As part of our Complete Guide to Entrepreneurship in Eastern Kentucky, SOAR Innovation offers actionable advice for every step of your journey to becoming a small business owner.
In previous posts, we’ve discussed creating business plans, setting up QBO, and launching a simple business website.
Today we’re focusing on a core marketing function that’s absolutely essential: Setting up Google Analytics on your website.
If you don’t have a background in marketing, but are planning to launch or grow your business, this guide is for you.
Approaching this new task may seem a little bit challenging at first, but this isn’t a process you can skip. The benefits of investing your time here include a larger return on investment (ROI) for your marketing activities.
And you’ll be comforted to know that the SOAR Innovation team can help you with every step of this process for free. We offer this as a complementary service to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the 54 counties we serve in Eastern Kentucky.
Whether you partner with us or do it yourself, you can follow this easy, step-by-step guide to set up Google Analytics on your website.
Why you need Google Analytics for your website
If you’re someone who needs to know the “why” behind the decisions you make for your business — and entrepreneurs usually are — here are a few reasons that’ll satisfy your curiosity.
Google Analytics is a free service that helps business owners learn about their customers and establish better relationships by:
- Identifying the areas of your website that are generating the most engagement and sales.
- Highlighting the content customers are hardly visiting.
- Showing the various sources of customers that arrive at your website.
Google Analytics is mandatory for any entrepreneur with plans for growth because it provides you with tangible insights, such as:
- Data about your website visitors:
- Location (city, state, country)
- Device they’re using (desktop, mobile, tablet)
- How they got sent to your website (direct traffic, search engine, social media, email, other referral sources)
- How long they stayed on your website (average visit)
- Which pages perform the best — and worst (time on page, bounce rate, exits)
These are the facts and figures that can make or break a business. The insights you receive from Google Analytics can help you know where to invest your dollars, where to pull back, and most importantly — why.
It’s so important to get this right.
Marketing your business effectively means investing time towards acquiring a few new skills. This is especially true if you plan to operate a website. You’ll want to allow yourself to improve it over time — and Google Analytics empowers you to do just that.
Plus, doing it right the first time will save you time — and dollars — in the long run.
Follow these 3 easy steps to set up and start using Google Analytics for your business website.
Step 1: Create an account
This is the easy part. Go to analytics.google.com and create an account.
If you already have a Google account associated with your business, use it to log in.
If you have a personal Gmail account (or don’t currently hold an account with Google), create a Google account associated exclusively with your business. It’s free and easy to set up.
If prompted, you should sign up for Google Analytics 4. The other option, Universal Analytics, is going away in late 2022, so you might as well start with the system that’s sticking around.
Step 2: Install Google Analytics tracking code on your website
If you use Wix, Squarespace, or a DIY WordPress theme for your website, installing the tracking code will be as easy as copying and pasting a few lines of text.
Google Analytics provides a step-by-step article that shows you where to access the tracking code for your website.
If you’re intimidated by this step, we get it.
That’s why you can always reach out to the SOAR Innovation team for help with this step. We’ll do it with you so you can have peace of mind that everything’s accurately installed.
Next, check your content management system’s (CMS) knowledge base or help center. They’ll have instructions for you to follow to complete the process, including locating your site editor and where to paste the tracking code.
Some CMS providers support a direct integration with Google Analytics. If yours does, simply log in to Google Analytics through your CMS and authorize the integration.
Step 3: Measure your most important metrics
Now that you’ve set up your account, it’s time to start using Google Analytics to its full potential. You can do this by performing monthly reporting.
Building monthly reports using your Google Analytics metrics will help you identify trends and consistently measure performance.
Start by logging in on the first day of the month. Choose the dates in the top right corner corresponding to the previous month.
Next, navigate to Audience > Overview.
This is where you can evaluate how many people visited your website, how much time they spent there, and how engaged they were.
Collect the following audience metrics for your report:
- Users: This shows you the total number of website visitors in that time period and helps you identify if your external marketing efforts are paying off.
- Average session duration: This helps you see how long visitors stayed, which is one way to measure how engaging your website copy and images are.
- Average pages per session: This tells you how many pages visitors viewed while visiting your website. It’s another way to measure the effectiveness of your website copy and images.
- Bounce rate: This is the percent of website visitors that came to your website and immediately left. If it’s high, it’s an indicator you might need to adjust your copy, images, or offers to retain visitors longer.
After you’ve collected audience metrics, move on to Acquisition > Overview.
In this area of Google Analytics, you can see how well your marketing channels are performing by viewing the percentage of traffic each drove that month.
Ultimately your goal is to fine-tune your marketing channels over time. Review each channel in-depth to gain specific information.
For example, if you launched your first email newsletter last month, hopefully, you’ll recognize an increase in email-related traffic. If you don’t, that’s a feedback opportunity to improve your email content and offers the next time you send one.
Your direct traffic shouldn’t comprise more than a third of your total website traffic. Google can’t identify the source in many cases of direct traffic, so you want to keep it at a minimum to the extent you can.
Conclusion: Learn how to grow your Eastern Kentucky business with SOAR Innovation
Don’t worry if digital and performance marketing aren’t your strong suit.
Marketing is a broad discipline. It’s something you can learn — and it gets easier with time and practice.
Download the Complete Guide to Entrepreneurship in Eastern Kentucky to learn more about how to launch, grow, and improve your business. It includes more helpful tips on how to sharpen your marketing practice, from developing a brand identity to creating your first digital ad.
SOAR Innovation — powered by Kentucky Innovation — supports every stage of the entrepreneurship journey.
If you need help setting up Google Analytics for your website, SOAR will connect you with local partners that specialize in this area. Reach out to your local representative today to learn more.