Part of what I do here is try to give my readers tips on tools that don’t cost them money so that working-class entrepreneurs who don’t have a lot of money to spend can maximize and economize their efforts and grow their business without having to spend money they don’t have. Google Analytics is one of those free tools that everybody should have. While most of you who have your own website likely already have Google Analytics, I feel like this is a tool that not a lot of people take full advantage of, so I want to take the time to go over a few features than can help you to generate traffic and make your website more appealing to people in your niche. If you don’t have Google Analytics, sign up for it now. It is free, and easy to install.
When a lot of people look through the demographics, they might not know what to do with the information. So 60% of your readership are female? Or 65% are between the ages of 18-34? Over half your visitors are using mobile devices to access your page? These are important things to know. If, for instance, you are getting a significant number of women using your site, be sure to use social networking platforms that are popular among women, such as Pinterest and make your site Pinterest friendly by including images. Are you getting a lot of young visitors and mobile use? Then you want to make sure you make your website mobile friendly. Your site should be easy to promote on social networking platforms, and the people who visit your site should be able to navigate your site through the devices they are using. The demographics on Google Analytics will give you the information you need to decide how to refine your site to accomplish this.
Everybody knows how important social networking sites are, but they can also be a time consuming process. Google Analytics gives you the tools to decide which social networking sites are worth your time. Clicking on the ‘All Referral’ tab under ‘Acquisitions’, takes you to a page that ranks the pages that give you your highest referral. Have you been spending a lot of time posting on Instagram but have not been getting significant referrals? Perhaps you should drop it or revaluate how you are using it. Have you gotten a lot of traffic from Reddit? Perhaps you need to make sure that you promote more of your work there. Don’t just look at how many clicks you got from a source, but also how long the visits were. If a social networking site gets you 100 visitors but the average visit is only two second, while another only got you twenty visitors, but the average visit was two minutes, then you might want to focus on the later as it is more likely to you get you the kind of visitors you want. Be sure to go through all the referral pages as you may find some blogs that backlinked to your page. Even if you only got one or two visitors from that blog, contact the person running it and see if they might want to swap guest posts to generate some traffic for both of you.
For anybody working on a budget, search engines will be central to generating traffic. If you can’t afford to pay to send traffic to your site, search engines are going to be your bread and butter. Google Analytics will help you to shape your content to appeal to your target audience. The ‘Organic’ tab will rank the search terms that are leading visitors to your site. Like the ‘All Referral’ tab, you don’t only want to look at which terms are getting you the most hits, but also which terms are getting you longer visits, as well as the most page views. One term might get you over 500 visitors in a month, but the average page views is 1.1, meaning less than 10% of people visited another page on your site. Likewise, the average visit might only be 0.5 seconds. Another term might have only gotten you twenty visitors, but the average visit was five minutes and the average page view was 3.1. Unless you are making a significant amount of money from impressions on Google Adsense, which are likely not, you will want to focus on the terms that got you longer visits and more page views. Gear your articles and content to those key words, and try to add unique content with them in the future. Do not stagnate! Keep up on the trending word searches as they will shift from one week to the next depending on trends in your field.
AUDIENCE OVERVIEW: VISITORS
This is one of the simplest stats available on your site, but it is also one of the most important. There are only two categories: New Visitors and Returning Visitors. The importance of the percentage does depend on the total number of visitors, but as a rule, you should hope to have a 50/50 split, and if the percentages are not sitting about in the middle, it is an indication that you need to change your approach. If, for instance, only 10% of your visitors are Returning Visitors, then you need to do something to make sure the visitors you get return to your site. The best way to do this would be to get an autoresponder, but if you can’t afford one, there are other methods you can use to get your visitors to return. Obviously if your visitors are in the tens of thousands, then a 10% return rate means that you have literally thousands of return visitors daily and the autorsponder may not be as important. If, however, you are only averaging a few hundred visitors daily, making sure that you maximize your visitors’ return rate will be central to increasing your traffic. If 60% or more of your visitors are Returning Visitors, then you are going to need do something about getting more New Visitors, whether it be through social networking platforms, SEO optimization, or paid traffic.
For those who have monetized your site with Google Adsense, this can be the most important statistic on your Google Analytics. It tells you which of your pages are generating the most clicks. If you find that articles on certain subjects are generating more clicks, it may be because people advertising in the niche, and those interested in it, are more likely to click on ads. There is a person who I coach that has a blog about sports. He generally wrote articles about trade rumours and player profiles, but he found that after he wrote a review on classic shoes, he got a lot of clicks on that page. As a result, he’s now made a habit of writing weekly reviews on sports gear related to the sport he covers, and those posts get far more clicks than the articles on players and trades. The section of Google Analytics also tells you which referrals lead to the most clicks. I’ve recommend using Outbrain to the entrepreneurs that I coach, and several have come back to report that though they don’t get as much traffic from Outbrian as they’d hoped, but they did find that visitors coming to them from Outbrain were ten times more likely to click on an ad than people who came to their site from Facebook or Twitter. Now this is a small sample size, so Outbrain may not work as well for you, but look at the stats on your Google Analytics and find out which referrals are generating you the most conversions and try to increase your traffic from those sites.
Google Analytics is an extremely valuable source of information, as any experienced online entrepreneur will tell you, but all too often, people don’t utilize the information in the ways that they should. I’ve given you a quick overview of some of the most beneficial stats, but there are a number of other stats that Google Analytics provides that can help you increase traffic and maximize profits. Learn to navigate Google Analytics and familiarize yourself with the stats. Don’t feel like you have to go through it daily, but do make sure that you go through it at least once a week, and if you see huge spikes in traffic, investigate the source and be sure to take advantage of the information you gather. Do not simply use Google Analytics as a traffic counter; use it as a way to increase traffic and maximize profits.
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