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Google Analytics – what does my small business need to know?

Google analyticsOne of the things that concern those who come to us for mentoring is the success, or otherwise, of their web presence. By that we mean how easily can our customers find us and what do they experience when they hit our website? How can we ensure people stay around longer to look at more than one page? Why aren’t we getting any orders? Why is everyone who contacts us a spammer from a location half way around the world when we promote ‘shop local’? Should we invest in some expert help, or can we find out what is going on for ourselves? What are these ‘analytics’ we have heard about?

An interesting article appeared on the Guardian Small Business Network website this week, which we think clarified a lot of these issues and which provides a useful explanation of the tools available to small businesses and start-ups who want to know the basics. What is ‘search engine optimisation’ (SEO)? What do the (often rather abstract) terms mean? Which are the best tools to use to find out who is visiting our website? The article suggests, at least in the first instance, the free tool offered by Google – Google Analytics – which is free to use, as long as you are happy to set up a Google account. It does take a little bit of time to get the best out of it, and link it to your website. But you could find it useful if, as well as the usual data about number of hits, length of stay etc,  you are keen to find whether people are finding you on their mobile devices for example (useful if you are a restaurant who is keen to grab digital passing trade), or you want to see how quickly your website is loading (no-one is willing to be too patient with images that take ages to appear).

In the early days of setting up and establishing a business, it is tempting to let this ‘admin’ come low down your list of priorities. But it doesn’t matter how great your idea is, or how many awards your product has won if no-one knows about it. You may feel you are working all hours already, but take a look at analytics and see if they can add to your arsenal of business weapons.

If you would like more help with establishing or consolidating your start-up or small business do get in touch with us here at Cornerstone. We have volunteer experts who can answer your business questions, free of charge.