The Basics of Google Analytics

In this article I'll be sharing tips on how you can increase your traffic using the Google Analytics tool. (Disclaimer: This article isn't how to set-up Analytics. It's how to read and use Analytics to increase your incoming traffic. If you want to learn more about setting it up, start here.


So what is Google Analytics? Well, it's awesome! It gives you tons of free data about your website's audience. You can use this to build a strategy that will help you elevate your brand/content.




The basic things you want to familiarize  yourself with are page views  and users. You can find both of these by logging into your Google Analytics dashboard. Click the navigation menu on the left. Go to your audience and then overview.


Simply put, page views is how many pages were visited on site during a given period.  And users is how many people visited your site during a given period of time.


So in the above example 24,526 users visited the website during a 30 day period and 119,879 pages were viewed during that 30 day period. You can change the time period you'd like to view to whatever works for you. This is an excellent marker to measure growth on your web traffic!




This is the percentage of people who 'bounce' and leave your site after viewing only one page. A general rule-of-thumb is that for an e-commerce site anywhere from 40-70% is fairly average and no cause for alarm. (Below 40% and you are in great shape!) Clearly, the lower the rate the longer people are staying on your site and engaging with your content (*ahem* converting to customers!).


So how can you decrease bounce rate? 


Well I'm going to offer few suggestions in the hopes you are blogging! Because here's the thing, it's hard to encourage first-time visitors to keep clicking around on your website if there's nothing they really feel is of value. Blogging is a great way to create valuable incentive for people to visit your site, engage, and then convert to customers... 


  • Link 'related' articles within posts. This encourages visitors to keep clicking within  your site, and gaining more value from your site.
    • You don't even need fancy plug-ins for this. It could be as simple as hyperlinked texts within  you blog copy!
  • Make your site easy to navigate! This means a clear and focused navigation menu. And include categories to encourage visitors to click around.
    • This is where knowing your customer will come in handy. Think like them. What would they like to find on your site? 
  • Showcase popular/featured posts.


Not blogging? Here's a few additional tips:

  • Have a customer appreciation page. This can be a testimonial page or photos of your work in customer's homes. The point is it give your visitors somewhere to click and offers social proof to help them convert.
  • Include an about page. Again, this should be a no-brainer. But think about this from the experience of a first-time visitor. They have no idea who you are and aren't yet convince to purchase. An about page is your opportunity to tell your story; talk about your process; and help them understand what they gain when buying from you.
  • If you have implemented SEO this tip is more for you... but make sure your keywords are appropriate! If you are using keywords that don't match your customer profile you will have visitors that land on your page and then are like 'hmmmm this isn't what I want... I'm bouncing... bye felicia!' We don't want that.
  • Create content that is easy to read. If a visitor lands on your site and can't quickly understand what you do or read your page, they'll probably leave. 
    • Use short paragraphs. Utilize headings to visually split up text. Use crisp and clear imagery. And make sure it's focused on solving a customer's problem!


Now I do want to say. Don't obsess over your bounce rate. While these are great tips and you should implement them. There are other reasons people may quickly bounce from your site.  You could just be seeing big-time fans who are checking in to see what's the latest. Or any other number of things.




This is how you find out where your visitors are coming from. It's especially useful for knowing your target demographics when you start doing advertising. This is also great for planning event (webinars, in-person, live sales, etc.) so you know what time zone/when/if your audience may be available.


So in the above example, seeing as the majority of your fans are in NZ and then AUS, you could use this when planning an event. Say you were going to do a live auction for your latest collection. Do it at a time you know they will likely be a) awake and b) at their computers/phones. This also tells you, if you aren't already shipping to these areas, you should maybe consider it!




Knowing this can help you tweak your marketing strategy to better leverage avenues that are already performing well. You can see what areas are working and which areas aren't! To get here go to Acquisitions >> All Traffic >> Channels >> Social.


The example above shows that Pinterest is the best source, so that's where your efforts would be focused. Capitalize on that source!


It also may be worth exploring your referral sources. See who is sending you traffic. Check out their site. If you feel inclined, reach out and write them. Thank them for sharing your content and possibly suggest some other posts of yours that their readers may enjoy. Guys, these people already like you and know you're awesome!




Go to Behavior (in left nav menu) >> Site Content >> All Pages. Here you will see the pages on your website that are getting the most traffic. This gives you insight into what your audience likes. Use this when you are launching new products, digital products or doing email marketing. 


*bonus tip* If you see a blog post that is very popular, you can boost the traffic by creating a new Pinterest-appropriate image and pinning it on several of your boards.


Final words, I know Google Analytics can be intimidating! There is a ton of information and data housed there. But there are only a few reports you actually need to understand and monitor to use it effectively to increase your traffic. 


Start with the suggestions above and you'll be solid! And once you get comfortable, start exploring the other reports and see if they can be used to help you. Feel free to share any new tips you find as well in the comments below!