Making Your Website Work

Dec 19, 2011


There are not very many businesses left without a website. The Yellow Pages have almost become obsolete, making a web presence vital in order to be found. Now it is time to take this one step further and begin analyzing your website traffic. It may surprise you how easy this is to do and how little time it takes.

Questions you may be asking yourself right now: How do I set that up? What am I analyzing? Will I be able to understand the reporting? There are a variety of ways to view the analytics of your website. Your top three priorities when looking at your website statistics should be 1) Identify what's working; 2) Identify what's not working and 3) Identify ways to improve. Google has a tool that makes Web Analytics pretty easy for just about anyone, even if you are only looking to track how often people use your website. The best news is that for most of the basic features it is FREE.

Setting it Up
In order to get Google Analytics, visit http://www.google.com/analytics/ and sign in with your Google account or create one. Click "Sign Up" and fill out the appropriate information, but be sure to use your websites correct url. Once this is all complete it will allow you to "Ad a tracking code." This gives you an html code to embed anywhere on the homepage of your website. This will not show up visually for your visitors, but it will allow the program to track. (When you sign up the program walks you through it step by step.) If someone else manages your website, they will need to embed the code for you.

The below is a what your "Dashboard" will look like.

When to Use It
Scenario 1:You pay big bucks to have a weekly advertisement in the paper that also gives you space on the newspaper's website. When you are spending money, it is always a best practice to track those results. You may already track this in some fashion by asking clients how they heard about you when they purchase a product or service from you, but sales is not the only aspect of your business you should track. You will want to know if the advertisement was enticing and convinced readers to click on the link and go to your website and whether they bought anything at that time or not. Knowing what generates traffic is just as important as the actual sale.

Google Analytics allows you to track the source of each visit to your website by date. It will show you Facebook referrals, LinkedIn referrals, direct visits, etc. This will show you what percentage of those who view your website come from your ad on the newspaper's website; helping you decide if that is a worthwhile investment. Keep in mind, even if a small percentage of your website hits are coming from that advertisement, it does not mean you should cancel it. Look at all the information because it could be that the advertisement has also contributed to 40% of the sales for that product.

Scenario 2: Perhaps you have a specific campaign you are running for one of your products. You may get a lot of website hits in general from your Facebook page, but how do you know if it was your comment about your new refrigerators that drove them to your website?

The key here is to use a landing page. Meaning, create a page on your website specifically geared for that product or special. Google Analytics will allow you to view how many hits that particular page has and from what sources. Allowing you to see how big of an impact your campaign is really having and which sources are giving you the most traffic.

Scenario 3: It is possible that your website is not currently "mobile device friendly" and you are considering paying to create a "mobile site." First thing you should ask yourself is, "Will it even matter?" The same way Google Analytics shows you your traffic sources, it also shows you mobile device hits and what type of mobile devices your visitors are using. You may discover that out of every 1000 hits, only 3 of those are from a mobile device; thus, not worth the investment. But you may find out the exact opposite and make that project a priority.

Percentage of visits that come from mobile devices.


Which mobile devices are being used.
There are many other tools Google Analytics provides and different ways of reporting, but the above are some basic examples of how you can use this tool to help your business. The possibilities are endless and most of them are free.

Please contact SJHL's Jackie Christiansen at (620) 241-1826 or jchristiansen@sjhl.com if you have any questions or would like more information on setting up analytics.

Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, LLC is not an affiliate or associated with Google.