For many, it’s hard to imagine trying to measure a website’s traffic without Google Analytics. However, once you set it up and the information starts flowing in, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by page after page of statistics and data.
The good news is, a lot of the most important data is simple to track and provides a wealth of valuable information you can use to help improve your website. With it, you’ll be able to find out how visitors discover your site, identify your most successful content, and fine tune your pages and posts.
In this article, we’ll discuss five simple and easy-to-use ways Google Analytics can be useful, even for beginners. Let’s get started!
What Google Analytics Can Do for You
Google Analytics is for anyone who has a website, from blogs to static sites to complex web applications. Quite honestly, it’s for everyone. On top of that, it’s free and it has a lot to offer.
However, the problem most beginners come up against is trying to figure out what they should actually be doing with all of this newfound analytics data. In other words, what’s it really for?
For starters, Google Analytics enables you to analyze the behavior of visitors to your website. It can provide the answers to many different questions you may have had, such as:
- How many people visit your website?
- Where do your visitors come from?
- Which pages on your site are the most popular?
- What websites send traffic to your website?
- What marketing tactics drive the most traffic to your website?
- How many visitors have you converted into leads or customers?
With data like this, you can, for example, leverage your most popular content to increase conversions, or assess which marketing platforms work for you and your audience (and which don’t). Without it, every change you make to your site is done in the dark.
Google Analytics for Beginners: Best Uses
The key to running a successful website is to understand how visitors interact with it, which is exactly the kind of information Google Analytics provides. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five simple ways you can make it work for you.
1. Analyze Your Pageviews
One of the first metrics to look at is pageviews. A pageview is logged when a visitor lands on a page on your website. In addition, you can see which pages on your site are being visited the most and an average time of how long they are spending on them. This data gives you an idea of how visitors use your site.
To see your pageviews, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages:
For instance, if visitors are spending all of their time on your blog, that’s great, as this is an indication that you have some quality content that is engaging users. On the other hand, this may also mean that your posts are not converting or moving visitors to other parts of your site.
In this case, you may need to look at the navigation on your site and make it cleaner. Also, consider adding a few Call to Actions (CTAs) throughout your content, inviting users to explore other content or introducing them to your products or services.
2. Monitor Your Bounce Rate
Another simple metric to look out for that can tell you a lot about your website is your bounce rate. Your bounce rate is how often visitors land on your site and then leave without taking any further action. In other words, they “bounce” off of your website.
You can view your bounce rate on the same page as your pageviews. Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages:
The average bounce rate for most websites is 45%. If your site is below this rate, your content is likely very engaging and effective at drawing visitors into your website. However, if your bounce rate is higher than 45%, then there’s room for improvement.
Fortunately, many of the same tactics that apply to pageviews also work for improving your bounce rate. Start by examining your navigation and CTA placement. You can also entice potential customers with a promotion or special offer, use popups, and make sure your site is fast and responsive.
3. Look for New Users
Monitoring the number of visitors who came to your site for the first time in a given day is another effective way to measure the growth and success of your website.
To see how many new users you have, go to Audience > Audiences:
If you are seeing an increase in the number of new users, this is an indication that your marketing tactics are working. It may also mean that your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques are paying off.
To see an improvement in this metric, your content is key. The more high-quality content you have, the more new users you are likely to see. Make your content engaging for your audience and you’re likely to see growth.
4. Consider Your Sources of Incoming Traffic
In addition to the above metrics, that tell you about the amount of traffic your website is receiving, it’s also helpful to consider where that traffic is coming from. Fortunately, Google Analytics provides this data as well.
For information on where your traffic is coming from, go to Acquisitions > All Traffic > Source/Medium:
On this page, you’ll be able to examine how people are finding your site. You’ll be able to tell if they have come from social media, a search engine, a link from another site, or other sources.
This information can be very helpful for putting together a marketing strategy. For instance, if you see a lot of people coming from social media, that may mean your Facebook posts or ads are performing well. Alternatively, if you are not getting much traffic from search engines, it may be time to try some new SEO techniques.
5. Take Note of Keywords People Are Using to Find Your Site
Lastly, Google Analytics has a feature that shows you the keywords people are typing into Google to find your website. This information can be extremely valuable when it comes to tailoring your content for your target audience or optimizing your marketing efforts.
For a list of keywords people are using to find your site, go to Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords:
These keywords are what people have actually typed into Google to find your website. They then clicked and engaged with your content.
With this information, you have a ready-made list of effective keywords you can create content around. When blogging, this can greatly improve the SEO process, in order to increase traffic and boost engagement.
Making Google Analytics Work for You
Even if you’re just starting out, don’t be intimidated by the overwhelming amount of charts and data Google Analytics has to offer. After all, keeping your focus on a few of the most important metrics is all you need to begin improving your SEO, online marketing, and your website.
For beginners, utilize Google Analytics by focusing on the following metrics for the best results:
- Analyze your pageviews.
- Monitor your bounce rate.
- Look for new users.
- Consider your sources of incoming traffic.
- Take note of keywords people are using to find your site.
Questions? Comments? Please feel free to ask away in the comments section below!