Even though our entire business and livelihood are built on other people paying us to drive their traffic, at heart, we’re all about making sure small and independent businesses have the tools they need to thrive. Which is why today we’re showing you the basics of what you need to know about Google Analytics.

Even if you’re new to – and, dare I say, scared of – the ever-intimidating Google Analytics dashboard with all its numbers and acronyms and charts, we’ll help you break it into the essential pieces. From there, you can effectively figure out your site’s deficiencies and put some well-directed pep in your step to get it fixed yourself.

Understand Traffic Numbers

When you first log in, you’ll get a nice graph overview of your traffic. Of course you’ll want this to be on the upswing, but understand that this doesn’t necessarily reflect effective traffic, or even an effective amount of it.

If your site’s overall traffic over time looks anything like a plateau, that’s not success. You want to be growing all the time.

Is Your Site a Trampoline?

More important than amount of traffic, however, is intentional traffic. I would argue that this may be the most important statistic of all. I’d take a site with 1,000 hits/month and a 10% bounce rate to a site with 50,000 hits a month and a 90% bounce rate any day.

Bounce rate refers to the rate at which people get to your site, don’t like what they see, and then jet. It’s like walking into a shoe store looking for heels to find it’s actually a Croc dealer. You don’t want this to happen.

What a high bounce rate (people will always bounce, but you don’t want more than the 30% area) means is at least one of two things:

  • The link people clicked to get to your site doesn’t show what they expected (Crocs…)
  • Your site just looks bad (green/purple polka dotted Crocs…)

Avg. Visit Duration

A good number here varies by site type, but you always want this to be higher than lower.

What duration really measures is engagement. Are people visiting your site and hanging around a while? Or just taking a quick look and leaving?

Low duration might mean you don’t have enough quality content on your site to maintain visitor interest, or could mean you give them what they’re looking for so fast they don’t need to stick around.

Pages / Visit

This is usually very closely tied with duration. If people are coming to your site and checking out 5 or 6 pages, they’ll probably be spending some time there.

What a low number means is either:

  • You’re not providing enough incentive/opportunity to keep people browsing to new pages
  • Your site doesn’t have an intuitive flow between pages
  • People are coming to find something specific, land on the page from search results, and see no reason to stick around for more

Of course a higher number is better. You want your website to be an experience, to get people to say “Whoa, that was awesome! Now what the heck’s on this page?” You don’t want people to say “Well that was cool. What’s Miley Cyrus doing these days?”

Bonus SMM Tips!

So how do you not just increase, but improve your traffic? I wouldn’t be Las Vegas’s top Social Media Marketing Guru if I didn’t know how social media could help!

Icons

Try incorporating these social media icons to improve traffic to and flow through your site’s blog.

Tweet It OuT

Making the most of Twitter? Remember, if you run a website, Twitter is an absolute essential.

Stop Failing Already!

Improve your overall social media marketing efforts with these quick tips to help promote your website!

Still can’t figure out Google Analytics?

Our software incorporates Google Analytics, Facebook analytics, Klout scoring, bit.ly, and other measurement tools combined on reports that are much easier to read.