A quick update before we start: to read the updates on Google's newest analytics platform, head to this blog post. Alright, back to it! ⬇️
Do you know who is viewing your website and where they come from?
Do you know the highest source of traffic to your website?
Do you know which of your pages and blog posts are most popular?
Knowing the answers to those questions is a powerful step to understanding your website and blogging strategy. Not only that, but it can help you identify and solve problems early on, get to know your clients better, and shape the future of your business and marketing strategy.
Connecting your website to Google Analytics is free, but it can be overwhelming, so I wanted to provide you with all the info you need to get started.
First things first...
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is the industry standard for measuring your website traffic and analytics. (I mean, come on, it’s Google!) Essentially, Google Analytics offers you the key to building a deeper understanding of your audience, your customers, and their needs. It’s a free service that will track and report your website’s traffic and store all that information in one place.
Why is it helpful?
By accessing real statistics and numbers about your website, you can make more informed decisions in your business. Here are some examples of the benefits:
You can create opt-in’s based on your most popular blog posts because you know people are interested in that topic
Understanding which pages are serving your business well and which pages have visitors dropping off and leaving
Identifying which pages you should be making on your website
Coming up with new and interesting ways to market your business overall
Tracking what’s working and what’s not by investigating your business’s ROI
Who is viewing your page? Demographic data is tremendously helpful in building relationships with your audience
Again, it’s FREE! So, what’s there to lose? Even if you’re not ready to analyze it yourself, it’s great to set up now.
How does Google Analytics compare to my website platform’s internal analytics?
I bet your website’s platform is a more simple program, whereas Google is very robust and has lots of power to gather and analyze data. That doesn’t mean you should ignore your platform’s internal analytics—it’s sometimes helpful to have an overview available, especially if you’re already logged on.
What are the most important things to track?
There are a lot of helpful data points that Google Analytics has to offer, but here are some of my favorites that I know you’ll find important and helpful for your pet business:
1. Bounce Rate This collects information about the people who come to your website and leave after viewing one page. This is usually seen as a negative; after all, you want people to continue hanging out on your website! However, it could also mean that someone came to your website for a blog post that answers a question they have immediately, which means their problem was solved and they can go on their merry way. Another page where a high bounce rate is positive - your booking page because it may mean they booked or purchased from you! You can also see acquisition reports which will show you the bounce rate based on referral source.
~To view your report, go to Acquisition → Overview
2. Exit Page Ah, the exit page… the page that made your viewer leave the website! This can show you what you need to work on, and it will also show you where you have external links that don’t open to a new tab.
These can be great hints at things to change on your website like adding in CTA buttons or telling clients where to go next so they don’t hit a dead-end (unless it’s a booking page)!
~ To view your report, go to Behavior→ Site Content → Exit Pages
3. Most Popular Blog Posts This is the fun one, and will simply show you which blog posts are the most popular, so you know what content your audience likes to view.
~ To view your report, go to Behavior→ Site Content→ All Pages
4. Traffic Sources Knowing where your audience comes from is one of the biggest keys to understanding how to better cater to their needs and interests. Using this report allows you to finetune not only whether your highest acquisition source is from social media, but you can also refine and find out WHICH social media platform and how many people came to your website from that platform without a certain time period.
~ To view your report, go to Acquisition→ All Traffic→ Source/Medium.
How to set up your Google Analytics account
1. Sign up for a Google Analytics account. (You’ll need a Gmail account to do it!)
2. Copy your Google Analytics tracking ID/code:
In your GA account, head to Admin in the bottom left corner of the page.
Click 'Create Property' and follow the instructions until you click 'Create' (unless you already have a property connected)
Under 'Choose a platform,' select Web. Add your URL and stream name under 'Set up your web stream.'
Click the settings icon, click 'Show advanced options' under 'Page views.' Deselect the 'Page changes based on browser history events' checkbox.
Disable the 'Site search' toggle and click save.
Click 'Create stream' and copy the tracking code/measurement ID and paste it below for us to add to the backend of your website.
3. Add the tracking ID to your website, which will depend on which website platform you have:
That’s it! Easy peasy. From there, you can check back to your Google Analytics and view all the juicy details I outlined earlier. Google Analytics is an incredible resource that I advise all my clients to get after their web design is complete because I want them to have the tools they need to set themselves up for success.
Especially when it comes to blogging, you’ll want all the intel available to you about what works and what doesn’t. As you evaluate your Google Analytics and start to generate ideas on what changes should be made, especially when it comes to blog post ideas, be sure to check out our course: Blogging For Your Pet Biz!