My TOP 20 Reasons to use Google Analytics

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Further to my recent post on analytics, the following are the TOP 20 reasons you should install Google Analytics on your website

1. Setting Goals – If you don’t set goals, Google Analytics will not really help you grow your business. If your photography business has you shooting events, your goal is probably to find newly weds. If your business is teaching and mentoring, your goal is a registration to your newsletter and booking new students.

Once you have your business goals setup in Analytics, you are able to unleash a huge amount of data about what’s working and what’s not in your marketing efforts.

2. Comparing Date Ranges – In the old Analytics, there was no easy way to compare how your site is doing relative to a different point in time. In the current version, Google analytics allows you to compare two different time periods and chart them. This will allow you to identify growth or decline in your web traffic.

3. Deep Geographic Data – You can also see how your site is performing in a variety of ways by city or country. For example, users on my site in my geographical area spent 39.25% more time on my site last month, while the number of new visitors from the United Kingdom decreased by 24%.

4. Local Conversion Data – If you setup “conversion goals”, you can also see how well your site is converting in different locations. For a photographer, this means you can adjust your offers based on how they are performing geographically, much like photographers that had store fronts have done for years.

You can also buy geographically targeted AdWords for regions that seem to be producing sales for you more than others.

5. Bouncing visitors – This is a fancy way of saying “where do users bail out of your website?” By knowing this information, you can attempt to fix the parts that seem to be scaring users away.

6. Navigation Summary – This report shows how users maneuver through your site. For example, you can see where users go from the first page they land on, or how most of them get to your contact page. If people aren’t following your desired navigation, it means you need to re-arrange some things on your website to force users click the right spots.

7. Complete AdWords Integration – If you advertise through AdWords, Analytics will provide you data on each campaign, group, and keyword. More specifically, you can look at each of these areas and see the number of displays, clicks, the cost, conversion, and if it results in a transaction or another defined goal. You will then be able to calculate your ROI.

8. Customize Your Dashboard – The old “Executive Summary” has been replaced with a totally customizable Dashboard where any report can be added and arranged via drag and drop functionality. For example, if you want to see how a particular goal is converting each time you login, you can move this report to the Dashboard for quick access by clicking the “Add to Dashboard” link.

9. Email Reports – If you focused on marketing, chances are you prefer to receive reports in email rather than login and track things down in your analytics program. One of the key features of Analytics is the ability to setup reports, and schedule when and to whom they will automatically be sent.

10. Keyword Source – Knowing how customers find you are one of the most important questions in sales and marketing. Google Analytics tells you what search keywords people are using to find your site. If certain keywords are proving hot, you might want to consider catering keyword buys, content, and offers to them. This feature can also alert you to news and trends; for example, the #2 keyword phrase searched on my site last month was “500px vs smugmug”.

11. Referring Sites – This is a feature of any basic analytics program, but with Google Analytics you can not only see traffic, but goal conversion on the sites sending you traffic. Thus, you can get a read not only on the number of visitors a link partner is sending, but the quality of the traffic.

12. Browser Capabilities – Does your site not support Safari? Do your photos get skewed in the latest version of Firefox? Better make sure you’re not alienating a bunch of your users. Analytic’s Browser Capabilities feature let’s you see what browsers people use to view your site, and again, let’s you drill down to see how well users of different browsers convert against your goals. If those 0.57% of remaining Netscape users are converting like teenager girls at a Justin Bieber concert, better make sure your site supports them!

13. Connection Speeds Data – Connection speed data helps you determine how to prioritize your site’s design. If you still have a fair amount of people on dialup in your area, you may want to make your site a little less load heavy than if your site is all broadband users. For photographers, that means compressing the size of your images to allow for faster upload times.

14. Exclude Internal Traffic – Chances are you spend more time on your site than anyone else, which can skew your data if it’s not excluded. To make sure it’s not counted, Google lets you filter out traffic from IP addresses that you specify.

15. Visitor Loyalty – How often to your visitors come back? Reducing the percentage of people that only visit once should be one of your constant priorities, and Analytics let’s you track this piece of information over a specified date range.

The more a person comes to look at your images and services, chances are you have a better chance on converting them to a buying client.

16. Visitor Type Contribution – This dynamic pie chart tells you the contribution your returning visitors are making versus new ones. My testing showed that my return visitors load more pages and spend more time on my site and they bounce less than new visitors.

17. Search Engine Traffic – Knowing which search engines are sending the most traffic and how well its converting can help you optimize your spend and SEO efforts or purchase keywords on specific search engines. While Google will likely provide you the most traffic, if Yahoo or BING converts better, you might want to see how you can get more visitors from them.

18. Top Content – For each page on your site, Google Analytics will tell you how many times it has been viewed how much time the average visitor stays there, and how many people leave your site after visiting. If you have a popular page that everyone leaves after viewing, you should think about adding something attention grabbing on it.

19. Top Exit Pages – Knowing your trouble spots tells you where you need to improve, and Analytics lets you see your top exit points over a specified date range.

20. Export to PDF – For a nice clean file with Analytics data, you are now able to export reports into Adobe PDF format.

There are my top20 reasons to ad Google analytics to your website and help you grow your business. If you have any more to add, please feel free to comment below and add to this list.

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Kevin A Pepper

Kevin is a photographer and educator based in Waterloo, Ontario. His first love is photographing nature, regardless of the season or weather condition; the Ontario landscape and its wildlife are his inspiration. But you will also see other styles of photography in his portfolio. From street photography to urban exploration of abandoned buildings and architecture, he loves to capture it all with his camera for his corporate clients and his growing personal portfolio. Kevin’s images have been featured in Canadian Nature Photographer, PHOTONews Canada, Photo Technique Magazine, The London Free Press, The Weather Network, and National Geographic Online. His diverse client list includes the City of Cambridge, Olympus, GORE Mutual, TVO, and African Lion Safari. Kevin also operates “Northof49 Photography”, a company launched in 2012 dedicated to teaching amateur photographers through International and Canadian-based workshops. In the coming year, Kevin will be leading workshops in Iceland, Mongolia, Tanzania, Venezuela, Provence, and numerous destinations across Canada. Website: www.northof49photography.com Blog: http://northof49photography.com/blog/