Part 2 of 3 — Why should I install Google Analytics?
Before we address the technical aspects of installing Google Analytics, lets spend a few moments discussing with why you want to tacking this admittedly daunting task. Most of the Austin WordPress community who follow me are word people, content developers — folks who love WordPress because it makes it so easy to share our thoughts and opinions with others.
Installing and using Google Analytics uses that other part of our brain; and if you are like me…well most writers have to have a darn good reason to go left hemisphere. So here are a few reasons why installing and managing Google Analytics makes sense for writers and other content developers.
Learning what ‘keywords’ are drawing visitors to out site
If you see which keywords are currently bringing traffic to your site it gives you the opportunity to focus your content on the topics that is driving your site visitors.
For example if your site currently brings traffic for “Austin real estate,” “San Antonio real estate,” and “Georgetown real estate” it’s a good indication you can compete for real estate in other Texas cities and even the more general “Texas real estate.”
You can find this information by tracking keyword rankings…or at least which of your site’s keyword enhanced pages are currently “ranking” in the Google search results.
Discover which content on your site draws the most interest
- Which content is getting the most views?
- Which content is attracting the most links?
- Which content are people landing on most often?
- Can you create more content on the same or similar content?
Learn how visitors interact with your site’s content
- Google analytics show how your users interacted with your site’s content.
- It shows you what percent of the user clicked on which link on your site and much more.
When you can observe user interactivity on your WordPress site, you can work your content around your users.
By tracking how the site visitors are interacting with your site’s content, you can focus on the strategies that are obviously working, and eliminate the information campaigns that are not drawing readership.
Identify from which source your site visitors arriving
- Search Engines
- Direct Links
- Referral links from another site
The Google Analytics reports will show you what percentage of your visitors came from each of these sources; and a break down of each category.
If it is the search engine category, then it shows you which search engine got you the most traffic, Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
It will also show you the most used search terms by visitors, so you can improve your ranking for that keyword.
The break-down of referral sites shows you which sites you need to work with the most.
If your top referral source is twitter, then you need to have exclusive twitter content to make your twitter audience feel special.
If your top referral source is an external website, then you might want to consider having a partnership with that website (link exchanges or something else).
Find out which sites are sending you the best traffic
If you are contributing guest posts for five different sites:
- Which site or site led to the most traffic?
- Did the traffic from one site stick around on your site longer?
- Did one lead to more people subscribing to your blog?
Knowing which sites provide the best traffic lets you know where better to focus your efforts.
Learn who visits your site
Google Analytics reports can be tuned to let you know:
- the geographical location of your audience
- which browser did the visitor use to access your site
- other technical details such as:
- access from mobile device
- screen resolution
- Flash support, and more.
This data is extremely useful, and it can help in numerous ways.
When upgrading your site’s design and / or functionality, you can reference the user data from your Google Analytics to make sure that your site will be compatible with your audience needs and viewing patterns. For example: If most of your users do not have Flash support, then you should avoid adding flash element to your site.
If most of your users are on 1280 screen resolutions, then make sure that your design is compatible with that resolution or if you are noticing more of your site visitors are viewing your content from mobile devices, then may be time to consider a responsive design for your site
The more you know about the people who spend time with your site, the better you can craft new content to keep them coming back and bring more people like them to the site.
Learn what site visitors do when they are on your website
With Google Analytics you can track how the visitor moves to, and through your website:
- where they land,
- where they go from their point of entry,
- how they get around,
- which type of internal links (navigation buttons, bread crumbs, tag or category links, radio buttons, etc) are most frequently used by the site user.
- how long users stay on site
- what is the bounce rate* on your site.
By using this information: you can decrease the bounce rate and increase the depth of page-views.
*Bounce Rate: the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
Learn when they visit your website
By analyzing your site’s traffic for the busiest hours in the day, you can schedule the best time to publish new posts or special offers.
Sometimes our very best clients happen to live in a different time zone. If your site’s peak-traffic hours happen to hit at a time not compatible with your schedule; then you can use the schedule-publish date / time feature in your WordPress dashboard. That way you can your post be fresh and ready for your readers no matter what time it is in your world.
Identify what you do, and don’t do well
- Are you getting a lot of search traffic, but little referral traffic?
- Are people spending time on one page, but not clicking to others?
- Are people visiting lots of pages, but not spending time on any of them?
Find out how sticky your site is
A sticky website is one where a first time reader arrives and finds it difficult to leave. Something about the site motivates them to explore it further – and more importantly to make a decision to (and takes some steps to ensure that they) return again to it.
The next post in this tutorial series will review the types of information you can get from Google Analytics reports and how to use it to improve your WordPress site’s content and appearance.
“Why should I install Google Analytics?” is part two of a three part Hands On WordPress Series, How to use Google Analytics on your Website.