Tip of the Week September 10, 2012
Volume: 2 | Issue: 36

Google Analytics

So, carrying on with our online/web tips focus, we figure it's time to talk Analytics - Google Analytics that is. There are a variety of different services that track visitors to your site, and provide information such as demographics and traffic sources; but we decided to suggest/talk about Google's as it's dead simple and the most popular of all these types of tools. Google Analytics, or GA, is a free service that generates details and statistics about visitors/traffic on your site. This is something we suggest you set up for your site, be it your BookManager-hosted WebStore, or your own site that you maintain. This tracking tool will let you see data on how many returning or unique visitors you had in the last day/week/month, as well as how they arrived at your site. And now recently, GA has added the ability to create even more detailed and custom reports using their different filter variables. That being said, the information that is generated from simply their standard reporting will most likely be more than enough information for you.

The great thing about using Google Analytics is that it is easy to set up, and they have loads of FAQ's and help docs to consult along the way. Get started by going here and clicking "create an account" in the top right. Also, If you have a gmail address, you can easily link it to that account - but, it may just be easier to use the store/general email address and then that will allow your other staff members to be involved and monitor stats.

Just to give you an idea of the kind of information you will be able to retrieve - have a gander at the below image.

We are looking at a month's worth of data for our site, mosaicbooks.ca. During this time, close to 4,000 people went to our site and about 44% of that traffic were new/unique visitors. You can also see that people cruised our site for just over four minutes. Not pictured, but below this graph and pie chart, there is even more information where all you analytical folk can dive even deeper into the data. GA provides information on where your visitors are from, what kind of computers/mobile device they are using, and even what language they speak.

Another really interesting spot to look at on the GA Dashboard, is the Traffic Sources area, where you can see whether people directly went to your site, google'd you, or were referred through a link. Using the below image, we see that more than half of the visitors to our site, in the specified time frame, searched for us.

So, they used the modern day phone book, aka, the internet. Which is why we have stressed in the past, it's SOOOOOO very important to make sure that your store is "searchable" - people should be able to efficiently find your location, phone number and hours just by going a quick google search. What's interesting about the above data, is you can see the keywords people used to find your site and you can then in turn, modify the metadata that you have used in relation to this.

NOTE: When I do a quick google search for a few keywords that will hopefully bring up our store, you can see all the relevant information is brought to the top. This is exactly what we want to happen.

Keep in mind, Google Analytics has lots of little tips and help links, so don't get overwhelmed when playing around with all the data that is available. Just take a deep breath, and look at this when you have a few minutes to poke around, and fully digest all the information. Also, in doing our research, we came across this youtube tutorial, which you may find helpful in explaining some of the key components of the GA Dashboard.