Understanding Google Analytics for Small Businesses

Published: May 04, 2013

Offering a free basic platform, Google Analytics is considered to be one of the best performing web analytics applications available.

Being a talented designer is just the first step toward creating a great website. Understanding how users engage with it can provide wisdom and insight to help you take your site design to the next level. Web analysis is here to stay and while your passion may be found in creativity, understanding what analysis can do to enhance your designs is becoming essential.

To help you learn more about how Google Analytics works for designers check out the Analytics guide below and read on for more tips.

Click image to open interactive version (via Simply Business).

How does Google Analytics work?

In summary, by signing up for Google Analytics you will gain access to a tracking code that can then be added to every page of your website. The code collects visitor data and compiles it into reports for categories like traffic sources, content, and conversions that display your website’s data patterns within a chosen date range.

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What can I learn from using Google Analytics?

Analytics offers quick and easy access to more in-depth information about your online customers, for example where they are coming from and what behavioral patterns they exhibit. This valuable data could help inform decisions about the effectiveness of your web design and potential areas for growth, development and enhanced usability.

How can data benefit my design?

  1. You’ve no doubt focused a lot of time and attention on designing your home page so you think you’re home free, right? Wrong. A customer could access your website via any number of landing pages. Analytics data will tell you more about the performance of your home page compared to the rest of your site so you can tweak the other access points as required.
  2. Visitor reports are a key feature of Google Analytics and can tell you a lot about the behavior of your users. Information such as frequency of visit, how long they visit for and which pages they search while on your site will help steer your design to meet user needs and patterns. If most of your visitors come to your site during the evenings, then upload promotions, videos or other content to reflect that. If they use mobile devices to search your site, make sure your design supports mobiles.  Analytics can tell you all of that and more.
  3. Check your bounce and conversion rates. If a visitor only viewed one page on a website before leaving, that’s known as a bounce. Low bounce rates mean good web design, high quality content, and engaged visitors. Once users are engaged, you can gear your design towards driving conversions or purchase decisions.

What do I need to do now?

Once you have an overview of your website’s performance and users, you just need to ensure that you input the tracking code on every page to make sure every drop of data is collected. Then analyze and tweak your site designs and be even better at your job!

Luke Clum is a web designer and developer living in Seattle. Follow him on Twitter @lukeclum