Google Analytics is free and very easy to install into your website. It allows you to monitor loads of things: the number of visitors to your website, where they have arrived from ( i.e. referred from), which pages they landed on, how long they stayed and very importantly whether they immediately left your website – called the “bounce rate”. This latter analytic is important because it tells you whether your website is attractive and interesting enough that people want to stay and browse. A poorly designed website, with horrible fonts and colours will sometimes put people off even clicking to the next page.
A lot of people I speak to who are small business owners’ don’t really know a lot about Google Analytics, yet it provides so much quality information to help you understand your customers. There are online courses for Google Analytics but they may be more than you need. An overview of what you can do with it is required at the basic level and then just play with it! There is an App for your phone which means that you can have a quick look while out and about if you really want to.
As a small business owner I would concentrate on the following:
1. Where did your visitors arrive from to get to your website. Are there referring sites which you can exploit further?
2. Which page did your visitors land on and how long they spent on it. This gives an indication of which query they typed into Google and whether their need was met.
3. The path that your customers took through your website. Is it what you expected? Are they doing what you want them to do?
If you are considering a new website, then make sure that your website designer installs Google analytics. This will give you lots of valuable information about your customers and it’s free!