In mountain biking culture there is an oft-used phrase, “set it and forget it.” To the mechanically challenged like me, this means don’t bother trying to figure out the intricacies of the various dials and settings of your front shock (the bouncy part of your bike above the front wheel that compresses when you do drops and saves your upper body from jarring pain). Instead, I trust the gnarly dudes from the bike shop to set my shock to roughly where it should be and ride away.
I’ve been reminded of this expression a lot lately when speaking to clients about Google Analytics. Most have this set up but aren’t maximizing its potential, if using it at all. This is understandable given the endless number of settings, dashboards, charts, reports, drill-downs, metrics, data sets and everything else available to help you understand who is visiting your website and what they are doing there. It can make your head spin.
But the power of Google Analytics to help you gain insights on your website is worth the time and aggravation it takes to learn how to use it and to leverage all it has to offer. Here are some great sources to help you get started, or take you to the next level:
- How to Create a Basic Google Analytics Custom Report
- 7 essential Google Analytics reports every marketer must know
- Google Analytics Solutions Gallery
Once you have mastered the above, don’t walk away! Commit to reviewing Google Analytics on a regular basis. I recommend daily. Are certain pages you thought were packed with brilliance not getting any visitors? Why not? Are visitors leaving your site after landing on a particular page? Why? Are some sources not referring any traffic? Why not? What key search terms are delivering and which are not? The list of questions and valuable answers could go on (and should).
It’s critical that you analyze this information and do something about it. Make sure you’re attracting visitors, keeping them and directing them to the right course of action. Re-evaluate and adjust the information architecture of your site if users aren’t finding what they need. Rewrite or redisplay content that isn’t impacting users. Use the boundless insights Google Analytics provides to improve your website and ensure it’s delivering business value for you.
While I’m keen to dig into the inner workings of Google Analytics to improve our Combo website, I should really apply similar advice to understanding how to dial in my mountain bike suspension. For now, I’m just going to enjoy the ride.