Game of Thrones is the one show I carve time out to watch live each Sunday night. It’s a sprawling fantasy epic about the people of Westeros scrambling to claim the Iron Throne. The dragons sealed the deal for me. It’s not one of those shows you can jump into mid-season and understand what’s going on. The cast list is massive and characters don’t walk around wearing name tags. Unless you start at the beginning and really concentrate on who’s who, it’s overwhelming to figure it out and make sense of what’s going on.
I latched onto the grandness of Game of Thrones much like I’ve been drawn to the data analysis side of Internet marketing. Trying to understand your website’s data can be as overwhelming as sorting out the Seven Kingdoms.
The top dog in analytics reporting is Google Analytics. It’s free to use and with a simple bit of code embedded into your website, you’ll be rolling in data in about a day. Google Analytics gives you so much information about the traffic coming to your website, it can be difficult to figure out what’s important and how you can use all that raw data to your advantage.
Before diving into Google Analytics, it’s good to keep in mind the goal for your website. Are you looking to sign people up for a product or service? Do you want people to fill out a contact form? Whatever it is you want people to do on your site, you can use analytics reports to help you make it happen. These three data point sections are a perfect place to start when diving into your website’s analytics.
1. Location – The location data point does much more than just tell you where your visitors are coming from. It’s an indicator of how good your website is at reaching the right customers. If you’re a brick and mortar business, you want your site visitors to be local to your business. The location data point will tell that your website is reaching the right people. If you’re able to do business across the country, this will give you a good insight to where you can find more customers.
Besides seeing where visitors are coming from, you can use the location tool to measure customers’ engagement with your site. You can see how long they’re spending on your site and how many pages they’re visiting as well as if they’re a new or returning visitor. Based on your location data, you can make adjustments to your website to target the customers you want, create more engaging content and turn new visitors into returning visitors.
2. Traffic Sources – Referral traffic to your site gives you another look at how successful your marketing efforts are at driving traffic to your site. Social media sites, guest blog posts and advertising all show up in your referral traffic data. Use the data to determine where your marketing is most effective.
3. Keyword Searches – Knowing what words people search for to find your website is so much more valuable than just the SEO data. Take those keywords and use them as a guide for content you should create for blog posts, downloads and white papers. You know people are finding your site through those keywords, use them to your advantage to provide credibility to your website and turn those visitors into customers.
There are a lot of data points in Google Analytics reporting but with an idea of where to start you can focus on what will drive your business and make that your priority when you’re diving into reports.