Exploring Your Website Performance Toolbox
Gain valuable insight into your website with Google Analytics.
Whether you’re blogging, selling online or showcasing your brand you’ll want to know how your website is performing. Is the traffic to your website increasing? Where is it coming from? Are your social media campaigns effective? These questions, and many more, can be answered with the right website performance checker: Enter Google Analytics.
A website requires constant work: adding new content, refining it, selecting new keywords or building out content around existing ones; stagnation is death. But are the changes we are implementing having the desired effects? To properly monitor your website’s performance you need a tool such as Google Analytics.
First up you need to register with Google Analytics.
First of all you need to create a Google Analytics account. Once you’ve done that, and want to add a website you wish to monitor, you will need to verify ownership of that site. This is done by inserting a given snippet of code into the header of your pages. Once verified, you can add the tracking code to all of the pages you wish to receive data on.
Where to start?
Open the reporting section of your website’s Analytics account. In this website performance checker you will find a list of options on the left hand side. On the main section of the page you will find an overview of the traffic on your website for the last couple of weeks. You will find metrics such as:
- Number of sessions
- Number of users
- Average session duration
- Bounce rate
- Percentage of new sessions
These metrics already give you a lot of feedback on the performance of your website. For example, the bounce rate is a strong indication of whether you are delivering what people expected, or if you have it all wrong. In general, the lower the bounce rate, the better the indication that you are providing what the viewers are looking for. The average session duration indicates how interesting viewers find your pages. The higher the session duration, the more invested users are in your content. They are taking the time to read your text and look at your images.
Taking this further…
Underneath this main summary you will find data on demographics in this website performance checker. Here you will see where your traffic is coming from and what languages viewers are identified in. The location data includes not only countries, but cities too. The system data indicates which browsers and operating systems people are using. There is also a section on mobile views.
The Acquisition section provides valuable data on where your traffic is coming from, and here you can break the traffic channels down into:
- Direct (where someone types your exact url into the address bar)
- Referral (external link to your website)
- Social (links from social media)
- Organic Search (through search terms entered in Google)
This breakdown gives you valuable insight into where the best channels of traffic to your site come from and which ones require further work.
Analytics is your one-stop-shop for all things insightful on your site. You can integrate Search Console – another website performance checker from Google – within Analytics. This checker provides valuable insight into page performance all based around keywords. In addition, social overview lists all of the referring social sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It also includes WordPress and LinkedIn. There’s also an entire section on site speed: loading times of individual pages, speed suggestions and user timings.
So where do you start?
If all of this information seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. Using a website performance checker is something you can grow into. It involves exploring and researching, and building up your knowledge as you go along.