Google Analytics for Small Business

Over the past few years the biggest hurdles I can see for any business to succeed online is their ability to be able to measure the traffic to their website.  It seems alien to me that a company would spend hundreds, thousands if not more on building a website but fail to add the basic features of a web analytics like Google Analytics to track the ROI of their website.

It will be a sure path to failure if a business decides not to track their website visitors and they lose valuable business intelligence.  I have found there is no common element in not installing web analytics as I’ve seen the smallest single page website to the largest retailers in Australia have all at times been caught with their eye off the wheel. There is no excuse why your web developers should not add in the ability for you to track the performance of your website unless they have something to hide or you don’t care about business intelligence.

What about the costs?

This is the biggest misconception about web analytics as platforms like Google Analytics cost a lot, when in fact they cost nothing to use and they just require the addition of a simple JavaScript code.  Google Analytics is a reporting platform so just gathers data from your visitors and helps you understand more about what is driving traffic to your website along with what maybe working and what is failing to perform. All your Google Analytics data is linked back to your account by a unique UA# and your visitor data is kept secure and only accessible to those you allow access.

Why won’t they help me for free?

Much like a number of free Google products there is no official company support so it is all managed by consultants and agencies.  These businesses are not paid by Google so if you don’t have the budget or are unwilling to pay your options are Google forums, YouTube channel or their official help page.

So any costs associated with using Google Analytics are related to using external consultants or agencies to implement advanced features or customise your Google Analytics to get more than the standard functionality.

How to Setup Analytics

It’s a fairly simple process to create a Google Analytics account and generate the tracking code which either yourself or your web developer can add into your website. If you are unsure or need help on more complex web analytics projects there are dozens of experienced consultants and agencies out there who are able to help you setup Google analytics for you.

Typically the new Async script sits at the top of your page in between the <Head> and </Head> tags or depending on your CMS maybe placed in template so the script is loaded across every page of your website. If you are using a platform like WordPress there are dozens of plugins that do most of the work for you and you just have to authentic your account or add your UA# and it’s done.

Google Analytics typically takes around 24-48 hours to collect and import all the visitor data into your reports so don’t panic if the data is not there immediately.

Get better ROI from AdWords

The biggest selling point for business that is unsure of using Google Analytics is its advanced integration with your Google AdWords campaigns. The advanced reporting and ability to refine and understand your AdWords visitors provides your AdWords campaign with the best chance at delivering a decent ROI. So if you are using Google AdWords you need to ensure you have at least Google Analytics in place and that you have linked your accounts so all your AdWords cost data is imported into your Google Analytics reports.

Generate side income with AdSense

There a number of small businesses that help cover costs of web hosting by running Google AdSense on their blogs and online stores. Google Analytics offers the ability to integrate your AdSense data with your visitor data to understand what pages of content or keywords drive the most revenue via AdSense. This is not a default link so you will need to make sure your Google Analytics and Google AdSense accounts are linked up to pass across visitor data.

Google Analytics updates

Recently Google Analytics got an interface update which offers business a much more dynamic dashboard with more control over how data is displayed.  The new dashboard is also suited to making Google Analytics easier for everyone to use so now you have no excuse not to login and see what data is being collected about your visitors.

Update to improved Async tags

Google supports the idea that you should always ensure you start using a new Async JavaScript tag as it allows for more reliable collection of data but it also reduced the Google Analytics JavaScript load times. If you are using an older Urchin or GA script you should consider upgrading the code to the new script.  Do ensure you DO NOT create a new profile or change the UA# tracking code and you will keep all your old data when you update your code.

What can Google Analytics offer?

Google Analytics offers a number of advanced features along with the ability to capture some important business metrics such as visitor behaviour, number of leads/sales and even visitor engagement within your site.  The 5 key aspects that are not setup by default in Google Analytics that you should strongly consider using but will likely need help to implement in Google analytics are

  • Goals/Conversion (form submissions, application forms, email signups)
  • Ecommerce Transactions (avg value, tax collected, time to purchase)
  • Onsite search (popular keywords or categories searched within your site)
  • Recording Onsite events (downloads, video plays, social shares, visitor forms)
  • Visitor tagging (members, demographics)
  • Google Analytics Apps

To save time and so you can easily extend the features and functionality to get more out of Google Analytics they have an official gallery of applications you can utilise. These apps allow you to work with your Google Analytics data within Excel but also allow you to work with external data such as phone call tracking, social media, email marketing and business intelligence.

Got more complex questions?

If you have the budget you should consider working or at least discussing your project with a Google Analytics Consultant or a web analytics focused agency today. They are also usually able to provide guidance and support around training and education programs for Google Analytics.

Originally Published

Google Analytics for Small Business