OK, so you have launched your brand spanking new website.
Now you are kicking back, waiting for the deluge of email enquiries and the phone to run off the hook.
Waiting, waiting. Won’t be long now.
Nothing………curse you annoying web designer!
So how do you actually know how people are finding, using and interacting with your new site?
In stride the awesome folk at Google with a nifty tool called Google Analytics.
It is a free tool that provides valuable feedback on how your visitors find and use your website. It integrates other Google tools such as AdWords and Webmaster tools. Regardless of who built your website, it is essential you have this feature installed with ready access to the data.
Google tracks usage through your website by a small snippet of code installed on your site. This code then tracks the important information such as:
AUDIENCE – How visitors found your site and what they actually did once they got there. You can also learn about your visitors in detail, such as their geographical location, age, gender, engagement, what device they accessed your website on and how they flow through your website.
ACQUISITION – Where your website traffic came from, such as Google (SEO), paid search, referring sites such as external links or accessing your site direct. You will see and understand what people are physically typing into Google to find your website or social engagement and will be able to analyse any paid campaigns.
BEHAVIOUR – How many pages these people visited and what they viewed. How they flowed through the website and engaged with your content. You’ll access other important metrics such as site speed and even see in page analytics clicks overlaid over your site in real time.
CONVERSIONS – Measuring goals which are defined within the site such as an enquiry through a contact form, a sale through a shop or an email sign up.
There is so much information in Google Analytics that it is tempting to spend hours and hours buried in statistics. The key metrics that are vitally important are:
- understanding where your visitor has come from
- how they found you
- what they looked at
- measuring the success of the flow through the site.
The day after launching your new website and installing the tracking code, ensure you log in to Google Analytics and check that data is being received. Another great feature is that regular customised reporting can be delivered direct to your inbox.
Keep an eye on website traffic after the launch (assuming you have Google Analytics set up). A big drop in traffic will alert you to the fact that there is something technically wrong. You may experience a small drop in visits, but if done well, your new website will get traction and you should see a spike in traffic.
Use this data to make small continuous changes to ensure your website keeps getting better by understanding where the blockages are in the website.
Keep testing, tweaking and improving.