Google Analytics is a free service offered by Google that provides detailed statistics about your website's traffic. Your web designer must set this up and add a code to your website in order for it to work. You can then view website statistics by month, week, day, or a custom period that you can specify. Viewing statistics from different date ranges allows you to compare, say, last week or month to the previous week or month to see what has improved and what still needs improvement.
Some of the statistics provided can show you in what country, state, and city your website's visitors are located. You can see how long visitors stayed on your site, how many pages they visited, how many of the visitors are new vs. returning visitors, what device they are using (browser, operating system, type of mobile device), where they came from (what did they click to get to your site), keywords they used to find your site, and much much more.
Google Analytics is set up by creating a free Google Analytics account and setting some options and preferences. You are then given a piece of code to insert into your website. If the code is inserted properly, tracking begins within 24 hours.
Google Analytics helps a website owner see how popular their website is, and what is and what is not working as far as marketing efforts.
Here are some of the more important statistics you should be tracking in Google Analytics:
From Demographics, click on "United States", then the state you're interested in. Note that you will often see visitors from other countries and states; this is normal, as the visits could be user errors, someone checking out the layout of your site, someone trying to get your contact information to sell you their services, other companies in your industry making comparisons, etc.
After you choose the state, you will see a list of cities, in order of how many visits came from those cities. This is very helpful in knowing where your prospective clients are located. It will also show you for each city, on average how many pages were visited, how long they stayed on the site, how many visits were new visits (rather than return visitors), and the "bounce rate" (a bounce rate of 50% or more is not good, as it means someone went to your site and immediately "bounced" off).
Click Overview under Traffic Sources and you'll see a pie chart that shows the percentage of traffic from search engines, referrals, and direct. Your direct traffic should be the lowest (direct traffic is where the person types your domain name into their browser, meaning they already know who you are). You want the most traffic to come from search engines and referrals, but of course search engine traffic only if they are entering your keywords and not simply your company name.
On the Overview page you can also see the keywords that visitors entered (usually into search engines) to find your site. You want to see keywords related to the type of work you do and location (for instance, roofing in Collingswood), rather than keywords that are simply variations on your company name (meaning they already know about your company).
Back to Overview under Sources, click "All Traffic". This will show you where visitors are finding your site and what they are clicking on to get to you. "Direct" or "None" means they are just typing your company name in the browser. It's better to see a lot of different websites that have links to your site. This is why it's so important to do online marketing (promoting your website on various free listing sites) after publishing your website.
If you have a company Facebook page which includes your website link, you can see how many visits came from Facebook by clicking "Social" then "Overview".
Click "Content" on left, then "Overview", and you will see a list of all the pages on your website in order of popularity. It shows you how many views each page is getting, to give you an idea of the content that visitors are most interested in.
TRACKING AND REPORTING
If you want to get the full benefit of Google Analytics, you will want to check your statistics regularly, and make comparisons generally on a weekly basis. This will allow you to see what is working in terms of your marketing efforts, and make some tweaks and changes accordingly to your website and other online marketing efforts if needed. This can be time-consuming and a bit complicated, so T. Brooks Web Design provides Google Analytics tracking and reporting services.