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Google Analytics Part Two: Getting started with Google Analytics for Beginners

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In Part 1, we defined some of the most common words or terms used when talking about Google Analytics. In this part, we’re going to dig a little deeper into the ways you can use Google Analytics to help grow your traffic, increase your sales and even improve your customers’ experience on your site.

If you don’t have Google Analytics and would like to learn more about adding it to your site, just let me know and I’d be happy to help. If you missed our first part, you can check that out here.

Before we go any further, you may be wondering:

Why should you be using Google Analytics for your online store?

First of all, the more information you have and the better you understand it, the more you can help grow your business.

Second, Google Analytics is FREE. All you need is a Google account which is also free. If you use Gmail, you’ve already got one. If not, you can go here to setup a Google Account and here to set up a Google Analytics account. So why not get more insights into how your website is performing?

Set up is fairly straightforward but varies depending on the eCommerce platform that you use.  ioVista would be happy to help you get started if you need it.

So, what can YOU get out of using Google Analytics?

The possibilities are almost endless, really. Just about anything you want to know about your traffic or sales or customer behavior, you can find out. Anything that can be quantified (like a how many sales or how many clicks) can be put into a report for you to analyze. With this data, you can learn more about your customers and the efficiency of your online store. Do a lot of customers leave at the same point in the checkout process? That can help you find a place that’s causing confusion or hesitation so you can modify it. Or, are you wondering how well your paid ads are really doing? You can see how much traffic and conversions they’re actually generating. Do you want to know how much traffic you’re really getting from mobile devices, you can find that out to. Really, anything that can be translated into numbers can be measured by Google Analytics.

The thing is, with this much data, Google Analytics can feel a little intimidating at first and a lot of people aren’t sure where to start. Hopefully this article will help you get started. Like anything, it just takes a little time to get used to it. But once you feel comfortable with the basics, it will become much easier to check more complex data.

Getting Started with Google Analytics: The Dashboard

To get started, it’s a good idea simply to log into your Google Analytics account and check things out. Just familiarize yourself with the layout and what there is to look at. Look at the links that are available and just get a sense of the navigation. You can’t mess anything up. So feel free to click around and take a few minutes to learn the layout.

Next, take a look at the dashboard. This is like the front page of Google Analytics. It’s your starting point. The dashboard is where you’ll select the date range you want to see data for. This is in the upper right corner. Google Analytics will default to show you one month of data but you can change it to anything you like. For example, if you have a sale over a weekend and want to only look at those days, you can do that.

Once you select the date range you want to look at, from the dashboard, you’ll be able to see several basic stats:

  • Visits: Number of visits to your website during the date range you selected.
  • Pages/Visits: Average number of pages visitors view before leaving your site.
  • Bounce Rate: The amount of people who leave after only looking at one page.
  • Average Time on Site: The average time each visitor spent on your site.
  • New Visitors: How many people visited your site that have never been there before.

Eventually, if you wanted to you could customize your dashboard to show you whatever data you’d want to see most. But for now, these default stats are a great starting point.

Getting started with the Google Analytics: Reports

Once you’re familiar with the dashboard, you’ll want to get into the reports. It’s probably best to stick to the basics at first and consider what kind of information you want to know? Below are some common questions about website performance and what reports will give you the answers.

1.Traffic Questions:

How many visits do you get a day/week/month and where are they coming from (direct traffic, organic search, paid ads, referral links)? Everything you want to learn about your traffic can be found by going to the left navigational bar, clicking Acquisition > All Traffic > and then choosing a specific traffic report.

  • Source/Medium will give you a general overview of your traffic. Here you can see bounce rates again and number of page views.
  • Channels  will show you where your traffic is coming from and you can compare the sources to each other: organic, direct, social media, etc.

2.SEO/Search Questions:

How are your visitors finding your site, specifically? Knowing that a lot of them come from Google or Bing or Safari is great but what search terms are they using to do it? Google Analytics can tell you and you can use that information to increase your traffic. Because if you know the most common words people use to find you, you can make edits to your content and include more of those words. This, in turn, could help increase your search ranking when people search for those specific terms.

To view this data, you’d go to: Acquisition> Search Engine Optimization > Queries. If the data doesn’t show up at first, you may require an extra step with this report. Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools need to be linked. To do this, you’ll scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit edit. Next, you’ll be prompted to enter the URL associated with your Google Analytics account. Enter that. Then, the next time you check the report, the data should appear. Of course, if you ever have any trouble with this or any other report, ioVista can help you.

3.Mobile Data:

More and more people are using their mobile devices to search and shop online. In fact, according to some reports, mobile search has recently surpassed desktop searches online. So knowing more about your mobile traffic will only continue to become more important. Plus, now that Google is favoring mobile-friendly sites in searches, it’s more important than ever to recognize your mobile customers and understand how they behave on your site.

To view your mobile data, you should go to the left navigational bar and click: Audience > Mobile > Overview.

This report can tell you about the traffic you get from mobile devices: bounce rates, landing pages and average session duration. It’s the same sort of data you get from the traffic reports but it’s specific to mobile devices.

What can you look up next?

It’s important to keep in mind that this article covered the basics. There are countless other reports and modifications you can make to Google Analytics to get the data you’re interested in. However, by knowing these basics and getting used to the standard reports, you’ll have the foundation to start digging deeper and reviewing other reports.

Every one of the reports listed above can be modified to show you even more detail. For example, with the mobile reporting, you could actually find out what devices people used to look at your site and even the screen size they looked at to do it. This sort of data can help you make modifications to your site to improve your user experience.

If you want to learn more about Google Analytics and how it can help your online business, we’d be happy to help you get it setup and get started. Just call or email us anytime.

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