If you’re putting time and resources into your company’s website, you should be tracking its performance as well. A common pitfall for companies investing in SEO is to get tunnel-vision around tracking keyword rankings. To truly maximize your website’s performance, it’s important to not only track a number of metrics but to know what to do with that data.
Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool, owned and run by Google, that provides data and analytics for your website. The best part? It’s completely free. Installing Google Analytics is your first step to understanding your website’s performance. At Saturn Lounge, we tend to utilize Google Tag Manager to house our Google Analytics codes. Google Tag Manager allows users to add and update a number of tracking and marketing tags without requiring a developer. It’s also free! While Google Tag Manager is a “simple” tool, it still requires some technical knowledge of how the tags you’re implementing work.
Simply measuring how much traffic doesn’t quite scrape the surface of what your Google Analytics data can tell you. Understanding where that traffic is coming from wildly important for measuring your marketing efforts. You can find that information in the Acquisition>All Traffic>Source/Medium section of your analytics dashboard. Not only will you learn what percentage of traffic is coming from organic search, direct visits, paid search, social media, and any other source, but you’ll also get valuable information behind that traffic. By looking at metrics such as bounce rate and average session duration, you’ll gain a better understanding of how that traffic is engaging with your website. If you’re pouring resources into a paid search campaign but 95% of that traffic is bouncing (leaving without taking another action such as clicking to a new page), it’s a good sign that something needs to change. While this view isn’t going to give you all the answers, it will give a good idea of what’s working and what’s not.
While the sheer volume of traffic is important, the bottom line comes down to how visitors are converting on your website. You may need to first set up conversion tracking in your analytics portal. This can be done by going to the admin section and clicking Goals in the View column. One of the simplest and most common conversions is a contact form submission. If you have a thank you page confirmation page you can simply set up a new goal to track all visits to that destination URL as a conversion.
Once you’re tracking what conversions are happening, the next step is understanding where those conversions are coming from. You can find this view in the source/medium section from before, but conversion attribution can be a little trickier than that. The assisted conversions section details a fuller view of how users that converted are getting to that point. This could be someone finding your business through search but then clicking on a paid ad to return to your site and convert. There isn’t necessarily a black and white answer to which part of the journey is more important, but it does give a view into the effectiveness of your different marketing channels.
Now that you understand some of the important metrics to track, what can you do with that data? If you’re finding a high bounce rate on certain landing pages (Behavior>Site Content>Landing Pages) you may want to try making changes to those pages or even A/B testing different pieces of creative. You could also test the site speed performance of those pages to determine if a slow load time could be a factor. You could also look at your mobile performance (Audience>Mobile) to get a better picture of how much of your traffic is on mobile and how that traffic is performing compared to desktop. This could not only inform changes to be made to your mobile experience but also inform other pieces of your marketing such as Google search and display advertising.
If step one to success is simply tracking your website’s performance, step two is certainly tying that performance to your business goals and understanding how to adapt your strategy based on that data. If you have questions on any of this or are interested in learning more about your website’s performance, get in touch. We’d love to work with you!