The Easy-Peasy But Must-Do Guide to Make Google Analytics Your Small Business Superhero

Google Analytics is a super powerful (and FREE) tool for your business but makes many a small business owner turn deer-in-the-headlights. Are you one of them? Don’t worry – I’m here to break down the basics & must-do’s of Google Analytics so you can harness its power without the headlight glare.

I present to you, my Easy-Peasy But Must-Do Guide for Making Google Analytics Your Small Business Super Hero.

Yes, I said super hero. How can you make Google Analytics be your small business superhero? Why, I’m so glad you asked.

First…

Install it. Check out my Google Analytics tutorial for guidance or just head on over to www.google.com/analytics if you don’t already have it installed. Google does a pretty good job of walking you through the process. Have a WordPress site that you built from one of LKR’s programs? Check out a plugin like this one to make it easier.

Just like that – you’ve given your website some Google Analytics super power spidey-sense of who’s coming and from where.

Second…

Filter out your own visits. Head over to www.whatismyip.com and grab your IP address. Then while logged in to Google Analytics, head to Admin – Profiles – Filters – +New Filter. Give it a name like “Your Name IP address” then select “Exclude traffic from IP addresses that are equal to” and input the IP address you just grabbed.

Just like that – you’ve dowzed yourself with some Google Analytics super power cloaking ability.

Third…

Set up goals. This lets you know what visitors are doing the actions you want them to do on your site – as well as what sites are sending you the best traffic (the converting kind…oooo). Common goals for the small business website are newsletter sign ups, downloads or contact pages.

To set up the goal, visit the VERY LAST page in your goal process – this is often www.yourwebsite.com/thank-you or www.yourwebsite.com/confirmation. To add the goal, go to Admin – Profiles – Goals – +Goals. Name it, select URL Destination & Exact Match. For Goal URL, only enter what comes after your .com (just the /thankyou.html or /confirmation). Leave goal value blank unless you have a specific one in mind.

Note: If your Goal URL has random or changing characters in it, you might want to use Head match. More on that from Google.

Just like that – you’ve put some Google Analytics super power tracking devices on your goal pages.

Use Your Powers for Good

Now that you have Google Analytics set up, I urge you, Ms. or Mr. Small Business Owner, to use your powers for good. Use your powers for determining things like…

  • how many visitors you get to your site each week, day, or month? (Audience – Overview)
  • which social network is sending you the most traffic? (Traffic Sources – Social – Overview)
  • whether you need a mobile site? (Audience – Mobile – Overview)
  • what guest post is referring the most visitors? (Traffic Sources – Sources – Referring)
  • whether you need to offer international shipping? (Audience – Demographics – Location)
  • where are people leaving before they press ‘buy’ or ‘sign up’ ? (Conversion – Goals – Funnel Visualization)

Check out my recent post on funnels if you’d like that level of intel for your site.

One Last Thing…

Don’t let Google Analytics be your kryptonite. Over analysis can weaken even the tech-iest of small business owners. Remember to use Google Analytics for trends, not specifics. Make sure to back up your data every so often, and of course – have fun with it! Enjoy being empowered to make smarter decisions for your business on the web.

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Liz LockardLiz Lockard is a self-confessed analytics and web marketing nerd. When she’s not helping small business owners get more traffic & conversions on the web, she’s seeking out adventures and teaching herself how to cook. Subscribe to her “kick-ass” weekly marketing acton tips that “ignite conversations” and get a free copy of her 3 Most Common Marketing Mistakes Small Business Owners Make With Their Websites at www.lizlockard.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizlockard.

Comments

  1. Liz,

    Thank you so much for this post! I love checking out my Google Analytics, but I don’t really know what to do with it and just feel overwhelmed. You simplified things for me.

    :-),
    Jenn

    • Jenn – glad to be of help! Anything I can do to get you to play with Google Analytics more often makes me a happy camper :)

  2. Liz,

    Love this post. So helpful. I am just heading over to whatismyip.com! Love your clean and simple instructions. Thank you :-)

  3. Liz- I have been putting off creating goals for the last several weeks. You have re-inspired me. That said, I would still like to hire you to do it all for me:)
    Thanks for the great post!
    Erin

  4. Hi Liz. Just wanted to give you a high-five for a fantastic article! Finally filtered out my IP thanks to your timely article and super simple instructions :)

  5. That was fab, Liz!! I’ve messed around in GA a fair amount and hadn’t implemented Goals yet, thinking it looked to difficult to figure out. Also apparently hadn’t filtered out my IP even though I know I’m supposed to. You’ve transformed my analytics in like 20 minutes!! THANK YOU!

  6. Yes, Liz, this article will definitely make Google Analytics look so easy. Wonderful article, and by the way, just filtered out my IP address. ;)

  7. Thanks so much Liz for such great info! It all seems less overwhelming and intimidating the way you explain it. I have worked in GA for a while now but I never quite know how to explain to my clients. I will be keeping a link to this article to send them!

    Great post!

  8. Hi,Build a site worthy of audience attention. First, develop keywords that will point straight to your business. Do keyword research which will tell you which of your word list is actually being searched on the Net. Use these in your content so that search engines can pick up your site. To be searched and found for surfers, build your site in such a way that the information is easily found, managed and useful.

  9. Wow, I’ve been using G.A. for several months now, but I had no idea it was possible to exclude my own visits. Thanks for the tip Liz! My traffic numbers will be much more accurate now, with my editing and test visits excluded.

  10. Liz, I’ve been using Google Analytics for a while, but really feel as though I’ve just scratched the surface with how I can use it to better improve the performance of my web and brick-and-mortar businesses. For instance, I didn’t even know how to exclude my IP address from the results. So thank you for that. Anyway, what are your thoughts on the new design of Analytics and are there any cool features you may know about and would recommend? I basically just look at the Visitor Flow feature to better determine where my traffic is coming from and how they’re navigating my site.

  11. Wonderful post! I just love the way you make things seem so easy. This will definitely help a lot of bloggers make a more objective analysis of the visits they get from their blogsite. Thanks for sharing.