The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Any corporation would pay millions of dollars to collect data and understand the behavior of their customers. That data would then be used to calculate how the corporation should act, what it is doing right and what it is dong wrong, what it could do better, and what it can do for its customers in order to make huge profits. This information is essential to the survival of the corporation. If you placed your business online, wouldn’t you like access to that same data? How much would you pay for that kind of information? What if I told you it was free?
There are many tools to analyze your website and tell you how many visitors your website attracts, where they are visiting when they are on your website, and how much time they spend on your website. There is a whole lot more information to know about what visitors are doing when they go to your website including what country they are living in, what web browser they are using, the screen resolution they are viewing it with, whether they visited through a computer, a mobile phone, or another device. This information is extremely useful if you are looking to find information about your visitors and how you might want to cater your content and design to your visitors. One of the best tools for this is Google Analytics.
Google has collected billions of data on websites for many years before it was ever used as information to Web Developers. Google Analytics was created by Google in 2005. Now in 2014, Google has become the master of Web Analytics. There are plenty of other analytics web programs out there and they do offer other types of information that Google Analytics may not have, but for the purpose of this article, the focus will be a review of Google Analytics and why you need to learn it and have it on all of your websites.
Google Analytics serves a great purpose in delivering much needed information about your website. Go ahead and run a website without it. How successful is your website or business doing? What web pages on your website are the most popular? Are you tracking your ROI (return on investment) or conversion pages? Which landing pages are bringing you the most customers? Are your customers returning or are you only getting new customers? While you may not think you need this information on a regular blog or website, if you are a business, Google Analytics will help you run your business more efficiently.
Google Analytics will help you with Search Engine Optimization techniques because it can be used in conjunction with Google Adwords, which helps you run ads for your business and determine a great ROI for specific keywords.
There may be a time when Google will finally require all websites to use Google Analytics in order to be listed on its search engine. While Google Analytics provides information to the average web developer, it collects massive amounts of data for itself for use in research and advertising methods. Most of this data gathered is used to determine what websites are popular, which ones are irrelevant, how long people are staying on a site, what pages they are visiting and likely being implemented into an existing algorithm which helps to deliver the best results for search queries.
There are issues with this if you want to think in terms of a site as being a part of free speech. If your website is less popular, why should it not show up in a search query? Or if its relevant, but not popular, why shouldn’t it show up on the first page? This is just the system Google uses. After all, not everyone can be on the first page of a search result.
After you have set up your website, you should consider Google Analytics. It will provide you with all the information you need to know about your visitors and your website. There are many different ways to track visitors by simply putting the free code on your website. You may need to add additional code in order to track conversions, social media networks, and other multiple domain websites.
Gathering information about your visitors through Google Analytics is essential to your business. You will need at least a month of data in order to truly understand what is going right and what is going wrong on your website. Once you see this, you will want to focus on how long visitors are staying on your pages, bounce rate, where your visitors are coming from, where they are going on your website, and what keywords they may be using to find your website.
If visitors are staying a good amount of time, you likely have some good quality content on your website. If not, than your website probably has short video clips or pictures, which won’t keep people for long, or you may just have uninteresting material on it.
If your bounce rate is above 70%, there is something wrong and visitors are not staying at all. A good bounce rate is around 30-50% which means users are spending some time on your website, about the average for most visitors. Some visitors may spend 1-3 minutes on your website (average) while others may spend 5-10 minutes on your site (above average) or more. If you have a lot of quality content and offer something to your visitors, such as merchandise, a good blog, or a hangout, than you will see those numbers increase.
There is data for where in the world your visitors are from and where they are coming from by search engines, organic, or other places. Understanding where your visitors are in the world will help you focus on demographics and cater to that specific area. If you know most of your visitors are coming from a Google search, you will want to figure out where and what makes that specific search unique. You will also want to focus on making your website visibility stronger on that search engine. If that wasn’t enough for you to focus on, than you will definitely want to make your visibility stronger to other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing.
Every website contains content and will likely have a half dozen or more pages of content on them, some more popular than others. If your visitors are going to a specific page on your website, you will want to figure out why they are going to that page, and either focus more attention to that page to make it even better or create similar pages like it. You will be able to undertand the exact behavior and “migration” patterns of your website. You do not need to study the patterns, but you should be aware of what visitors are doing on your website.
Keywords are everything for a website. They define what your website is, what it does, and who it is for. If you have a certain unique niche that attracts thousands to millions of people, than utilize keywords towards that specific niche, so your website will grow beyond your expectations.
The more information you have about your website, the better your chances for increasing traffic and potential income.
What are you waiting for? Get started today! http://www.google.com/analytics
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Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.