Hey everyone, Chris Holowatyj here from Keddy & Associates, with our first Insider Tip for Web Designers in under 5 minutes. Today I want to talk about the importance of Google Analytics.
So what exactly is Google Analytics, and why is it so important for my website? Google Analytics is a tool designed by, well, Google, and it allows you to capture important information about how visitors to your website actually interact with your website and its content.
It may very well be that you’re not that interested in how your website is performing today, and this may be the case for many reasons. You might just be at the beginning stages of the web design process. Your website might not have a lot of content on it. Or, you might not directly see the need for analytics at the moment. For all of these reasons, you still need to have Google Analytics integrated within your website, and here’s why.
Google Analytics can only collect and track interactions with your website if it is activated. A year from now, if you want to look back on your progress building your website, if you install Google Analytics on your website, you will not have the historical data you are looking for, because Google Analytics wasn’t there to collect that data. Google Analytics is #1 on our list of integrations that you absolutely need to have on your website if you have any level of seriousness towards the reasons why you created your website in the first place.
When you open up Google Analytics for the first time, it can be quite overwhelming to see all these terms and phrases that you don’t understand, but that shouldn’t stop you from diving in and learning more about what Google Analytics is doing for you. Most websites fluctuate quite frequently in the number of daily visitors and overall daily traffic. That’s why our first recommendation, is to discover how to look at your visitor counts in terms of 30 Day Active Users and 30 Day Non-Bounce Sessions.
Now it may sound complicated, but it is actually really simple. The 30 Day Active Users Report is essentially a summary of all the unique visitors to your website from the past 30 days. Keep in mind that this number includes users that visit your website briefly and then leave (also known as bounce sessions, which signal to Google that the visitor was not as interested in your website as they may have been initially when first clicking on the link that brought them to your website).
The 30 Day Non-Bounce Sessions Report is a simple extension of this, but it filters our those “Bounce-Sessions” (which again, are the visitors that don’t stick around to actually engage in your website’s content), leaving you with only the visitors that actually positively engaged with your content.
To get to this analysis, go the the Audience Tab under “Reports”, click on active users, and check off the 30 Day Active Users box. This will show you how many active users your website has interacted with over the past 30 days. Again, this report still includes both the none-bounce and bounce sessions. To visualize how many users actually stuck around long enough to engage with your website’s content, click on “Add Segment” which is right beside the All Users box near the top of the report. Scroll down to “Non-bounce Sessions”, and check it off to see the non-bounce sessions as a separate “segment of data in the chart”. Click apply to see the report refreshed with the non-bounce sessions data in the chart below.
If you want further clarity, you can remove the All Users segment (leaving just the Non-Bounce Sessions), by opening up the drown-down menu inside the All Users box, and clicking on remove. Your report now only shows the Non-Bounce Sessions, which shows you the momentum your website content has generated so far. If you want to view any of this data in 7 day and 14 day intervals as well, you can check and uncheck those boxes as desired.
The 30 Day Non-Bounce Sessions Report is the report that you should focus on most. It is a direct representation of whether or not your website is generating marketing momentum. There are other metrics that you can look at to determine the success of your website, also known as KPIs or “Key Performance Indicators”, but I find that this report is the best at showing visitor sentiment towards your website. Visitors that don’t like your content or don’t agree with what you’re asserting on your website, won’t stick around long enough to continue reading it - they will just leave.
Think of this report like a ceiling that you are continually working towards raising. Every optimization process you undergo, every piece of content that you release on your website, and every interaction on your website should have the goal of increasing your 30 Day Non-Bounce Sessions count. As you build in more content to your website, gain local, national and global interest in your online presence, and increase traffic to your site through social media marketing, content aggregation, and link building, you should see this 30 Day Non_Bounce Sessions count continue to grow.
And there you have it, our first insider tip to using Google Analytics to actually learn something valuable about your website!
This is our first video post, but you can bet there will be many more! So feel free to smash those Like and Subscribe buttons and we’ll back back soon for some more insider web design tips, brought to you by Keddy & Associates!