Chances are that most small business owners will see their website as necessary evil, but none the less, something to add to the marketing mix along with such things as paying to be in Yell.com (or similar yellow pages / business directories).
What a lot will not be doing is making sure their content is the best it could be, that visitors to their websites are engaged in their content and marketing messages. Put simply, because they don’t know how to…
Even if the website isn’t the main focus of their business, I’m sure they’d like to be able to know who is visiting their website? I think the biggest issue is simply that they don’t know how they could do it or if it’s even possible to do it.
Why you need Analytics
Now I cannot say who this is, but I worked on a website where the owner who ran a very respectable ecommerce website, had ranked in the top 3 positions in Google for a number of years and had enjoyed great success. However, when Google began releasing their updates such as Panda and Penguin, it was only then that he noticed that his average monthly sales had begun to slip, right around the time. Of course, he had no idea what Panda and Penguin were and this is probably the most shocking, he didn’t even know he should have been using Analytics on his website!
You see for him and his business, the metrics he was using to gauge how well his business was doing was his monthly sales. Of course I will hold my hands up here and whole heartily agree! Monthly sales are massively important to any business. For if there are no sales, there is no business…
However, it becomes even crazier when you find out, he’d been running his website since 2002, had never used analytics or kept tabs on what his site visitors were up to. For him, it was something he’d never look at, never use and meant an extra expense having somebody set it up for him. As so, he just never bothered with it…
…Fast forward 6 months, he’s now been using Google Analytics and he cannot believe how much information he can find out online about his customers, the pages and products they spend the most time looking at and even where they came from. He’d tried social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, but he just had no way of knowing how effective they were. He was stuck in the mentality of more likes and more followers meaning he was doing well and everybody loved his business and products.
By using analytics, he was then able to see if either of those social media websites were sending him any traffic and also if it would be worth his time and his staffs expanding across more of the newer social media websites such as Google+ and Pinterest.
This sort of insight is invaluable as he has come to learn.
So why do you need Analytics?
In short, did you not read the bit above? No seriously, it doesn’t matter if you run a small website with very few visitors or you’re running a website with millions of visits a day. Knowing who your visitors are, where they come from and how they found you is essential for knowing how you’re going to market to them in future.
Analytics is especially important for those running PPC campaigns such as Google Adwords. The Adwords interface is great, you can get a lot from it, but it isn’t a fully fledged analytics program. Sure it will tell you which campaigns are working, which ones are gobbling up your budget like a greedy child in a candy store. But what it wont tell you is that keyword you’re targeting which you spend half your budget on, is making you no money as visitors to your website never make it through to your sales pages or shopping cart.
I mean sure, maybe you are making money, maybe, just maybe it’s high enough to warrant you keeping the PPC campaigns running, but how would you feel if you found out that it was actually organic search (the unpaid listings) in Google which were providing you with the traffic which got you those sales or resulted in filled shopping baskets and not entirely down to your PPC expenditure?
You see what I mean now…?
If you want to find out more about how you can do this yourself; Google has a guide to installing the Analytics tracking code or there is a useful guide over at Search Engine Watch, they have a guide to getting started with Analytics.
But, if you’d still rather have somebody set this up for you, feel free to get in touch with me.