up as an event such as someone performing an action that is desirable and that you want to measure.  Goals enable you to measure when a visitor has landed on a certain page on your site or visited a sequence of pages.  

For example, if you have an online store, you can set up the order confirmation or thank you page as a Goal.  Now each time someone buys something from your site you will see that Goal increase, allowing you to measure it over time.  Of course you probably have other ways of measuring a sale, but having it as a Goal allows you to do further analysis and ask questions such as: where do most of the customers who complete a transaction come from – search, direct to the site, referred from another website etc.

Where can I find this information?

Select Conversions, Goals, Overview to view data on goals you have already created.

To create Goals select the Profiles screen, select Goals and Add Goal. Follow the steps to create your goal. Once you have defined your goal(s), verify that it is working by selecting the appropriate goal report from the Conversions section of your analytics.

Adjusting the Time Range

Timing is everything when comparing your analytics.  By default Google will display a month long range, ending the day before you are viewing the report e.g. if you are looking at the report on July 26th, it will display June 25th July 25th.

To adjust the date range, click on the date range box on the upper right hand corner of your analytics page, this will display a calendar pop-up.  Use this to select the date range you are choosing to review. 

If you want to compare your data to another time period, e.g. compare March 2011 to March 2010, select the Compare to Past tick box under the Date Range field and select the dates you wish to compare.

Sharing your Findings

At the top of each report, just below the title, you will see an Export button, next to Advanced Segments.  You can export data from Google Analytics as a PDF, Excel spreadsheet, CSV or TSV file.  You will then be able to share these report with your business partners, staff or whoever you want.

Benefiting from Analysis

Google Analytics is about more than just collecting data.  By tailoring these analytic reports and reviewing them on a frequent basis you will be able to fine tune your website, bringing in higher quality prospects to your site who you can convert to customers in the future.