Why Use Google Analytics?
If you have a website, you should be using Google Analytics.
There are no exceptions here – it’s a useful and important tool for every website owner. One of the first things we recommend website owners do when launching a new site is get tracking set up for Google Analytics.
But why is it so important?
7 Reasons to Use Google Analytics
Google Analytics is easy to figure out for even the greenest of new website owners and it provides you with loads of valuable information. Here’s a sampling of some of the most important benefits the tool offers.
1. You can see how people find your website.
There are over 1 billion websites online right now. Each of them is vying for attention in the overcrowded world of the internet. For your website to do its job – whatever that might be – people have to be able to find it.
Google Analytics has an entire section, Acquisition, devoted to providing you with information on how the visitors to your website found you. Google tracks how many people land on your website after clicking on a link in search results (organic results), how many people come from links shared on social media, from other websites, from paid ads, and by typing your website directly into search.
If you do any marketing to raise awareness of your website, this section shows you which of your efforts are working.
2. You can track what people do when they’re on your website.
Getting people to your website is the first big hurdle you face, but making sure they stick around and come back is just as important. Google Analytics tracks that information too.
The Behavior section in Google Analytics provides information on which pages people often come to first on your website, what pages they click through to next (if any), and how long they spend on your website.
This information will help you understand which parts of your website are successfully getting traction and determine if you need to rework the design or improve your content to keep people around longer.
3. You gain data on who’s visiting your website and how.
Most websites don’t need to reach everyone. There’s probably a specific type of visitor that’s most valuable to you. Google Analytics provides information on who the people visiting your website are in terms of demographics, geography, and their general interests online.
In addition, you can see what browsers they use and what devices they’re coming from. If your website offers a different experience on one device or browser versus another, you may be losing some visitors. Seeing how many people visit your site on mobile or through Safari lets you know how important it is to optimize for those people too.
4. You can find the most popular pages on your website.
Pretty much every website will have some pages that get more traffic than others. And you’ll also have pages that keep people on the site or achieve conversions more than others.
If you have content that’s ranking high or getting shared a lot that brings a disproportionate amount of your traffic, Google Analytics will help you identify it. Just as importantly, if some pages do particularly well at converting visitors to email subscribers or customers, Google Analytics helps you identify those as well.
When you can pinpoint the pages that are working the best for your various goals, you can analyze why they work and shape a strategy for your website moving forward based on past successes.
5. It helps you track conversions.
Different websites will have different actions they most want visitors to take. You can set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics for your website based on the actions you most want visitors to take, such as filling out a form, signing up for your email list, or making a purchase.
For most websites, this data will be the most important measure of whether your website’s doing it’s main job. Google Analytics will help you gauge what’s working on your website to achieve conversions and why.
6. It’s free.
If you have a limited budget, everything else on this list could sound awesome without convincing you it’s worth shelling out money for this tool. But you don’t have to shell out anything. Google Analytics is 100% free.
No matter what your budget is, you can afford it – guaranteed.
7. It’s easy.
If you’re not very tech savvy, hearing about great software tools can make you think how nice that sounds for other people who can figure out how to use them. But Google Analytics is very intuitive for even newbie website owners with basic level tech skills to figure out.
Get Started with Google Analytics
To get started, you only have to set up an account with Google Analytics, add your website as a property, and add the tracking code provided to the pages on your website. That’s a simple copy-and-paste job, and with WordPress sites you have a couple of installation options that are potentially even easier than copy and pasting the tracking code on each page.
Using Google Analytics once it’s set up is similarly simple. You can learn a lot just from clicking around in there on your own, but you can also find instructions how to see a few of the most important metrics here. If you could use more guidance, there are lots of tutorials and educational resources available to help walk you through how to find what you need in Google Analytics and even find valuable information you didn’t know you needed.
There are lots of good reasons to use Google Analytics, and no good reason not to. Go ahead and get it set up on your website so you can start understanding how people interact with you online and measure the success of your website.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.