Analyze your Website Traffic with Google Analytics
Once you start getting lots of internet traffic, you will want to know details about the visitors. It is beneficial to know how they found your website, whether they found it through organic links, or through a paid ad (PPC). Fortunately, Google Analytics will give you more than enough information to track visitors, and help drive your business accordingly. Best of all, it is free.
While a customer service representative for one of the major marketing companies that work with lawyers told me over the phone that she thinks Google Analytics is “shit”, I am a strong proponent of it. The user interface can be difficult to master, but that is because of all the information you have access to.
While setting up your website, it is extremely useful to install Google Analytics. The set-up is simple. You just put a line of code in the head section of your webpages. To get the code specific to your website, signup for Google Analytics at: http://www.google.com/analytics/
Once logged in, add a new account (website) to track.
The first spot to see a basic overview of your visits is under the “My Dashboard”.
Here, is an example of one of my sites with the range of January 1, 2011 – January 1, 2012
Some of the most important information on this page is your overall visits for that time period, the average time they were on your website, what country the visitor came from, and what percentage of the users were using mobile devices (in this case around 10% which is a big enough market you want to accommodate).
This is a good start to analyzing your visitors, but we want more details. To get more details, click on the “Standard Reporting” tab at the top.
This main page gives you a good overview. To change the range of the reporting, simply click on the date in the upper right and change it accordingly. The default timeframe is for the last month. So, the rest of the data that follows gives you an idea of how much traffic one of my sites generates each month.
Besides showing the number of visits, the overview shows the number of unique visitors, the average length of time visitors spent on your website, and a bounce rate. Unique visitors should exclude people who go to your site more than once.
A bounce rate refers to what percentage of visitors leave the page without going to any other pages. Generally, the lower the better. However, the number can be misleading as some visitors might call you if you have your contact information on your main page. I would consider that a successful conversion, but Google cannot distinguish that (unless they were to fill out a form or take some other action on the homepage).
The next main figure we will want to check out is how people found your site. This data includes search engines, and if it was an organic listing, or a paid link.
On the left side panel click on Traffic Sources, then Sources, All traffic.
Now, you can see which search engines people found you on. Direct traffic refers to people manually typing in the URL in their web browser.
To see what percentage of the people were using your AdWords campaign, you can look at the Advertising, AdWords tab (or you can view details in your AdWords account).
The details will show you what keywords they used, etc.
Since it is important to see what keywords people used to find your site, that is the next feature we will take a look at.
Click on the Traffic Sources tab, then Search and either organic (for natural links) or Paid (for PPC).
This information is some of the best information you can use for your marketing. By helping you figure out how people are finding your website, you can see if they are using relevant searches. This will help you determine if you are optimizing for the correct keywords. The information might also give you an idea for some new PPC keywords.
You can get even more specific information by running a secondary dimension query. However, those can be rather complicated, and generally you are not going to get a lot more useful information from it.
Another useful dataset is what pages people are visiting on your website. This is incredibly useful if you run a general practice, as you can determine which practice area is getting the most attention.
I strongly recommend Niche websites. If half of your practice is devoted to one practice area, you definitely want a separate website for that practice area.
To see which pages visitors are going to click on the Content tab, then Overview.
Here, you will see the 10 most popular pages. Generally, a results page, and a contact us page should be in the top ten. The / refers to your homepage.
Once you determine how people are finding your website, you will want to know where your visitors are coming from. Most law firms will want their visitors to be local.
Click on the Audience Tab, then Demographics, and Location. This will bring up a map. The map is interactive. You can click on the map to narrow down the results.
For this example, I clicked on the United States, then New Hampshire, to narrow down my traffic for the last month who came from New Hampshire.
One of the final things you might want to check out is Conversions. This allows you to set-up different events that act as conversions. Such as: filling out a form, going to your contact page, downloading a guide, etc.