Saturday, 29 December 2012

Using Google Analytics to Measure Online Success

Without a measurement “yard stick” how are you ever going to know what is working on your website and what is not working?
Are you ever going to know who is looking at your photos?
Do you know what visitors do when they look at your content on your website?
Where are your website visitors coming from?
Have you ever wondered why people are looking at my photos or services, but not buying anything from you?
Are you posting the proper size of photos online to fill up a user’s entire screen?
What programs are your users using to access the internet with, and is your site optimized for various web browsers?

If you would like to know the answers to these questions, you should consider an analytics tool to help you get those answers.

Let’s think of it this way… You take a photo and are proud of it. You blast out a photo to your Twitter followers, you then post that same photo on your Facebook profile for all your friends to see, and maybe you have a Google+ account that you want to share your photo on… OK, done, you did all that… now what?

If you are serious about photography as a business, you should know exactly how many people clicked on that link you put out on those three websites, what these people did on your site when there, and ultimately did they contact you to buy something.

Of course, the above paragraph is simplified, but basically, that’s what you want to be doing. I know that every time I post a blog entry on Twitter I get a traffic bump from my followers coming to my website to read my BLOG. I know how long they spent reading, I know if they looked at anything else, and I monitor the questions or comments that come from this online traffic.

I also know that every time I post a link on Linkedin of a new BLOG post that I get on average of 45 views within the first day of posting it on LinkedIn. I then track the residual visits over the next 30 days. I see that every time I post on LinkedIn I average 120 people coming to read that blog post. Plus, I track what else they did.

Without going into a longer dissertation about all the places I post and what traffic I get to my website; let’s just say that I have it down to a science. I know, within a small margin of error how many website visitors I will get by throwing website content out into the internet on various places.

To add to this, every time I sell something, a photo, get a client for a workshop or a mentor program; I ask one simple question, “How did you find me?”

By asking that question I put the final piece of the puzzle together, my conversion ratio. By doing that I know what social media and what mass marketing initiative is working. It then becomes a numbers game. The more I focus on what’s working, the more money I make, the more camera gear I can buy, the closer I get to achieve my goal.

So how the heck can you get that kind of measurement on your website?

Google Analytics provides you, the photographer, a powerful tracking for monitoring your web presence. It's one of the most effective and free, web analytics solutions on the market today.

Google Analytics shows you how people found your site, how they explored it, where they came from and where they went after they visited your website. Through this information you will spot trends and you will be able to adjust how your content is displayed and inevitably enhance their visitor experience, ultimately improving your return on investment, increase conversion ratios, and make more money on the web.

As a business owner you will be able to understand (1) which marketing initiatives are being most effective, (2) what are the traffic patterns on your website and (3) which customer segments are most valuable to you for generating revenue. Throw on your marketing hat and you will be able to see where your visitors are coming from and what they do while they are on your website, help you understand how to convert more visitors to customers and which marketing spend is most effective in sending people to your website.

To sign up for Google Analytics, you should ensure you have an account with Google and visit this page, GOOGLE ANALYTICS SET-UP

Once you begin to register your website for Google analytics you must first ensure that you place your Google Analytics tracking code on your web pages. Between Google and you’re your website provider, they will help you. Google Analytics code is a small JavaScript snippet that needs to be added to each page of your site, either manually or through the use of plugins or tool.

For the more advanced web user, you want to install this code manually into your pages, copy and paste the code segment into the bottom of your content, immediately before the body tag of each page that you wish to track.

For a person that just read this previous sentence and didn’t understand what I just said; get your webmaster involved. However, sites like Wordpress, Smugmug and Squarespace have a simple interface where you can just grab your analytics code from Google and paste it into a place on your smugmug account. It will not be immediate, but in a day or so, your account will be live and you will be tracking visitors to your site in a much more advanced and effective way.

To conclude, measurement is key to success. It helps you obtain goals, it aids you in creating a better user experience, and it will ultimately help you generate more income.

I hope this helps give you some direction with analytics and puts you on a better path for success. If you want to learn more come see me in Kitchener in February, 2013. I will be speaking on social media and the internet. To pay register and pre-pay your spot please visit,