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Google Analytics - What is it and why should I care?

01/09/2014 Posted by Brendan O'Sullivan | Comments(2)

Key Areas:

Business Development, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Tutorials
Google Analytics - What is it and why should I care?

You've spent a lot of money building your company website, you're also hopefully spending a lot of time and cash marketing your site, and business in general. But just how good IS your marketing activity? You might say it's great because you're selling lots. That's fine, but you can always do better, and if you're not selling lots then you need to know why. 

That's where Google Analytics (GA) comes in.

ga screenshot

GA is basically a free, (yup free! Totally free!) online tool provided by Google to give you critical information as just how your site is performing.  It offers an absolute wealth of information that any marketeer would give their right arm for.  Everything from basic stats regarding hour by hour number of visitors to your site, to geographical location of the visitors, demographic information, referral traffic information, search engine information, etc. It really is a vast wealth of information that is critical to your businesses success.

In the past you'd have to pay third party companies significant cash to get access to a fraction of the reports that GA gives you, but google give it to you for free. All you need to do is integrate your site with GA and you're away.  Your web developer can get this sorted for you, but at Sulware all our sites come with GA automatically integrated, just contact us and we'll get your access sorted.

By integrating with GA you agree to give your sites traffic information directly over to google which is what they get out of the deal. Most companies don't care about this as the information is totally anonymous. Don't worry any sensitive data that your site collects isn't given to Google, it's just all general server log traffic info.

GA needs to be one of the key tools your marketing people have access to. With it you can very quickly gauge the impact/success of any marketing campaigns you run, be they traditional activities such as radio/TV advertising through to online campaigns such as e-newsletters, adwords, third party website advertising etc.  You could, for example, very quickly gauge if the radio ad that went out last Thursday at 7pm generated any immediate traffic on the site. 

Getting setup in GA is very easy, (again just contact your web developer).  Once logged on you might find the wealth of information daunting at first, but it's actually very easy to navigate. Take your time going through each area. If there's any information you're unsure about just hover your mouse over it and GA provides great help tips. 

Chances are you've already been told about GA by your developer when they set your site up, and you've just forgotten about it. Take the time today to get to know it though. It's seriously worth it and once you get used to studying the data you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Once your developer has setup the code on your site, you can logon to GA here.

In future articles we're going to take a closer look at some of the key information coming from GA, so start penciling in an hour or so every other day to go through GA and get to know the interface.  GA is one of those tools that you really do need to keep on top of and revisit on a regular basis to radically improve the chance of your sites success.

The second part of this article is now available. In it we cover Bounce Rates, what they are, why they're important and how you can use them to radically improve your sites impact.

 

About the Author

Brendan O'Sullivan

Brendan O'Sullivan is a computer science graduate of DIT and has been working professionally as a software/web developer, Systems Architect and IT consultant since 1993. After spending 3 years with IBM, he went on to found Sulware in 1996. He has worked with a vast array of companies from large multi nationals to small family run businesses. Brendan also holds technical directorships with a number of other Irish based companies.

Comments(2)
Brendan
27/11/2014 14:06:29
Hi Helvey, Thanks for reading and for the comment. Basically spam is a problem for everyone for blogs like this. Sometimes we use graphic based checks that you see on some sites, but for this we just have automated filters built into our software to weed out most spam. Also obviously no comments get onto any of the stories without first being approved by ourselves. As a general rule we let all 'REAL' comments through no matter how damning they may be. Brendan.
Helvey
10/10/2014 10:15:37
Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it's driving me mad so any support is very much appreciated.

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