One of the most powerful tools in your arsenal for developing a world class website is Google Analytics. In real time you are able to monitor a wide range of stats that can help you make your site more successful. By analyzing the way visitors interact with your content, you can devise a plan for future pieces that could engage others in a similar fashion. Here is a list of some of the important metrics you can leverage in Google Analytics:
1. Page Views – In the “Content” section of Analytics, you have access to data that shows you the top performing pages of your website. The number of page views specifically shows you which pages your visitors are finding most relevant to their needs. “Unique Page Views” may be even more important because that represents the number of distinct individuals that have accessed each page for the first time. Combined, this information helps you understand what your readers are most interested in versus what they just stumble upon. If they keep returning to your page, it shows that your site is a resource for them that keeps them coming back.
2. Average Time on Page – The average time a visitor spends on your website in total generally shows you how engaged that person is with your site. That’s hard to take action on though without looking at it on a page-by-page basis. If you find that users are spending an unusually high or low amount of time on a particular page, it is worth investing some time to figure out why. They might really enjoy or need the content on a particular page, in which case you might want to produce more similar content. If they spend very little time on a particular page consistently then you may want to just remove it from your site.
3. Bounce Rate – The “Bounces” of a page/site refers to visitors coming to your site and then within a matter of seconds leaving it without doing anything else. If your site has a high bounce rate, you need to dig in and figure out what is missing. You are simply not engaging your readers and giving them what they are searching for. Your goal should be to constantly find ways to lower your bounce rate and to keep users on your site for as long as possible.
4. Entrances and Exits – Entrances tell you how users found out about your site. More specifically you see the page and site they were on before they came to your site. Paying attention to this can really help you tailor your content to make sure that whatever expectations were set on the previous site are met as clearly and quickly as possible on your site. Exits indicate the page on your site that the user was last on before they left your site and went somewhere else. Of course, it is important to know which pages may be causing users to leave prematurely and or to verify that they are getting all the way through whatever process your site is designed to complete. For instance, if you are running an ecommerce site, you want the exit to be after the person has paid for the goods and services in their shopping cart.
5. Audience – Nearly every measure in the “Audience” area can be used to generate ideas for future content. If you are targeting a specific demographic, the data contained within this section of Google Analytics is able to show you if the content has successfully attracted the target demographic or not. Some of the more important stats in this area are:
Location: Shows you what part of the world your visitors are coming from.
Engagement: This metric under “Behavior” provides the amount of time each visitor spends on your website.
Mobile: Will show you how often mobile device users access your site and the average time they spend reading your content. If you haven’t adapted your site for mobile technology, this metric could show you whether or not you should make that a priority.
By examining how visitors are using your website you can devise a plan to develop content that will keep them coming back. If the majority of your visitors find a particular piece of information useful, you could embellish on that or create additional content that might be complimentary. By regularly keeping an eye on your Google Analytics, your website has a much better chance at sustained success.
Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.