The success of a company will be determined by the effort it directs towards analytics data collected about visitor and user behaviour.
It’s important to keep track of the visitors’ logs to come up with sound conclusions about those metrics, hence effectiveness of your design, development and/or marketing strategies.
Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most important tools for website/page performance tracking. The metrics to be studied will be different depending on specific business objectives.
In general, most analytical metrics from GA are meant to tell you how users are interacting with your content, where they come from and how long they stay on the page/site.
There are many metrics offered on GA, therefore a wise approach is to split up business objectives, analyse related metrics and make conclusions before moving to the next one.
Short-term and long-term tracking
By default, GA displays statistics collected from the last 30 days.
For analytical purposes, you should be interested in both local/short-term values to know what pages/publications are currently popular and long-term stats which offer better trend analysis.
Therefore, you can extend the timeline 3-6 months back to identify a more consistent pattern of performance and tweak accordingly. Some important stats include pages/content with the highest page views, highest search traffic and so on. You can extend it even further into the past depending on your tracking objective.
For instance, you will require your long-term growth trends to determine which marketing strategies are most effective. Most marketing strategies take months before any visible results can be seen.
Stability is the strongest indicator of growth, therefore once you set the ball rolling on your site, keep it active for as long as possible (longer than your competitors’).
Evaluation of user behaviour
Aside from trying to find out how many people are visiting your site, find out how many have found your content relevant/useful. Metrics that can help you measure this include session duration data and bounce rates.These are found in the Entrance, %Exit and Bounce Rate columns.
The bounce rate metric measures the number of users who visited one page and left immediately after. %Exit is similar, but it also indicates whether those visitors have browsed other pages before leaving. You can find these metrics under Content>>Site Content>>Content Drilldown.
You want to offer information to entice visitors not to leave once they get what they need, and these metrics offer a plausible tool to understand your content’s failure/success rate with your target audience.
If you’re running an e-commerce site, this may include mechanisms for closing sales from various pages on your site.
For instance, metrics/data on conversion rates can help you identify weakness/strengths of different aspects on your order/contact submission forms. A generally acceptable tip for effective use of forms is to only ask for information that is absolutely necessary.
For example, don’t make it mandatory for a user to submit a telephone number as this puts off most visitors who are not comfortable with the idea.
For every goal, the scheme is the same – identify and analyse related metrics in the shorter and longer term and then make conclusions and relevant recommendations for better performance. By doing this regularly, you can stay on top of your website’s performance.