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Google Analytics: 4 Key Metrics to Optimize Your Website

You finally have your startup’s website up and running. Now, you need to know if anyone is actually visiting your site and which pages they’re visiting most. This means that it’s time to incorporate Google Analytics (GA). Google Analytics opens doors for startups by acting as a useful, free, easy, and fast-to-implement tool. Startups can track and analyze data to understand and optimize their company websites. This blog post aims to inform you of the 4 key metrics from GA that will guide you on your path to a successful startup website.

1.     Visits and Unique Visitors

Let’s start with one of the simplest metrics. Tracking visits will give you a quick sense of your overall site traffic over time. For instance, if you’ve had 30 visitors per day on average last month, but this month you’re at 300, you can drill down into this data and learn which pages are driving the most traffic and leverage this increase accordingly. With the visitor metric, it’s very important to know how many visitors are new versus how many are recurring. The ‘Visits’ and ‘Unique Visitors’ metrics on GA can satisfy this curiosity.

  • Visits: This it just as it sounds—a metric that tells you how many total times people have come to your website within a given timeframe. Visits can sometimes be an overinflated number. For example, if one person comes back to your website twice in one day, this is counted as two visits.
  • Unique Visitors: In contrast, unique visitors are only tracked once every 24 hours. Unlike regular visits, these are not duplicated. This means that the person who returned to your website twice in one day is only counted once. Visits are an excellent metric because it helps you know how many people are returning daily versus how many people are landing on your site for the first time.

2.     Bounce Rate

For your website to be successful, you need to know which pages are turning people away. The Bounce Rate metric on GA measures the percentage of people who visit a specific page, and then immediately leave your site. It may seem like having a high bounce rate (80%, for example) on any page would be terrible, but that’s not always the case.  There are certain cases where page types lend themselves to higher bounce rates.  For example, individual blog post pages generally have higher bounce rates because people are oftentimes directed there by another source—usually social media. They’ll read your post and then go back to what they were doing previously.

In other cases, however, a high bounce rate can be a sign that your webpage needs to be re-examined for the user experience. You should strive to keep your main webpages  (e.g. home page, products/services page, and about page) as low of a bounce rate as possible.

If you find that these pages are pushing people away, some areas to consider reevaluating include:

  • Functionality – Check to make sure your page doesn’t have any broken links
  • Messaging – Review the content on your page to make sure that it makes sense to your target audience and addresses your message clearly and concisely
  • Design– Make sure your color palette is legible and your font is easy to read
  • Calls to Action – On your main webpages, you always want to make sure that you’ve given your visitors at least one action item with which to engage.  Whether it’s a form to contact sales or a link to another page, without a call to action, it’s easy to acquire high bounce rates.

3.     Average Visit Duration

Aside from the number of individuals visiting your website, it’s also imperative to know how long these visitors are staying. Are most people on your site for hours, minutes, or seconds? The ‘Average Visit Duration’ metric on GA measures the average amount of time visitors spend on each of your pages.  If you find that visitors are not staying on some of your pages for as long as you’d like, you should think about ways to make your site more engaging. Some ideas  include:

  • Determining the Right Amount of Content – It can be difficult to strike the balance between providing too much content and not enough. Generally speaking, your homepage should have the least amount of content, and as a user dives deeper into your website, your content can become longer and more descriptive of what you offer.  Remember: you only have a few seconds to keep a visitor engaged, so it’s important not to bombard them with too much text upfront.
  • Creating Thought Leadership – Just because some of your pages should be less text-heavy, doesn’t mean content isn’t important. A blog is a great way to create content and display your industry expertise. Once your target market engages with your blog, they’ll recognize your credibility and be more likely to visit some of your more important pages, such as your products/services offerings.

4.     Traffic Sources

This last metric, sources of traffic, shows you the top referrals for your website.  This can include things like search engines, links from other websites, and social media networks. Looking at your traffic sources is especially important when you’re spending time promoting your own website.  For example, let’s say you are putting 75% of your social media marketing time into LinkedIn and 25% of your time into Twitter. If you see on GA that most of your traffic is being gained through Twitter, then it could be time to switch gears and re-evaluate your best marketing channels.

Google Analytics is a robust and sophisticated tool, and there are many ways to interpret the data in order to optimize your website.  These 4 metrics are just the start. If you’ve recently launched your website and you have more advanced questions regarding your site traffic, contact us for an introductory conversation.