The importance of using Analytics for a small business website

28 September

The importance of using Analytics for a small business website

Let me start by asking you a question – Do you know how well your website is providing for your business?

The importance of analytics for a small business website is often overlooked with the day to day logistical runnings and habitual communication links with regular customers taking priority.

However, understanding your online clients, both current and potential, is as important as the ones you meet face to face. Imagine how powerful the information could be if you knew where your website visitors were coming from or what sort of device they use to visit your website. What if you could even analyse what they were doing once they reach your website, for example, the order in which they view each page and the options they click through to reach their final goal – either purchase, enquire or move on. On a more simplistic level, how do you get to know these individuals? The answer must be Analytics.

Say you own a shop and you have a few regular clients who come to visit you weekly for their supplies. You get to know their names, perhaps where they come from, what they regularly order. You build up this fantastic relationship that allows you to offer your client exactly what they want. It also gives you the chance to predict what other similar clients may want to order. How wonderful would it be if you could also create this same level of recognition for your online clientele?

This is why using Analytics is vital for small businesses to reach your online objectives.

So what is the secret to a successful website? Realistically, it doesn’t boil down to having that glossy, good-looking appearance though this could be classified as a potential, initial attraction (if they manage to find you of course). No, what really encourages an abundantly active website is one that has simple, clear routes to the outcomes you really want for your clients.

SO many websites fail to offer any realistic return for their investment because the business aims and the website aims are not in correspondence. In basic terms, when creating a website, it’s practical and financially beneficial to consider what you want to achieve out of your business and how both your online and real world experiences can reflect one another and foster mutual results. This correlates to the issue of adequately measuring your online marketing campaigns. If you don’t keep up with measuring every element of your business, from tangible regular customers to website occurrences and marketing ambitions, then you can’t realistically expect each part of your business to work holistically.

So in sum, whatever you are looking for in terms of business objectives for your website, it’s vital to have some form of analysis tool, such as Google Analytics, that can help you understand where you need to focus your attention and which goals you’re hitting with ease.

These apps can highlight which channels of your website are attracting the visitors, which are potentially untouched and where people flock to most frequently. Because of “bounce rates,” Analytics can help to show you the pages that people leave almost immediately. Why would this happen? Perhaps when re-evaluating your objectives you can take these pages apart and try a new format.

When you are casually drifting around a website, little do you know that your every step is being monitored. Analytics initially files “traffic” into four main categories – search, referral, campaign and direct.

  • Search – i.e. they made it to your website via Google or Yahoo, etc.
  • Referral – Found you directly from a link on another website.
  • Campaign – Brought to you via a marketer.
  • Direct – broad group that doesn’t really have a particular starting point.

Analytics can help you appraise your content – you can create a content strategy based on which areas of your website people spend the most time. How powerful could it be to know which style of wording should be replicated across your site and which should be minimalised? Building traffic and attracting clients through popular content is a great way of enabling another route of data stream and therefore extra valuable analysis material.

Geography – Another element in getting to know your clients is understanding where they are coming from. If you know you have a large flow of regular online traffic from a certain region, country or even town then you can potentially target these groups with personalised marketing campaigns. Through geographical analysis, you could even uncover that perfect location for any future expansions to your business.

It’s this level of detail that can really move your small business up a level, especially if your competitors are already latching on to the benefits of Analytics as a professional gauge of current and potential success. Look at all the possibilities you could uncover!

Statistics!

By using Analytics you may be giving yourself a simple step ahead of the competiton. Look at all the potential statistical information! Your sales and marketing schedules will be fine tuned, you’ll understand trends and flows on your website, you can clarify the sections your clients and potential clients like and don’t like. By evaluating overall shifts in the market against your own business movements and goals, you’ll be able to accurately cater marketing campaigns to fit in with the demands at that time.

And by employing statistical data you can also take a few calculated risks or even make changes based on the information presented to you. You could test out different copy or perhaps re-format the layout of your online business knowing that you aren’t running blind.

Track Everything you can!

What is particularly clever about Google Analytics is that once you have sent all your sales data to your Google Analytics account (which in itself is pretty unique) then you will be able to determine which successes connect to which marketing channel. You can effectively follow threads of individual sales meaning your level of understanding of timings, clients wants, the process by which your clients access your services are entirely transparent. Imagine if you didn’t have this knowledge? You could be blindly running your firm, oblivious to which elements of your marketing schemes are working and which need more of your attention. Now imagine that your competitors DO use Google Analytics and consider the financial deficit you could be indirectly contributing to for your business.

I have referred frequently to Google Analytics as a tool, however this is merely because of it’s popularity and ease of use. It’s fantastic because of it’s simplicity, it harbours an incredibly about of useful detail yet is functional by even those with very basic tech knowledge. You certainly don’t need to be a digital whizz to work this incredibly vital aspect of the Google world. Amazingly enough though, if you do fall into problems then you can find answers from their own Google Analytics YouTube channel. I kid you not. Or if you prefer to read instructions, they have a blog with answers in detail.

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