On the weekend of April 27-28, 2013, I attended Wordcamp Melbourne, a gathering of around 300 likeminded people to discuss all things WordPress. This series of posts is an attempt to provide a brief summary of some of what I learned there.
Google Analytics provides a massive amount of information about visitors to your site, but it can be a bit overwhelming to wade through the statistics and know what to do with them. With our busy lives, many of us rarely get beyond looking at the basic figures of how many people came to our site, where they came from, and what pages they looked at.
Stephen Cronin gave us some practical Google Analytics tips on what to look for, and more importantly, what we can do with that information to improve our site’s performance.
Mobile Device Support
With the use of mobile devices set to overtake that of desktop computers, it’s important to know the effects of this trend on your website. You can find information about mobile visits to your site under Audience > Mobile > Devices.
Once you have found this information, some things you might look for are:
- High bounce rate – If a high proportion of visitors on a particular device leave your site straight away without visiting any other pages, there may be a problem with how the site looks or functions on that device. Do some testing and rectify if necessary.
- Responsive site or separate mobile site? There are two main ways of approaching the web for mobile devices – a responsive site, where the same content changes its display according to the screen size; or a separate mobile site. If there is no great difference in the content accessed on mobile and desktop browsers, then a responsive site is probably the way to go. If, however, you find there is a marked difference in the content that is popular with mobile users compared to desktop users, you may want to consider having a separate mobile site.
You may think that your site is loading quickly enough, but there may be users having slow loading problems on your site that you don’t even know about. Google Analytics can give you quite a bit of information about this.
To find information about the speed of your site, go to Content > Site Speed.
Here you can find information about your site’s load time according to:
With this information in hand, you can identify if any sectors of your audience, or any pages of your site, need some attention to improve performance. Google also gives you some handy Speed Suggestions to help you know where to begin!
Under Traffic Sources > Sources > Search, you can find information about the keyword searches that have brought visitors to your site. You can look at results for both Organic (natural search engine listings) and Paid (listings paid for under Google AdWords) listings.
Some things to look out for with this information include:
- Check if there any keywords and phrases on the list that you don’t actually have content for. If it is relevant, ensure that you add useful content to your site so that the visitors find what they’re looking for when they get there.
- If there are keywords or phrases with a low click-through rate, look at why this might be so. Does the content not really match the keyword? If so, you may need to review and rewrite the content.
Under Audience > Demographics > Location, you can check where your traffic is coming from. If you have a lot of visitors from a particular location, can you target that market more with your content?
The bounce rate is when a visitor lands on your site and leaves without visiting any other pages. You can find this information under Content > Site Content > Landing Pages. If some pages have a high bounce rate, find out why, and make appropriate modifications.
These are just a few of the ways that you can make Google Analytics work for you. One other suggestion Stephen made is to monitor your site traffic and investigate any problems early. You can do this by setting up alerts in Google Analytics. Information on Google Analytics Alerts can be found here: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1320491
All sites built by Megan’s Web have a summary of your site visitors easily viewed in the WordPress dashboard, with a link to log in to your Google Analytics account to see the more detailed statistics described in this article. Please contact us if you are a Megan’s Web client and are unsure of your Google Analytics account details.