When you sign in to Google Analytics you probably just look at your overall traffic for the day and see if it was higher or lower than the previous day. After you do this you probably click around and look at more pretty graphs, but after doing this for 30 minutes what actionable insights did you end up with? In most cases it will be none, but here is how you can change that:
1. How do you stack up with your competition?
Through the benchmarking screen you are able to compare your traffic stats with your competition. Of course, this data isn’t 100% accurate because all of your competitors may not be using Google Analytics, but it’s better than nothing.
You may already have a good understanding of whether your website receives more or less traffic than your competition, but do you know how engaged your visitors are compared to your competition? By comparing stats like average time on site you will get a better idea of how you stack up against your competition and where you need to make changes to start improving your website.
2. Where in the world are you?
Using the map overlay feature in the country view is usually useless and doesn’t provide much insight about your visitors, however, drilling down to the city level might give you more useful information about your audience. For example, just because your business is based in the U.S. doesn’t mean that most of your traffic is coming from a U.S. city—the majority of your traffic could be coming from London. Once you dissect the geo data and have an idea of where the majority of your audience is located, you can then modify your business to better suit these specific audiences.
3. Window shoppers VS returning customers
If your product or service is only bought once by a customer and you never see them again, then your goal would be to get more new visitors into your website. If you are looking for repeat business then your goal may be to increase your returning visitor count. One good way to do this is by using cookies or referrer information that will allow you to display custom options to different types of visitors.
4. First impressions are the most important
Getting more traffic to your website is one way to increase your sales, but another way would be to control how many people leave your website. If people aren’t staying, you may want to modify your website design or product offering so that it is more attractive. This is usually the easiest way to increase your revenue.
5. Are you compatible?
You may be an advanced computer user, but your customers may not. By finding out which web browsers your customers are using, you will be able to determine if your website is compatible with those browsers. If 30% of your visitors are using Firefox, but your website isn’t compatible with Firefox, then you could potentially be losing a lot of business.
6. How big is your monitor?
If you flash back to 1990 people had very bulky monitors with low resolutions. Today, everybody seems to be using flat panel monitors with higher resolutions. The screen resolution section in Google Analytics allows you to see what resolution your customers are using. This is useful information because if the majority of your customers are using monitors with high resolutions (e.g. 1024×768), you may want to consider increasing the width of your website, which increases the real estate you have to fit more information on the screen. On the other hand, if your visitors tend to have lower resolutions (e.g. 800×600 and below) you want to make sure the width of your website doesn’t exceed the width used by the majority of your users so that they can easily see all the information on your website.
7. Where are visitors coming from?
Referring websites will give you a better idea of how people are getting to your website. If you suddenly get a burst of traffic from a website you have never heard of, go and check it out. See if you can get a burst of traffic from that website again.
8. Where do you rank on Google?
You may already know the keywords that drive traffic to your business, but have you tried to increase your rankings for those keywords? If you notice a keyword is driving a lot of traffic to your site and you are showing up on page 2 of Google for that term, try to get on page 1. You can usually do this through search engine optimization. Or if you want, signup for Google AdWords and start a pay per click campaign with those keywords.
9. Determining new products, services or content
Once you figure out what your visitors like and dislike, you can offer them new things that you think will interest them. Or if people like one particular item, you can offer other products, services or even content that could compliment that item. In many cases it is easier to up-sell current customers than it is to obtain new customers.
10. What causes people to leave your website?
This data will help you understand what people don’t like about your website. If people tend to frequently exit from a certain page, consider modifying it. Create better calls to action or add links to other places on your website. You could also use Google Website Optimizer to improve the performance of your web pages.
11. What are your goals?
It’s amazing how many people don’t have goals setup within their analytics account. If you don’t have goals, how do you know that you are meeting your numbers? Go out there and setup goals if you haven’t already. If you have, make sure you tie in goal data with all of your other traffic stats.