Using Google Analytics to Improve your Website [Updated]

Using Google Analytics to Improve your Website [Updated]

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Do you monitor your website to ensure you are getting the best results?

Do you know how many visitors your site is getting? How long are they staying? Which pages are most popular?

Like other areas of your business, where you monitor them regularly to make improvements, your website is exactly the same. We all know that websites should be updated regularly, both from a technical and content perspective, but how do you what you need to change or add?

To really make the most of your investment, your website should be continually monitored using an analytics software. As a Google Partner, we recommend Google Analytics and install it as standard on all the websites we build.

A client of ours had never checked their Analytics and until we looked at it with them recently, they didn’t realise that no one had ever clicked on another page, beyond the home page!

google analytics

Google Analytics enables you to gather and monitor many important figures about the visitors to your website, including:

  • Number of sessions, users, page views and number of pages per visit
  • Bounce rate
  • New vs. returning customers
  • Acquisition – where do your visitors come from? (e.g. organic search, direct, referral site, social media etc)
  • What devices is your site mainly viewed on?
  • Most viewed pages and landing pages

These are just the highlights, as there is a lot of data that Google Analytics collates, which you can delve into on many levels on a page-by-page basis. In fact, the breadth of data that is available on Google Analytics can be quite daunting to those that are unfamiliar with it, as it can be hard to pick out what is relevant to you and your site.

So here are just a few of the simpler ways that you can use the data to make improvements to your website.

Bounce Rate
The higher the bounce rate, the higher the percentage of people that have only visited one page of your site and then left. Take a look at the pages on your site that have a high bounce rate, then evaluate the page’s content to see if it needs to be more engaging or encourage an action.

A few ways to improve your bounce rate:

  • Make your content enticing and grab the user’s attention quickly.
  • Reduce the loading time of your site (e.g. smaller image sizes, host on a fast server)
  • Make your landing pages visually appealing
  • Ensure calls-to-action are obvious and tempting

Traffic Acquisition
Knowing where your traffic comes from will help you to plan your marketing budget. You can compare how much traffic is coming from any paid advertising (such as AdWords) versus organic results, and see if any money spent on social media is effective.

Evaluating the success of where your traffic comes from:

  • Organic Search – If you have a large percentage of visits from people searching for you in a search engine, e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo, this lets you know that your pages are well-optimised and you are being found in search results. If organic search stats are low, then you need to invest in an SEO strategy.
  • Referral – By seeing which sites link to your site and send visitors your way, you can establish which are worth investing time and money to build a relationship. If you pay to have your business listed on any directories, this is a great way to find out how worthwhile that investment is, as you will be able to see how many users have been directed from that referral site.
  • Social – Most businesses these days have a presence on social media and spend a proportion of the marketing budget on communicating with customers in this way. By monitoring how many visits you get from various social media channels, you can see if your money and time is being spent in the best way.
  • Paid Search – If you utilise Google AdWords, this area will give you more detail about the types of clicks you are getting from your paid ads. If the engagement is not what you expect and you are not reaching your goals and conversions, then you can change your ad content or your paid search strategy.

User Journey
Using the ‘behaviour flow’ feature, you can follow a user’s journey through your website, page by page.

It can be used in many different ways to make improvement to your website:

  • At the point visitors most commonly choose to exit your site, you can take a look at that page to see what improvements may need to be made.
  • As it shows the most popular path through your website, you can prioritise changes to your website. Make edits and improvements to the pages that people visit most often first as it will have more impact.
  • If you want to add a key piece of information, such as an image, video or testimonial, you can put it on a page where more people are likely to see it.

Desktop vs Mobile
Google Analytics provides important data on what percentage of traffic views your site on desktop, tablet or mobile devices. All sites should now be responsive as standard for easy browsing on any device, but if you are experiencing a high bounce rate on tablet or mobile, you know that some improvements need to be made.

See our blog on ‘How Does Mobile-First Indexing Affect Your Website?’ to see how important your mobile site is, even if you don’t get a high percentage of mobile views.

Popular Content
Within Behaviour and Site Content, you can view a range of useful information on all pages, landing pages and exit pages.

In ‘all pages’, the pages with the highest number of sessions indicate which content your visitors find most useful, so put more effort into keeping these up-to-date and produce more of the same. From your most popular pages, you can link to other content that may interest your users, to try to up-sell your products/services. You can also use this information to create new pages with a similar style and format to try to attract more visitors.

By looking at your most popular landing pages, you can see where people are landing, and see if they are finding these pages through organic search, direct, paid ads, social media etc. This helps with your overall digital marketing strategy. The most popular landing page on a website is usually the home page, but make sure that any links from social media, ads or referral sites link to internal pages if they are more relevant than the homepage. If a visitor doesn’t find what they want straight away, it is likely they’ll just leave.

Exit pages are also useful to investigate but it is an area of ambiguity. A user may leave because they haven’t found the information they are looking for, or they might leave because they have found it. Depending on the website, an online conversion may not be the goal, so exit pages have to be viewed as individual cases.

 

As mentioned above, the extensive data that is available can be quite overwhelming for someone new to Google Analytics. Each individual business and its goals will require different analysis of the data, so it is helpful to get an expert to take a look for you.

Hyphen offers monthly Google Analytics reports, tailored to your business’s goals, so please contact us for more information.

Until next time,
Gemma

 

How Does Mobile-First Indexing Affect Your Website?

How Does Mobile-First Indexing Affect Your Website?

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The aim of any website is to get to the top of Google’s organic search results for a desired keyword or phrase, but how to achieve that is somewhat of a mystery for many.

Google uses algorithms and ranking signals to deliver web pages ranked by relevance each time you ‘Google’ something. (Crazy that the brand has now become a verb!)

Google makes thousands of changes every year to its algorithms and one we’ve been hearing a lot about lately is mobile-first indexing. But what does this mean?

What is ‘mobile-first indexing’?

 

Mobile-first indexing means that when Google’s bots trawl your site to index your data, they will look at your mobile site first and this will be the baseline for how they determine its ranking.

If Google doesn’t find a mobile-friendly site, it will go on and trawl your desktop site and rank it accordingly. However, a site without a mobile-friendly version is likely to rank lower than one that does, not just on mobile searches, but on desktop too.

How Does It Impact My Website?

 

It is not possible to comment on every eventuality for every site, but as a general rule, if you have a responsive site, then this change should not have a significant impact.

Google said:

If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/mobile-first-indexing.html

Responsive sites change automatically to fit the size of the user’s screen, so as well as offering an optimised browsing experience, they rank well on both mobile and desktop because they hold the same content. At Hyphen, we build responsive sites as standard to provide users with a consistent experience across different platforms and as benefit to search rankings.

If you have a separate mobile version of your website that has less content, less tags, different structure, fewer backlinks etc, then the mobile-first indexing may have an impact.

What Do I Need to Do?

 

If you have a responsive site, then it is likely you won’t need to do anything.

If your site isn’t responsive, then you may need to think about transferring the information to a new site to minimise the chance of losing search rankings. Feel free to chat to our team about your concerns or requirements.

If you have a separate mobile site, we would recommend that you start by reviewing your sites to see if any work needs to be done. For example, is the same content available on the desktop and mobile sites?  Is your SEO data on both sites, e.g. titles, descriptions, alt-tags? If not, then some work will be needed to avoid a potential decrease in rankings when mobile-first indexing rolls out.

 

If you want to discuss your website, please speak to our team for some advice, and we will be happy to offer a quotation for a responsive website.

 

Until next time,
Gemma

New Year Branding Resolutions

New Year Branding Resolutions

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Each new year, you can’t avoid the ‘new year, new you’ promotions, and the endless resolutions that people set for themselves to achieve new things…everything from eating more healthily and doing more exercise to giving up a bad habit.

Whilst these are excellent personal goals, how many of us set resolutions for our business and our brand?

 

Perhaps you have been meaning to update your website for ages, but haven’t got around to it?

 

Maybe your logo is looking a bit tired, but you think ‘it’ll be alright for a bit longer’?

 

And that brochure you’re still handing out, apologising for the sections that are out of date…well, it’ll get updated at some point…right?

 

Don’t feel bad if any of these apply to you. We are all guilty of getting caught up in day-to-day jobs and letting our own branding priorities slip to the bottom of the list. After all, we need to spend all of our time looking after our customers, don’t we?

Let’s relate this back to those personal resolutions that we mentioned above. If you spent all of your personal time looking after your children, spouse, parents, friends etc, then you would neglect yourself and you would start to feel tired and lose your zest for life.

And this is the same for your business’s brand. It needs some time spent on it regularly, so it continues to look healthy and continues to work for your business.

Regular work on your brand means that it is continually evolving and it moves along with the changing expectations of consumers. It also means that major revamps can be avoided…although that is not to say that a revamp is a bad thing. Change is positive.

If your brand is something that has sat at the bottom of your list for quite some time, perhaps 2018 is the time to push it right to the top and make it a priority?

If you are not sure where you are with your brand, and how it is viewed by your customers, we can carry out a brand audit to give you the answers, and work together to discuss where your brand might benefit from a little TLC.

Whatever your branding resolutions, feel free to have a chat with our branding experts and let’s see what this year could hold for your brand.

 

Why You Should Spend on Marketing in an Uncertain Economy

Why You Should Spend on Marketing in an Uncertain Economy

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The UK economy is uncertain at the moment, in light of Brexit and the recent general election result, and understandably many businesses are likely to be cautious with their budgets, particularly branding and marketing which are seen to be non-essential.

After the Brexit vote in June 2016, it was impossible to predict whether companies would hold back, apprehensive of committing marketing spend until they felt more sure about the economy or whether they would invest more to retain the loyalty of worried customers.

We have spoken to many of our clients, and whilst some are still tentative and want to ‘play it safe’, others see the economic situation as an opportunity to build their business in a new climate and perhaps take a slice of market share from their cautious competitors.

In economical uncertainty, some of the areas that businesses refrain from spending on is marketing, branding and design. But in order to grow the business despite the uncertain economy, marketing is one of the most important factors in keeping the business pushing forwards and getting noticed.

Perhaps you have noticed that your competitors have stepped down their marketing efforts? This is the prime time for you to get out there and increase your marketing to make your position in the market much stronger.

TalkTalk, for example, announced that revenues had dipped by 3% in the last year and that they would be increasing investment in marketing over the next 12 months.

So if your industry is experiencing a dip, and you are thinking about being cautious with your marketing budget, think about the benefits that investing in some creative work could have.

By getting your name out there with a new look and new messaging, you can remind your customers that you are still there and ready to do business with them and show potential new customers that you are THE people to work with, despite the market situation.

Just remember, you will rarely win new business by sitting cautiously waiting for people to come to you.

Push your business growth by investing in your brand, and making sure that it gives the right message, to the right people, at the right time.

Our branding experts at Hyphen are here to chat if you need any advice in this area, so please just contact us.

Until next time,
Gemma

Invest in Keeping your Website Secure

Invest in Keeping your Website Secure

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So you’ve recently had your website developed; it looks great, the launch went smoothly and you’ve had great feedback from all of your clients and customers. You won’t need to look at it again for another few years now…right?

…Wrong. Your website is now an extension of your business and much like your staff, your services or any other element of your practice, it is an ongoing investment. You could think of your website like a garden; if left unattended, weeds will grow and your plants, which were once thriving, will wither and die. To get the most out of your garden you must maintain it regularly to keep it fresh and functional and more importantly, to prevent any pests from growing.

But where do the ‘weeds’ and ‘pests’ come from? WordPress currently powers 23% of all websites in the world and as a result of its popularity, it is a popular target for hackers and data thieves worldwide. You may not think your personal or business website has anything worth being hacked for but websites are compromised all the time, with the majority of breaches coming from out-of-date themes, plugins and WordPress core, so it’s important to keep on top of your updates.

So how do you keep your website secure?

Ensuring your plugins and themes are running on the latest versions not only fixes any bugs or security features, which developers constantly search for and fix, but it also protects your website from being exploited. As it is common practice for hackers to search for websites using out-dated plugins with known security holes, it’s vital not to underestimate the importance of updating your website to prevent anyone other than yourself gaining access to your website.

Finally, are there any other steps you can take to protect your website? Absolutely!

Another great way to protect yourself, should you be on the unfortunate end of a cyber attack is to have a recent backup of your website. Taking regular backups of your website will allow you turn back the clock and revert to an older version of your site, to get back online after any mishap and to keep your business running smoothly. Timescales on how far back you can revert however will vary depending on how regularly you or your hosting company takes backups of your website.

So to summarise, the easiest and most efficient ways of protecting your website:

  • Ensure all of your plugins are regularly updated (it’s good to check at least once a week).
  • Ensure your WordPress core is running on the latest version (updates generally happen once every few weeks)
  • Take regular backups of your website so that you can quickly get your business back online

If you need any help with updating and maintaining your website, just give us a call and we’ll let you know how we can help.

Thanks for reading!

Emily.

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