The small business guide to Google Analytics


Many people who are promoting their business only think of one website statistic when it comes to marketing and sales: number of visitors on the website. Get lots of traffic and you’ll be set, right? The truth is, there’s a lot of nuance and benefit to understanding your site’s visitors than just getting a lot of people to browse your site. In this post, we’ll give you a brief guide to Google Analytics that can help your small business figure out how and why people come to your site, along with the benefits that knowledge brings.

What is Google Analytics and how can it help?

Google Analytics is a powerful (free!) tool from the search engine giant that can help you see what your web visitors are looking for, how they arrive at your site (organic or paid search), how long they stay on each page, and how they move through your site.

Once the Google Analytics (GA) tracking ID is in place, you’ll be gathering a lot of data about your site’s visitors. But how do you interpret that data? You’ll want to pay close attention to the pages they view most, both from organic search and as they navigate the site once they arrive. For instance, do they mostly visit blog pages or the company About page? Once you get some ideas about what your site’s visitors are looking for you can then guide that behavior. Do you want to capture e-mail addresses? Put a Call To Action (CTA) on your About page. Do people leave your product or service pages quickly? Experiment with different text, change the size of paragraphs, or add headings to break up large text blocks. (It’s important to not make multiple changes at once, otherwise you won’t know how each change has affected traffic.) Patience is the key when working with web analytics - you need time to see if and how your tweaks have affected user behavior.

Small Business Benefits

With the above in mind, here are three benefits that small business can see from gathering data in Google Analytics:

1) Google Analytics can help you make the most of your advertising dollars by tracking individual campaigns. Use UTM codes in custom URLs to identify where visitors are coming from - banner ad on a news site, a link in an e-newsletter, a promoted Tweet. This will help you see where your external advertisements are working best and you can then concentrate on the high-performing sources. (Buffer)

2) You can see what keywords people use to find your site and build campaigns around those search terms. If you run an ice cream store and people find your site more from the flavors you sell than the words “ice cream,” you can focus on that strength when writing content, naming pages, and buying paid search ads.

3) The Goals feature in Google Analytics helps track activity that supports your business - CTA clicks, contact form completion, sale transaction, etc. Once you know how many conversions you have per visitor, you can truly measure your site’s effectiveness and make refinements accordingly.

Setting up your Google Analytics account

When you sign up for Google Analytics, it generates a tracking ID that you place on your site, either through copying and pasting their script code that you embed in your site’s code, or, if you’re using WordPress, simply entering the tracking ID into a plugin. (When you work with a web developer such as Bigfoot, they typically take care of this step once you give them the tracking code.)

First, sign up for Google Analytics. Make sure you sign in with a business e-mail account and not a personal one, as you may need to give that login information to a web developer for access, or at least grant them entry as an admin.

Second, you’ll want to add your website to your Analytics account. For our purposes, you’ll add your website to what Google calls a “property” where you can further define your industry in order to help with designing your Goals once you have Analytics set up and working.

Third, add your tracking code to your site. This is how Google Analytics “sees” users arrive, navigate, and leave your website.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can benefit your small business in many ways, but it’s not for the faint of heart. (Remember the first time you used Photoshop and were overwhelmed, wondering what all the tools and filters and layers did? It’s kind of like that!) Partner with Bigfoot Web to help set up Google Analytics for your business so you can start making your website viewer data work for you.

Bigfoot Web