Learn why your website isn't working for you, using Google Analytics:
Most small business owners have been in the position of being frustrated with how their business is performing at some time of other.
It can be tempting when this happens, to start guessing about why that is...
- Is it the copy?
- Is it the layout?
- Should the call to action buttons be a different colour?
The list of what could be "wrong" with the website is endless really. So, how can we really know what's going on?
We can know by looking at the numbers...
Because, without knowing our number numbers we are really just guessing as to why our website isn’t performing the way we need or want it to.
There are lots of different analytics tools on the market that can help you analyse the numbers of your website. But, the tool I always recommend my clients use is Google Analytics.
It's my recommendation of choice, because Google Analytics is powerful, easy to use across any website platform, integrates with a lot of things, and best of all - it's free.
So, let's look at how Google Analytics can help you identify what's working well on your website, and what isn't...
Why isn’t your website helping you get new customers?
I explain the two main problems responsible for a website's lack of success in a lot more detail in this article here. But, I'll recap quickly now.
Websites typically have two main performance problems:
- Not enough traffic
- Not enough conversions
Sometimes a website could even be experiencing a combination of both problems.
How do we tell which problem is which?
First, I recommend installing Google Analytics onto your website as soon as possible, so that you can start to collect some data to show you.
How to install Google Analytics:
Installing Google Analytics on your website is usually very simple. You need to create your free account, then install a small bit of code on your website.
> You can follow these instructions here to create your account<
If you’ve created your own website, you might be familiar with the spot the code needs to go, otherwise, I suggest sending the code to your website designer and asking them to install it for you.
How do I use Google Analytics to figure out whether I have a Traffic Problem?
The first view I always recommend going to is:
> Audience > Overview
The first things that are useful to look at in this area are:
- How many users you have
- How many pages they are looking at
- How long they are spending on your site
We can see here that this website has had 396 users. They spend an average of 1.21 minutes on the site and looked at approximately 1.57 pages during each session.
But, this alone will not tell us enough information. Because, say you have a bunch of traffic, but you’re a local business. If the traffic is not local traffic, it’s not helpful traffic.
So, let’s now click on Country or City to look at where our users are coming from:
Hong Kong is not a target audience for this website, so to see that as the number 1 traffic source is a potential red flag.
The second thing that’s useful to look at is what the visitors are looking at on the site:
We find this by going > Behaviour > Overview
Here we can see the pages that visitors have visited.
Many of those pages listed above are actually the same page. But, they have got different UTM codes at the end of the link, so they are showing up as separate pages.
If you're not familiar with UTM codes, UTM code is something that some websites add to the end of the link, to enable people to track where that traffic came from. For example Facebook does this with every single link people click.
So, in the behaviour tab, just watch out for instances of different links but actually being the same page.
How do you analyze and make sense of the page traffic?
I recommend having a good look around through this area and deciding which numbers are most useful to your business.
But, it’s useful for all businesses to consider:
- What pages on your website are getting the most traffic?
- Are they pages that you actually want to get lots of traffic?
- Have you optimised these pages so that it’s easy for visitors to take the action you want them to (e.g. book me, purchase, email me etc.)?
- Is the traffic coming from relevant sources, or is it potential unuseful traffic?
How do I know how much traffic I need in order to get results?
This is a really useful question to ask ourselves, and most small business owners I meet are surprised to find out how much it will take.
Most industry standards indicate that only 1-2% of visitors to a sales page or website will convert.
This means that you need approximately 100 hits to your sales page or website to achieve 1-2 sales.
That can seem like an overwhelmingly large number if you're unfamiliar with how much traffic it takes to achieve your goal! Particularly if you're paying for that traffic.
How can I fix a traffic problem?
There are lots and lots of ways to drive traffic to your website – both for free, or for paid.
Some are extremely simple – such as ensuring you have links to it on all your social media and at the bottom of your email signature. While others are more complex - like working with partners to do referrals.
Want some traffic generation ideas?
Download my free checklist: 60 Ways To Get More Website Traffic
Becoming familiar with how much traffic your website is getting, helps you make important decisions about your business...
If you are paying for traffic, and you're paying for your advertising per click, then knowing how much traffic you need can help you work out if your advertising is profitable.
Say you are paying $0.47 per click...
If your conversion rate is 2%, so you make 2 sales for every 100 people that visit your store, then it will cost you
$0.47 per click x 100 clicks = $47 to make your 2 sales.
Say that the average amount per sale is $75,
2 sales x $75 = $150 in sales revenue
If this was your business, would you still be able to make a profit on these numbers, by the time you pay for all of your other business costs?
Before you go spending a lot of money on advertising, it's very important to ask yourself - how much can I afford to pay per sale?
But what if you have a conversion problem?
A "conversion" on your website is when someone achieves a goal. For your business this might be a sale, booking, enquiry, or all of the above.
As we explored above, industry standards for conversion rates typically range from 1-2%.
But what is YOUR conversion rate?
Many small businesses are experiencing a conversion rate much smaller than 1%, and in some cases even 0% when I start working with them.
But, usually after we've worked together a little while, and optimised their website, their conversion rates go up between 3-5%.
Many factors go into how many visitors you’ll need in order to achieve your desired number of conversions, such as:
- The price point of your product or service, and how it sits in the market
- How well your copy and images connects with your audience and convinces them the value of working with your business
- How fast your website is
- if your website is slow people will often just click back away
- How smooth and easy your checkout process is
- you want to try to help people check out with as few clicks as possible
- How much brand value and identity your business has
- The quality of your product/service
- How much social proof you have on your website
You get the idea...
So, while looking at your traffic is a good starting point for estimating how much traffic you’ll need for your sales objectives, you’ll need to monitor this over time to work out what your own conversion rate is.
How can I work out my conversion rate using Google Analytics?
This depends on your business. If you have an e-commerce website, then Google Analytics may be able to track your purchases for you, and show you where your buyers are coming from.
You can check if this is turned on by going to Admin > E-Commerce Settings - and ensuring that this is toggled "on".
Hopefully once this is set up, Google Analytics should start recording your purchases.
You'll be able to tell if it's working when you go to Reports > Aquisition > Traffic Aquisition
Any sales that you have should show in the conversions column.
If you don't have an e-commerce store, or it doesn't work for any reason, you can use your traffic and sales data to work out your conversion rate(s) manually:
Your conversion rate = number sales / number of hits to your page or website * 100
For example: if you had 2 sales from 78 hits, it would be (2 sales / 78 hits) * 100 = 2.5%
How do I fix a conversion problem?
Working out how to fix a conversion problem is much more difficult, because there are so many moving variable at play.
Usually it requires an expert to look over your website and numbers, then make some recommendations for improvement.
Need some help with getting your website to perform better, or to understand how it's performing?
I have a variety of ways I can help, at lots of different price points. Simply book a free chat, and let's explore the best option for you.
About the author:
Kat Soper is the Founder and Head Trainer of The Helpful Academy Online Business School.
Kat is passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses succeed and achieve their business goals so that they can achieve the lifestyle they desire (and deserve).