Google Analytics reporting that tells you where you need to improve performance

I was delivering some Analytics consultancy recently, and in my usual way, I started with the questions ‘what do you want to measure?’ and ‘what is it about your current reporting regime that isn’t working for you?’ The client’s answer, I thought, was particularly pertinent: “It’s not telling us where we need to improve.” The client already had the ability, in house, to extract lots of data from Analytics, understand it, and present it attractively in a management report. But because their data was showing a nice, smooth, upward trend, they didn’t tend to DO anything with the information. Yes, it gave everyone a warm, fuzzy feeling, and was a great report to present to management, who always want to see a nice upward trend. But where were the actions they should be taking to accelerate progress?

Start by understanding your goals

First, be clear about what you want your website to achieve for you. Usually people want their website to bring in new business enquiries or online sales. However, your visitors may not buy from you on the first visit so you may have other objectives such as getting them to give you their email address so that you can send them targeted mailings. If you have lots of historical data, you can use this to good effect by drilling into your reports to really understand which visitors are most likely to convert into enquiries (or email signups or whatever other goals you  have identified). You may find that a particular page is usually visited by those on the way to becoming customers. The pricing page, perhaps, or a page which outlines your credentials, or a particular service you offer. Or you may find that visitors from some traffic sources are more likely to convert than others.

It’s the under-performing parts of the site that you’re looking for

So – you know what you want visitors to do when they come to your site and you know which pages and traffic sources are performing well. But how are you going to identify those that aren’t? Try looking at these ideas to get you started:

  • Pages where traffic lands from search engines, which have a higher than average bounce rate (maybe you need to review the content on there / provide links to relevant services)
  • Search queries where you have a high ranking on Google, but a low click through rate (maybe you need to review your title tag & meta description to make it more compelling to click on)
  • Pages which have a particularly high bounce rate on mobile devices (maybe you need to review how well that page works on a phone)

Now make it easy on yourself

Now that you’ve found some reports that highlight the things that don’t work well on the site rather than the things that do, let’s make it easier for you to access those reports again in future. Here are some Analytics features you can use to automate or semi-automate the process of producing these reports:

  • Schedule the reports to be sent to you on a regular basis
  • Add the reports to a Dashboard
  • Create shortcuts to the reports

When you’ve found some useful reports to run, why not tell us about them in the comments below?

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