Confession time: I’m a numbers geek (blame my father, the CPA). I love statistics, enjoy looking for trends in data and think Excel is a gift from above.
But I know not everyone shares my fervor for facts and figures. Most people (including many of you?) run away from statistics as quickly as possible, even if that means ignoring some simple but critical reports about your website.
Google Analytics (GA) is a powerful program that can tell you so much about your website, and it is 100% free. There is no good reason not to be using it to measure and monitor the traffic to and through your website. And while GA can tell you so much, users need not drill deep to track the four key metrics on their site, which are:
- Unique visitors — The number of different URLs from which your site is accessed in a given period of time. This basically tells you how many different people visit your site, and this gives you an idea of your breadth of market coverage.
- Visits — How many times was your site visited? Does your audience return to your site?
- Page views — How many pages on your site are viewed? This number talks to how effective your site design entices the growers to stick around by interesting them in more content.
- Avg. visit duration — How much time does the average visitor to your site spend there? How engaged are they at your site? Do the growers read one paragraph and leave, or do they end up reading three or four stories?
GA records these numbers over any period of time you choose, so, beyond getting the tracking code in place, the key becomes consistently monitoring and recording this data on a monthly or quarterly basis to identify trends and position yourself to act on them. For us at Meister Media, that simply means updating and reviewing metrics for the previous 30 days on the first of each month.
Again, you can (and should) measure so many more numbers from your site, including traffic sources (how does your audience get to you?), mobile (should you build a mobile site?), and top content (what information interests your audience most?
But first things first — make sure Google Analytics (or some other metrics tracker) is monitoring your site and instill the discipline necessary to review the data on a regular basis. Through these numbers your customers are telling you many things about your website … why wouldn’t you listen to them?
If you would like to talk more about understanding web metrics and how to use Google Analytics, please contact our Director of Interactive Sales, Bob West, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 440-602-9129.