Google Analytics Helps You Improve Your Website
If you want to get the most value from your website, it is important to collect metrics about how people are using your site. There are many programs and software packages you can use to track users on your site. Most webmasters and business owners will not need to get any of these software packages, which can sometimes be quite expensive. Google offers a free system called Google Analytics which can collect tons of data to help you understand how people are engaging with your website.
In order to use Google Analytics, you need to visit https://www.google.com/analytics/ to set up your analytics account. Once you have an account and add your site as a property, you will get a tracking code script which has to be added to each page of your website. This may be tricky to do for a beginner, but if you have an IT pro on your staff it should be no problem to get this code installed on your site. Once the code is live on your site, it will begin to start collecting user data. The data collected is completely anonymous, so you will not have to worry about any privacy issues by using Google Analytics on your site.
Now that you have gotten started, you are probably wondering what you will be able to learn by using Google Analytics. Understanding how users interact with your site will let you know which pages of your site need to be improved. For example, if you have a contact form that no one seems to be using, you will need to look closely at how you are using that form in order to try to get people to use the contact form more often as you had intended. This is just one example, but it should be clear that using this data will be able to help you make your site more user friendly by learning from your data. By making your site more user friendly, you will also make your website more successful.
There are tons of useful metrics which you can track and follow on a regular basis that will let you make your website better over time. Some important metrics which can be tracked using Google Analytics:
- It track how many times users access your website.
- GA will also track the number of new users vs. returning users.
- You can track what country and city users access the site from.
- Compare which devices or browsers people are using to access your site.
- GA tracks user engagement using the session duration (how long a user stays on the site).
- It tracks user engagement so you can see the number of pages users view while on your site.
- You can track who is using the site using demographic data such as age and gender.
- Track what sources are driving traffic to the website (such as google search, facebook, bing, yahoo, other sites, etc.).
- Can set Goals and track performance over time (form submissions, how many people viewed each page, how many people watched a video on the site, etc.).
- Can exclude specific IP addresses from being tracked (such as your own, or IPs used by your company) to make sure that these visits are not counted in the metrics.
These are some of the most common things which can be tracked on Google Analytics. Once the tracking code is placed on the site, it will start gathering data and will maintain that data over time. This will allow you to see detailed reporting which will be able to show current data for any given period (last 7days, 30 days, etc.) and will also allow month over month comparisons, quarterly comparisons, and year over year comparisons once enough time has gone by.
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