Understanding the value that your website brings to your association is nothing new or groundbreaking. Your website can truly make or break the success of your organization and the growth of your membership. One of the most commonly used (and free, might I add) website analytics is Google Analytics. It tracks just about every action on your website to help provide your association with valuable insight.
But, what do all the numbers and percentages mean? Unfortunately, most associations do not have data or analytical experts on staff to be able to analyze your data to unlock key strengths and weaknesses to improve your site. So having all of this data doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have someone on-staff or payroll to evaluate and understand it, right? Wrong! Google Analytics is an amazingly powerful tool that with some basic understanding, can unlock some incredible insights for your association.
Here are 5 essential Google Analytics reports to help you uncover what’s happening on your association’s website:
1. Bounce Rate
This is one of the most effective units of measurement in Google Analytics to identify major weaknesses on your site. The definition of a bounce rate straight from Google is “the percentage of single-page visits.” In layman’s terms, this is when someone comes to any page on your site, from anywhere on the internet, and then leaves without visiting another page. It’s truly the measure of the quality of visit the visitor had.
Why is this important? Each page on your site should contain unique content that interests people to keep reading. Whether they want to learn more about your association, the benefits of being a member, or how to become one, the language and links on the page should encourage them to stay for a while. If you notice that certain pages have very high bounce rates, look for ways to keep them on the site longer by adding links to other similar pages, converting them via some type of form, or directing them to a resources page where visitors tend to stay a bit longer.
Bonus: Many people ask what a “good” bounce rate is, and there is no single answer. Obviously, the lower your bounce rate is, the better. But, there is no magic number that every website should be under because every industry is different
Knowing where your traffic is coming from is also very important. Where are your potential new members finding your association’s website is essential to knowing what’s working in your digital marketing channels, and what is not. Are search engines your largest source of traffic, or maybe referral traffic (traffic from other websites)?
Why is this important? It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from so you can get an idea of the success of your overall digital marketing campaigns. Are you using paid ads or paying someone to optimize your content for Search Engine Optimization? Then this is where you’ll see your return on investment. Maybe you notice that you get a lot of traffic from another association. That’s a great way to form partnerships in order to grow your membership.
3. Search Engine Optimization (soon to be Search Console)
SEO is one of the most misunderstood, yet most advantageous forms of inbound marketing that any association can seek. The content your association holds so much value in means nothing if people can’t find it. Knowing the basics of optimizing your content so it’s easily findable and interesting can be the difference between showing value to prospective members and falling short. Analytics is now improving this report by including how your organic traffic performs when measured by any number of dimensions, but just the impressions, clicks, etc.
Why is this important? Knowing how much reach your content marketing is having is huge. If you have staff spending time creating content and/or working on new website content, this is a true indicator of your return on investment. There are literally hundreds of millions of searches each day worldwide, so why wouldn’t you want to measure how many of those are for keywords, products, or topics that are important to your association?
4. Behavior – Site Content
This report allows you to see the top pages on your website. Typically the number one page will be your homepage, but it’s really interesting to see which pages get the most traffic. Quickly see a list of your top pages and their respective data to give you some pretty simple insights to the quality of your page content.
Why is this important? This can give you a great idea of what value people are currently getting out of your site. It gives you an idea of topics that you might want to start creating more content for since you attract so many people who are interested to it. Or on the contrary, if a page you’d love to have a lot of traffic to, but don’t currently, you can come up with a plan to build new or better content for it.
We all know with the drastic increase in how people use mobile devices to browse the internet has changed the way websites are built. Being able to give your mobile visitors the same quality of experience as those on desktops is absolutely essential to your website’s success.
Why is this important? Keep an eye on how data like bounce rate and time on site differ from those who visit your site via desktops. It will be a great way to quickly tell if your site is set up in a way that makes it easy for mobile visitors to search around and find what they’re looking for. If you see high bounce rates or low time on site from mobile devices, it’s time for a redesign. Always remember to redesign with “mobile first” in mind.