How many web sites, once built, are almost abandoned?
What do I mean?
How many web site owners ignore the potential to communicate effectively with their visitors and Potential Customers.
Every visitor, well, almost every visitor, is a potential customer. Why would they have taken the trouble to search you out or click on your search result in Google or any of the search engines?
- Do you know what they were looking for?
- Do you know if they found it?
- Do you know what search engine they used?
- Do you know what they did on your web site to try and find it?
- Do you know what actual keyword or phrase they used to find your site?
- Do you know what pages/content they read?
- Do you know what pages or content they find of most interest?
- Do you know how long they stayed or how many pages they looked at?
- Do you know if they ever come back?
If you answer no to any of the above then you’ve abandoned your site, albeit unintentionally.
Having taken the trouble and expense of building a web site the opportunity is being wasted to capitalise on it effectively.
To do so properly, you need to have an analytics tracking service that you can use and rely on at a price you can afford!
Luckily, there is one that is easy to install, access and at a basic level, relatively easy to understand.
Google Analytics does almost all of the above, out of the box, and its Free!
For those of you already using Google Analytics you may well be asking “So what?”.
But are you using Google Analytics to it’s full capacity and its features to full advantage?
7 Features you could and should be using:-
- Website Optimizer – test different page variations and layouts
- Site Search – what visitors search for on your site
- Goals & Funnels – track conversions and identify problems
- Site Overlay – see what visitors click on
- Campaigns – monitor the success of different visitor sources
- Custom Reporting – create your own specific reports
- Custom Segments – categorise and compare visitor statistics
Until earlier this year Google Website Optimizer was only available to Adwords advertisers but is now available, again free, to all website owners. It enables you to do A/B and multi-variate testing to find the most effective copy and content.
Not activated by default, it needs to be set up, and assuming you have a site search option, it provides valuable information about what visitors search for on your site.
If you don’t have an inbuilt search facility Google provides another free service to enable a Google type search facility for your site.
When a visitor arrives on your site and can’t find the information immediately to hand and no search facility available they may simply leave. A search facility gives them an opportunity to stay and engage with your site and hopefully successfully find what they need.
Knowing what your visitors are looking for or expect to find when they arrive, but don’t, highlights products, content or information that perhaps could and should be added.
Goals & Funnels
A goal is a page on your site when, once reached, indicates the successful completion of a task or set of tasks you have defined eg signing up to your e-mail newsletter, downloading a file or making a purchase.
A funnel is a pre-defined path or series of pages required to carry out the task. A funnel represents the path that you expect or visitors are required to take on their way to achieving the goal. Defining funnel pages allows you to see how frequently visitors abandon goals and where they go eg whether a single page or multiple page checkout procedure has a higher abandonment rate and where in the process it is happening.
Although Site Overlay is not unique to Google Analytics, and offered by other vendors, it is still a valuable tool to gain insights about your visitor behaviour. It effectively overlays the pages of your site with a layer that highlights the links on the page and gives click-through data in both no of clicks and percentage values.
It lets you see visually what visitors do on a particular page and the pages they go to.
Google Analytics accurately tracks visitors from any source, such as a search engine, referring site or an e-mail link and analyses the link to obtain this information.
Each visitor to your site enters via a link indicating where they came from and the keywords they used, if any. Using Campaigns enables Google Analytics to also record campaign and medium information.
When using Campaigns, incoming links (such as links from an e-mail promotional mailing) are given additional parameters that enables GA to track the information together with other collected data. Used in conjunction with Goals the data is useful in identifying which type, form or content is the most successful in attracting visitors and which is the most profitable.
If you are using Google Adwords (ppc) the campaign data is already collected and available for detailed analysis.
Custom Reporting (beta)
Google Custom Reporting is that new it is still in beta (test) mode but to all intents and purposes is working successfully. It enables users to create their own reports from almost any of the available data and metrics collected.
It makes it easy to quickly find and compare the information most relevant to your particular needs without having to manually extract data from different reports.
Advanced Segmentation (beta)
Google Advanced Segmentation, still in beta mode, adds to the already rich segmentation capability available in Google Analytics:-
Visits with Conversions
Advanced segmentation enables you to segment your visitors even further eg
- using the above to compare which visits resulting in a conversion came from which search engine using which keywords
- or whether conversions were more frequently achieved from new or returning visitors and were the result of an organic search (non-paid) or paid search such as Adwords or Yahoo’s equivalent.
Used in conjunction with Custom Reporting opens up a brand new and rich source of easily accessible visitor analysis metrics.
Learning to use 1 or all 7 of these Google Analytics features helps take the guesswork out of how well you’re doing or how your site is performing.
If you need help with implementing any of the above give us a call or complete the contact form at foot of page.