Is My Website Effective?
Tax season is done. Spring is trying to start in Michigan. The first quarter of the year is coming to a close, so it's probably time to review how your Internet marketing efforts are progressing. Let's assume your website has been up and running for some time, and you've been faithfully posting to your blog. Has the feedback concerning the effectiveness of your site been limited to casual comments from clients or colleagues?
There is a better way.
You need an analytics program. A free program such as Google Analytics can be incredibly useful. It can track the traffic to your site and answer many questions such as:
- How many people visit my website?
- How do people get there?
- Which pages are most popular?
- How long do they stay?
- Where do the users live?
- Are they using a mobile device and, if so, which one?
To install Google Analytics, you first need a Google account—the same one you use for Gmail, Google Drive or Google+. Go to Google Analytics and click the sign in button in the top right-hand corner, sign in, and follow the directions to set up Analytics on your webpage. (If that fails, find a techie type to do it for you. I did.)
To judge the effectiveness of your site, you'll want to know how many visitors you have and how long they stay. The overview report will tell you the number of visitors. This statistic, called bounce rate, tells you the percentage of people who leave your site after seeing one page.
If your bounce rate is 75 percent, it means that 75 percent of your visitors left after one page. A bounce rate of 50 percent or less is considered good. If your rate is 50-70 percent, your site could use revising and perhaps a complete overhaul. There is a statistic for "average session duration" telling how long visitors stay on the site. If there is a high bounce rate but visitors are staying for more than 10 seconds, then maybe a little updating will do the job.
You may also want to know how visitors got to your page. Again, Google has the answer. To find an overview of all your traffic sources click on Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. This report tells you the number of people finding you through:
- Direct—people typing your site name in their browser
- Social networks
- Referral—links from other sites to get to you
- People clicking through from search engines
Want to know how your tweets, Facebook posts, or LinkedIn are working?
Google has a social media report found under Admin on the main page. Click on Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals. At a glance, you can see which social network sends the most visits to your website. The report is available numerically or as a pie chart.
The Google Analytics data is extensive. To narrow the results, you can set up goals for your traffic statistics. Using the goals template found on the main page under Admin, you can decide which actions you value most: whether it's time on the page or how visitors found you or if they landed on a particular page on your website. For example, you can set up a thank you page for a contact form submission. Once established, Google will then track how many visitors completed the form and received a thank-you, giving you the conversion rate, or number of visitors who took action.
Knowing what is working on your website is vital to your marketing campaign. Google Analytics can help you find some answers.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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