If you’ve spent time and money developing a new website then you’ll probably want to know whether anyone is looking at it.
Amazingly there is a great tool for monitoring your website visitors, which is free. Google Analytics is an online tool that helps you to understand how people are using your website. The tool is constantly being updated so the following details are valid at the time of writing (June 2014).
Google Analytics Overview
When you log in to Google Analytics you see an Audience Overview screen which shows how many visitors have viewed your website in the last month. You can change the date range at the top or view by hour, day, week or month. For a true view of how many people have visited your site, you should look at “Users” rather than “Sessions” as Sessions will include repeat visitors.
Lots of people ask for benchmark figures in relation to Google Analytics and the sad truth is that all industries are different and all websites are different so the best thing to do is to compare figures over time and focus internally. Monitoring your own statistics and reacting to changes is usually the best strategy.
Most Useful Figures
Personally I like to look at Pages Per Session and Average Session Duration to get a feel for whether people are interested in the information on the website. This will vary from site to site depending on the size of the website and goals of the site, however it is normally a good thing if people are spending longer and viewing more pages on your site. Be careful with this logic though. I recently worked on a website to improve the visitor experience and journey to help users find what they wanted quicker and easier. In doing so, I warned that this would likely reduce the time people spent on the site and the number of pages viewed. This is exactly what happened as both reduced by about a third and this reflected the reduction in steps to reach product pages.
Setting Up a Google Analytics Account
Registering for a Google Analytics account is surprisingly straightforward as long as you have access to the code for your website. Your login details require an email address and password and you’ll need a Google email address or an AdWords account to set this up. You need to fill out some basic details about your website. Then you will receive “Tracking Code” which you need to add to your website. This begins with <script> and ends with </script>. If you have used a website developer you may need to ask them to help with the next step or if you have access to the source code, you should be able to do it yourself. Copy the Tracking Code and paste it into every page you wish to track immediately before the </head> tag. It can take up to 24 hours for the tracking code to start working but once it is up and running you will start to see figures and graphs.
If you would like any help with setting up or monitoring Google Analytics account please contact Blooming Marketing.