Thankfully, setting one up is easier than ever with many free, simple construction sites out there like WordPress and Blogger. Or you can outsource to one of millions of designers for a reasonable price.
However, even with a beautiful, well-constructed website, you still risk losing prospects. There may be copy that isn't doing the trick, or a poorly structured page.
That's why it's incredibly important to use a tool to track the activity on your site. One that can show you who comes in, how long they stay, what pages they visit, and where you lose them. Essentially all of the intelligence you must have to make your website more profitable.
Google Analytics is one such program that can do this for you. And best of all – it's free.
Now, I recognize “Analytics” sounds intimidating and technical. However, Google has created a tool that anyone can use. No matter what your background is.
And believe me, having the knowledge it provides can make or break your success online. That's why today I'm giving you an overview of Google Analytics and how to use it to get ahead in your business.
You'll discover how even the most technologically challenged Expertpreneur® can get started with ease…
How you can tell which pages are drawing customers in, and which are turning them off…
And the best way to optimize your copy for maximum conversions.
Google has created an impressive ecosystem for its customers. All you need is one login to access every single program they offer – email, calendars, and, of course, Analytics.
If you do not have a Google email address, you need to set up an account. Google now offers the ability to create a Google account without requiring a Gmail address. Simply go to this website, fill out the form, and you will be all set.
The next step is to set up your Google Analytics account.
There is a little extra legwork to do this, as Google needs information about your site to be able to help you best. Go to the Analytics home page, and click on Access Google Analytics in the top right corner.
You will be taken to a page showing you the steps to getting set up. Click on “sign up” under “Start using Google Analytics” on the right hand side of the page. There you will be prompted to fill out a form and click “Get Tracking ID” on the bottom of the page.
Once you've finished everything, you should see a big chunk of text that doesn't seem to make any sense. It's the code to integrate Analytics into your website.
Every web platform has a slightly different method for implementing the code, so I highly recommend hiring a knowledgeable web designer to implement it for you. It will only take 15 minutes. If you're feeling ambitious and are ready to do this now, you can research the help section of your platform to find out how to do it yourself.
So Many Choices
Once Google Analytics is set up, you are ready to discover how your website is performing. Believe me, it's actually a lot of fun! You may even become addicted to it.
As a general daily activity, I find running a “traffic test” is a great way to get a feel for how you're website is doing. By clicking on “All Traffic” under “Traffic Sources → Sources”, you can get a number of statistics on your page.
Specifically, you can see how many visitors you're getting and where they are coming from. You also get great statistics on the average duration of each visit (the longer the better!), what percentage of visitors are new, how many pages they view per visit, and the bounce rate (the percentage of people who leave without interacting with the page they landed on).
All of these statistics are paramount to optimizing your website. And there are a few key sections to focus on for maximum results:
1) Entering the Website – When trying to get prospects to “stick” on your website, it's important to have an understanding of where they are coming from. Literally.
The first step is to find out which pages they see first. You can do this by selecting “Landing Pages” from the “Site Content” section. It'll show you exactly what pages your visitors are landing on.
To expand on that knowledge, you can use the “Secondary Dimension” section to get another piece of the puzzle: Keywords. This test will show you exactly what keywords your readers are using to find your pages.
Combining that knowledge, you can easily determine which pages to focus on, and what they need to say and offer, to engage the visitors coming to that page.
Overall, it's important to keep in mind the [fundamentals of a great web page], and make sure your pages follow that formula.
2) Leaving the Website – Beyond discovering where people are entering your site, it's important to know where they are leaving your site. It could be the very same page!
By using the “Visitors Flow” reports, you can monitor your traffic flow from the moment a user comes into your site to the moment they leave. Similar to the previous section, if there is a page that people commonly depart from, you want to check it out to see what might be turning them off.
Many factors can lead to a reader leaving your website: ineffectual copy, lack of relevance to the keywords that brought the prospect there, lack of focus. If your website seems unprofessional with no congruency with what they are looking for, they will move on.
Beyond those points, a cardinal sin is unclear direction as to where to go from one page to another. Each page on your website should flow smoothly and organically into the next. If one seems like a dead end, that's likely where you'll lose your visitors.
3) Where Visitors Spend the Most Time – Using the same report, you can find out where people spend the most time. This is indicative of a page that is doing its job and offers a lot of value to your prospects. A valuable page you can optimize to drive visitors to other pages, as well… to download a free report… or perhaps opt-in to a newsletter.
Knowing which pages are the most enticing helps you understand where you should direct your focus to keep visitors around longer. It also helps you understand what about your website and your presence entices people, so you can incorporate that into other sections of your site.
4) Split-testing – This is the true meat and potatoes of Google Analytics. Split-testing is a function that allows you to test two different versions of a page against each other to see which performs better.
Google Analytics lets you create two versions, and have them appear to your visitors one after another in A, B, A, B order. After a certain number of instances, you'll receive the results of your test. Informing you which page performed better.
A great page to do this with is your About Us page. As an Expertpreneur®, it's the most important page on your site. That's where visitors can read about your back-story, your USP, your mission statement, and potentially access your media kit. A well thought out page could net you new customers, as well as offers to speak at events.
Try out two different About Us pages with opt-in forms for contact information. Have your variable be either a headline or your mission statement. (Always stick to one change per test, so you know exactly what impacted the response rate.) You'll be surprised how much a small tweak can effect your results!
It's Easier Than You Think
Honestly, before this tool was offered to the public, performing these kinds of tests was challenging! You could feel defeated just thinking about the sheer complexity of the task.
Nowadays, uncovering how your website is doing, and tweaking it for optimal performance, is not limited to those with deep technical understanding. With Google's free tool, anyone can get the intelligence they need to improve their business.
The best part is you can go at your own pace. Check out a new report each week, or each month. Play around with it, and don't hesitate to find assistance either through Google's extensive “help” section or the large number of websites dedicated to it.
Over the course of six months, you'll become comfortable enough to gauge how your website is doing. And you'll be able to tweak it, bringing serious profits into your business.