Getting to know Google Analytics

Creating a website for your chambers demands time, patience and persistence.  Lots of it!  Getting the right structure with easy navigation, straightforward calls to action and compelling content is no walk in the park.

When fully operational, it doesn’t end there.  It’s no time to sit back and enjoy your handiwork.  That’s because you need to know if it’s doing its job properly by enticing readers in, keeping them engaged and encouraging them to make contact.  How do you do this?  Analyse, test and refine.

And not just once.  It’s a continual process of improvement because what works well one month, may not work as well the following month due to seasonal trends, legislation changes or industry developments.

Where your website’s concerned, you need to keep tweaking and updating.  Use statistics to guide you.  Many tools exist to perform this task but we recommend the hugely popular application, Google Analytics.

What is Google Analytics?

It’s one of the most powerful web analytics software solutions and it’s free which makes it even more appealing to would-be users.  More than 10 million website owners are registered with Google Analytics.

Google Analytics gathers analytical information from your website so you can monitor visitor interaction such as:

 

  • How many people have visited your site and where they live
  • How they landed on your site (from social networks, search engines, blogs etc)
  • Inbound traffic figures from paid-for Google AdWords campaigns
  • Which keywords are being used to find your site
  • How much time they spent on your site
  • Volumes of new or returning visitors
  • Which web browsers and networks they used to access your site
  • What technology is adopted by users (desktop, tablet, smartphone)
  • Which are your most popular web pages
  • Where people are exiting your site

How to set it up

Go to Google Analytics (link to http://www.google.com/analytics/) and create an account by filling in basic information about your website including your name, URL and time zone.

Next, get your tracking code.  Go to Google Analytics’ ‘Admin’ tab in the top toolbar, then select ‘Tracking Info’ and ‘Tracking Code’.  Copy the tracking ID code, access your content management system (or forward on to your website hosts, if you outsource this task) to paste into your site’s source code.

Typically, the tracking code is pasted inside the header file.  As this is common for all pages, it’ll be added automatically to every page on your site.

Google Analytics dashboard

Now that you’re set up, you need to familiarise yourself with its features.  To begin, access the ‘Reporting’ page of Google Analytics.  Again, you’ll find this tab in the top toolbar.

The time period can be adjusted by using the drop-down selections in the top right hand corner of the reporting page, as shown here:-

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This defined date range will then apply to all generated reports but can be easily adjusted at any time.

Menu choices

The left hand column is the place you’ll find links to sections for precise information about your site’s visitors, content and performance.

The menu comprises the following:-

  • Dashboard: This provides an overview of the most important statistics for your chambers and can be personalised accordingly. For example, this may show the number of visits, bounce rate and some carefully chosen visitor demographics.
  • Shortcuts: For speedy access to your most regularly viewed reports straight from the home tab.
  • Intelligence Events: This is the area to monitor changes in traffic patterns through automatic alerts for deviations to your metrics on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
  • Real-Time: Your web data is being updated constantly in Google Analytics, with just a couple of seconds’ delay. This area allows you to monitor visitor activity as it happens so that you can analyse the people on your site right now.
  • Audience: The main area is audience which includes graphs, percentages and pie charts on visitors’ demographics, interests, geography (language and location), technology, mobile devices and how they flowed through your site to really get to know your audience characteristics.
  • Acquisition: Use this section to compare traffic from search (paid or organic), referrals, email and your marketing campaigns to evaluate both the mix and quality of traffic sources.
  • Behaviour: Focused on your site’s content, performance, searchability and interactivity, this area helps you to explore how people find and interact with your content.
  • Conversions: This area is not automatically activated in Google Analytics. It requires your input to get up and running.  It’s about setting goals such as minimum session duration, downloaded white papers, registered webinars or completed contact forms, to measure how well your site fulfils its targeted objectives.

By working your way through these areas and the sub-sections contained therein, you can understand specifics ranging from the most popular devices and browsers to top landing and exit pages.

All of Google Analytics’ statistics provide valuable insights about your site and the visitors it receives.  Use the data to introduce improvements to your wording, layout and imagery as well as search engine optimisation, paid search, social media or other campaigns to your advantage.

For example, if you discover that the bulk of your referrals come from Twitter on a Wednesday from posts relating to TUPE regulations, generate more site content on this subject and promote by tweeting mid-week.

Bar Marketing web statistics show that LinkedIn and Twitter generated the greatest number of referrals last month; a pattern being repeated throughout the year.  That’s why we concentrate our social media efforts on these platforms.

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Another example could be that the majority of your visitors use smartphones to browse your site.  You need to cater for their needs by producing a mobile-friendly version optimised for these devices or, even better, create an app compatible with iOS, Android and / or Windows phones.

This report snapshot shows that, out of 1,217 visitors to the Bar Marketing website in a specified date range, the vast majority used desktop, not mobile or tablet devices:-

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Take another, more obvious example.  If your home page is also your highest exit page, there’s something drastically wrong with your site.  You need to invest resources into spelling out your services, presenting important chambers news and offering clear points of navigation to other key areas.  You don’t want to lose visitors directly upon entry to your site, otherwise the effort and cost of getting them to your site in the first place has been wasted.

Finally, there’s custom reporting

Once you’ve mastered the basics, begin to feel confident with Google Analytics and have ambitions to drill down even further into the performance of your site, try custom reports because sometimes the information you want to see isn’t available in standard datasets.  Be adventurous and give it a try by going to ‘Customisation’ in the top toolbar and working your way through the tabs presented on screen.  Your imagination is your only limit.  Or perhaps time and expertise…

Which brings us to our conclusion.  Please get in touch if you need a little help analysing your chambers’ website and making subsequent improvements to boost results.

About Bar Marketing

Bar Marketing is a marketing specialist dedicated to the legal sector and, in particular, the Bar.  Its consultants work with individual barristers in order to improve their profiles (via press, events and directory submissions) and increase their instructions (through targeted marketing campaigns).  Varied work is also undertaken with sets of all sizes and specialisms, providing them with strategic direction and operational support.

Ad hoc consultancy or fully outsourced assistance, Bar Marketing focuses its efforts on providing chambers with outstanding marketing support.  Services are delivered in a way that suits preferred individual methods of working and provides the best return on investment.  Contact the Bar Marketing team by email at info@barmarketing.co.uk, visit www.barmarketing.co.uk, call 07714 345072 or connect via social media:-

LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/catherine-bailey/6/a07/b81

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/bar-marketing-limited

Twitter: https://twitter.com/barmktg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bar-Marketing/189918634413592

– By Catherine Bailey, Managing Director, Bar Marketing Limited


 

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