I can’t believe the number of people I talk to that do not have Google Analytics installed on their websites. In fact it never ceases to amaze me that in this current day and age so many online businesses have never heard of Analytics, or, even worse, don’t think it’s worth utilising at all!
Similarly, there are webmasters who do actually have it installed on their site but haven’t bothered to learn how to use it. They may check it once in a blue moon, or organise to have automated reports sent to them every now and then, but they don’t understand the information that’s been placed in front of them.
After all my years in this industry, there’s been one quote that’s always stuck with me. The gentleman who taught me how to get the most from Analytics once uttered the following mantra to me over a cup of coffee: if it isn’t being measured, then it isn’t being managed. At the time I was so engulfed by my enthusiasm to find out more about all the quirks and metrics of the programme that I dismissed this comment and didn’t give it much thought at all. But as I began to take on projects of my own and spent more and more of my time analysing SEO clients’ progress, I began to realise just how true that saying is.
The fact is, if you are lucky enough to have a website that’s generating high volumes of traffic and you’re experiencing a strong level of enquiries or sales, the information presented to you by Analytics could help you boost your conversions even further.
Learning to interpret Analytics data will help you identify the areas or pages on your website that can be improved. You’ll quickly find out what your customers like and dislike about your site and will discover how you lose the most customers. As an example, you may be losing a large percentage of your visitors at the first hurdle – your homepage. If this is the case, your bounce rate will be abnormally high. Customers could be dropping away and heading elsewhere for a number of reasons; perhaps you’re bringing the wrong type of traffic to your website, or maybe there are issues with your homepage’s design. Bear in mind that every single element of your homepage will contribute to its success, including its content, its layout and how your calls to action have been presented.
The Conversion Funnel
Whatever the word ‘conversion’ means to your company, you need to be increasing your chances of turning visitors into new business.
Think of your website as a big ‘conversion funnel’. If you put one hundred potential customers at the very top of your funnel, yet all this interest only leads to one conversion, the bottom of your funnel is far too narrow. Shockingly, you’re not capturing the attention of 99% of your visitors. With Google Analytics, you can identify what’s happening to the other ninety nine guests and determine what you need to do to convince them to buy from you.
This funnel analogy is a great way of explaining what your conversions process should look like. Picture your ideal conversion funnel as being very wide at the top, with straight sides leading down evenly to a narrower tip. This image represents what your site’s visitor flow should look like. Now we’re not saying that you’re going to win over every single consumer that stumbles across your site – quite the opposite, in fact. Whether they head over to your competitors or simply don’t want to purchase your products or services, you will naturally lose the interest of some people. But as a webmaster, your goal should be to convert as many visitors as possible into something valuable to your business.
So where do you start? Well, Google Analytics can help you identify the areas of your conversion cycle that don’t seem to be having the desired effect on your consumer base. Perhaps many people tend to quit your site once they reach the checkout page, for example. If this is the case, you’ll know that you need to take a closer look at this page or process and start working out why it’s not instilling confidence in your visitors.
However you choose to use Analytics, you simply cannot afford to be missing out on all the insightful information this platform can offer. If you need guidance, there’s no substitute for professional advice, so it would be prudent to get in touch with an SEO or an online marketing specialist as soon as you can. Set aside some time each day, week or month to start honing in your website’s performance – after all, how can you measure its worth if it’s not being effectively managed?
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