Vicky from UK online centres uses Google Analytics to get a view of how the organisation's websites are being used, and where improvements can be made. Here she tells us why it's so useful.
Why did you look for this tool in the first place? What did you need help with?
I needed something to monitor how our website was being used, where people were coming from and how successful our campaigns were.
How did you find out about the tool?
Google Analytics seems to be the industry-standard recommended analytics tool. When I first started researching what was out there for web analytics, Google was the name that came up again and again.
What is this tool for?
It lets you delve into the numbers behind your website - without it all your online efforts are just guesswork!
What do you use it for?
Monthly reports on how all our websites are performing, discovering how people find out about our products and services, seeing who links to our website.
Why has this tool been useful to you?
Having some stats means that you can try different content on your website. You can see which pages are very popular and which ones people aren’t using so you can constantly be improving your website. If you try a new campaign or a new idea, having some numbers means you can prove whether it was a success or not.
What have been the benefits of using this tool to you?
There’s only a certain amount of time in the day. Google analytics can help you see where you should spend most of your time, whether that’s social media, newsletters, developing paid search campaigns or something else.
Is there any cost attached to using this tool?
No, it’s completely free.
Are there any online tutorials available?
There are loads! A quick search will turn up any number of tutorials but Google also have their own official help area at http://support.google.com/analytics/ which is fairly comprehensive.
How long did it take you to set it up?
It takes a matter of minutes to set up the initial account but to get the most of out it you do need to spend some significant time learning how to use it.
Are there any limitations to using this tool?
It can’t give you the answers, just the data to find the answers.
Do you have any top tips for using this tool?
First of all figure out what it is that you want to know about your website and then spend some time setting up your account in a way that makes it easy to find these stats. You could spend hours looking at Google Analytics but pages full of numbers are no good unless you can interpret it into something useful.
Do you have any other recommendations of tools that could help you do something similar?
There are lots of similar paid tools such as Sitecatalyst but Google analytics really covers everything you need, so why pay?