Guide to Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an all-in-one suite of website tracking and optimization tools provided, for free, by Google. Website tracking and optimization is the cornerstone of building a successful affiliate marketing business because it gives you the proper insight on how well your campaigns perform, if and when visitors take action, and logical methods to improve your conversions and sales.
In this guide, I’ll be sharing how to get started with Google Analytics from the very beginning of setting up an account, all the way to optimization and beyond.
How to Setup Google Analytics
To begin, you’ll need access to a Google account. Sign up for a Google account only takes a few moments so complete this step before taking additional action otherwise, if you have one, proceed to the Google Analytics home page to sign up for the tracking service.
Second, create your new account and fill in the proper forms such as the account name, website URL (remember to correctly use http://www.websitename.com or http://websitename.com), time zone, whether you want Google to anonymously track your information (to improve the system), and that you agree to the terms of service.
Third, you’ll be taken to the admin panel upon account creation where you will notice a box containing a jumbled mess of code – this is your tracking code (#2 on the list). Copy the code from the box and place it within the <head> section of your website (before the </head> line). Otherwise, instruct your website developer. Once installed, it will take an hour or more to begin functioning and about a day before you see traffic statistics.
In review, you’ve setup your Google Analytics account and applied the tracking code. You can replicate this process (minus the account creation) for other domains you wish to track; you can have all of your sites linked into one Google Analytics account by adding new profiles.
The Basics of Website Tracking
Now that you’ve created and implemented Google Analytics onto your domain – it’s time to get to the “juicy” section that is tracking.
Tracking your website will reveal more about your business than you could ever imagine because its logical, structured, and based around real numbers instead of guesses and biased feedback.
The main elements of tracking worth monitoring (for new Analytics users) are:
- Your total website visitors which gives you a baseline for your website growth.
- Your page views which shares how many pages are getting play.
- The pages/visit which tells how many web pages the average visitor explores.
- The avg. visit duration that tells how long an individual is on your website.
- The bounce rate which is how many people leave the site.
Other items worth noting is the language from which your traffic comes (important for affiliate promotions that require specific countries), systems (which reveal where your get the most attention), traffic sources (where the traffic is coming from), content (what people view on your website), and the various options that allow you to drill deeper into your website traffic data.
For the average user, the main elements to work toward is the overall website traffic, bounce rate, and monitoring the traffic sources & content pages most frequented. These analytics will allow you to make important decisions about the direction of your website and how best to optimize your existing content.
Become acquainted with the Analytics dashboard and do routine checks to view the performance of your website. Match your work with its impact and make notes about what’s effective within your community.
In the next section, you’ll learn how to turn your monitoring into actionable strategies to improve your conversions through optimization.
Website Optimization with Google Analytics
Lastly, Analytics is all sunshine and lollipops when you only track the numbers but it’s what you do with the stats that really has the most benefits – optimization.
Analytics has a variety of built-in tools to aid in website optimization although much of the work will be the result of you using the website statistics, coupled with development work, to make said improvements.
Starting with the basics, here’s how to optimize your website with Google Analytics:
In-Page Heatmap. Navigate to a specific content page on your website and choose the ‘in-page’ option within Analytics. A heatmap will be displayed of your visitor interaction with your website. Using this data, arrange the website so you can improve the flow of visitors and have them take immediate action in place of confusing navigation and un-needed design elements.
Affiliate Opportunities via Popular Pages. Use the ‘content’ tab to explore which pages have the highest attention for your visitors and cross check to see if you are promoting products on these internal pages. You’ll often find great opportunities to increase sales by adding an additional affiliate promotion on pages you may not have known to be high performers.
Set Goals. Navigate the ‘Conversions’ tab to set up goals for your website. Goals, through Google Analytics, are linked to specific pages such as “thank you” pages or registration confirmation pages. Once setup, you can view how frequently your visitors convert through the goal tracking option in Analytics; you can then use this data to make on-site changes to improve conversions.
Much of your optimization will come from making real changes to your website based on your Google Analytic data such as tweaks to copywriting, designs, call-to-actions, and more. Optimization isn’t difficult now that you have the data – it’s only a matter of putting in the time.
Did you enjoy this beginner’s guide to Google Analytics? Share your own thoughts in the comments.