Google Analytics can be overwhelming in that it provides so much data and reporting options. Particularly with inexperienced users, you can get lost for hours sifting through it in order to find key, actionable metrics to improve your website ROI. While there are numerous other useful reports that can provide important insight into specific user behavior and provide clues about how to improve website ROI, for small businesses with limited time and resources, start with the simple, “low-hanging fruit” and you might be amazed by the results.
Here are some simple questions to ask Google Analytics (or another website analytics application you are using) that can help you quickly and easily identify areas for improvement:
1. How much traffic am I getting?
Obviously the most basic question is how many people are actually visiting my site. While in theory you might want this to be consistently increasing and generally as high as possible, keep in mind that for practical purposes you will want to understand more details about this traffic and focus on attracting relevant, targeted visitors to maximize your website ROI…particularly if you are paying for any or most of your traffic.
Additionally, if you have very low traffic, it will be more difficult and time consuming to optimize your site because it takes longer to accumulate enough data to get statistically relevant reports. High traffic means you can make constant tweaks and quickly see if they are having an impact.
Your overall traffic is an aggregate baseline from which to measure your efforts against.
2. What is my conversion rate?
I blogged previously about how important conversion rate is to website ROI. In analytics, you can track numerous goals, from making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or “liking” your page on Facebook to even watching a video or increasing the amount of time users are spending on a page. You can set up multiple goals for your site and track how well your site is converting. You can even track which sources of traffic or pages are converting best (and worst) and make adjustments as needed.
3. What is my bounce rate?
Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that land on a particular page, visit no other pages in your site, but instead leave your site completely. Typically this means a visitor didn’t find anything related to what they were interested in or intended to find at your site. For example, they searched for shoes and landed on a page of your site that sells umbrellas, so they left without exploring anything on your site. Investigate the sources of the traffic visiting your high-bounce rate pages and tweak the content to better match what customers are looking for or to help them find a path towards potentially relevant content on your site.
4. Where is my traffic coming from?
Your traffic comes from a variety of sources, including search (organic or paid,) direct (they type in your URL or click from a newsletter,) or referral (clicking a link from another site.) You can learn where your visitors are coming from, which websites are sending you the most traffic, which keywords are sending you the most traffic, and which source is sending you the most traffic. This is extremely valuable to identify potential marketing targets for your offerings, whether it’s sites within a particular industry, keywords to focus on for SEO, or how your email and social media marketing is performing for you. If you are getting other sites to link to yours, you can also use tracking URLs to help you easily identify these sources in your analytics and track their performance.
5. What search terms are people using to find my site?
Uncovering what terms people are using to find your site can help you understand what they are looking for (and make sure you are offering it,) trigger ideas of new content or products to add, and where to focus your efforts for additional search engine optimization.
There have been some changes to the way Google provides organic search term data in analytics where most keyword data is missing (AKA “not provided”). KISSmetrics has some good tips to uncover those missing organic terms.
6. What are the most popular pages on my site?
Looking at the most popular pages on your site can help you determine where to concentrate on for conversion optimization (start with the most popular pages that have a lot of room for performance improvement,) how to best merchandize your site, or where to focus your efforts expanding your marketing. Finding and focusing on your most popular content first will help you see a quick boost to your website ROI.
7. Which pages do customers most often land at when they arrive to my site?
A landing or entry page is any page on a website where traffic is sent (or naturally arrives at as the result of a search of clicking on a link) specifically to prompt a certain action or result. Sometimes you may want to set up specific, customized landing pages where you will intentionally direct traffic that originates from certain sources (an email campaign, a banner campaign, etc.) Other times an entry page may simply be a search engine or site linking to a specific page within your website other than your homepage. To maximize website ROI, make sure your landing pages and top entry pages are optimized to convert a lead or at least push them down the conversion path.
8. From which pages are customers most often leaving the site?
Exit Pages are the pages from which visitors leave your website. That sounds a bit like “bounce rate,” right? The difference is that the visitor may have been to other pages on your site before exiting, whereas when a visitor “bounces,” they only viewed the one page they landed on. Which pages are your visitors most often finding a dead end? To improve your website ROI, it’s important to understand where they are getting stuck or hitting dead-ends and make adjustments that help move them through your funnel towards your goal.
Improving Website ROI – Conclusion
The longer you work with your analytics to optimize your website ROI, the more questions you will have, causing the depth and complexity of those questions to deepen. You can then start to expand into new areas or even create custom reports and segments of traffic particular to your business.
Remember, these incremental changes you make to your site have a compound effect that can really start to snowball as you continue to make improvements. Additionally, investing in optimizing your website means that the improvements in ROI will not only be lasting, but have a positive impact on every new marketing tactic you deploy.
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