Having a website is an essential part of having a business in the modern world, as many sources will tell you, but simply having a site just to say you have one is squandering an important resource.
Many homeowners browse the web looking for local landscaping companies when they’ve decided they want a professional’s help on creating outdoor living space or when they’re tired of handling their own lawn maintenance.
Instead of wondering if your site is performing well and being seen by your target audience, you can know if it’s doing well through the veritable treasure trove of data that can be found through Google Analytics.
If you already have Google Analytics for your site, it can be understandably overwhelming at first. There are so many different tabs and numbers, so you might not know which metrics are the important ones.
To keep it simple, the reports can be grouped into three different sections: acquisition, behavior and conversion. Acquisition data looks at how much traffic you have and where your visitors are coming from.
Behavior data delves into what visitors do on your website, which pages they are looking at and when they leave your site. Meanwhile, conversion tracks the completion of an activity that is important to your landscaping company’s success.
Below are some of the metrics from each section to pay attention to and what they actually mean.
The most basic metric for your website is page views. The page view statistic on Google Analytics is the total number of pages viewed in the selected time period and includes repeat views of a page.
This lets you know how many people are coming to your site on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. A high number of page views can mean you have quality content that visitors are finding or a poorly designed site that requires the user to dig around on multiple pages.
Knowing where you stand with page views will let you know if you are on target for reaching your audience or if you still have some work to do.
Once you have a general sense of how much traffic you are attracting to your website, you can dive into the various sources they are coming from. This also allows you to see what methods are the most effective at drawing in visitors.
Knowing where your visitors are coming from will help clue you in on how you should communicate with them, as well as what channels to focus on and where you could use some improvement.
There are four main ways potential customers come to your site: organic search, direct, referral and social.
Organic search is pretty much what it sounds like. Someone found your company’s site while using a search engine. This lets you know how your webpage is performing from an SEO (search engine optimization) standpoint. Direct traffic is from people typing your URL in the address bar. If your direct traffic is low, you might be losing people who can’t remember your web address.
Referral traffic comes from someone who has shared your site through a link on another web page. The quantity and quality of the links that lead back to your site can help with search engine rankings. If a specific site is sending a lot of traffic your way, you might consider reaching out to establish a formal relationship.
Social traffic is similar to referral traffic except your site has been shared on various social media platforms instead of on another website.
Time on site
Time on site or session duration lets you know how long your website visitors are sticking around and what pages they are lingering on.
If you happen to have a blog section where you offer tips to homeowners, you’ll want to compare your time on site stats with your bounce rate, which we’ll cover here in a second. If the time on site and the bounce rate are both high, this usually indicates they lingered to read a single post.
Comparing the average pages viewed versus time on site will let you know how interested a visitor is in your content, or once again, if your site is very disorganized and they are trying to find the information they need. Yet most visitors are not likely to linger on a poorly made site for long, so the longer the time on site, the more likely the individual is engaged by your content.
Keep in mind that low time on site numbers doesn’t necessarily reflect poorly on your website, especially if you have streamlined the process for setting up a consolation or paying a bill online.
A bounce rate is the rate where new visitors come to the site and then leave without going to any other page on the site.
This is usually painted as a negative metric where high bounce rates mean something is wrong with your site, but it is more nuanced than that. You want to keep a bounce rate low but depending on the page visitors are going to, a high bounce rate might make sense, such as a contact form. Once they’ve completed the form, they have no need to linger on the site.
High bounce rates paired with high time on site numbers usually indicate the reader found what they needed, read it and then left afterward.
Having a high bounce rate (70 percent or higher) on your homepage may be a cause for concern, as it indicates you may be attracting the sort of visitors who aren’t interested in your company, or your site isn’t encouraging people to stay and explore your services. This could be anything from poor navigation to slow load times to unattractive aesthetics that can be driving people away.
This metric measures the number of people who achieve a goal on your site out of the total number of visitors to your site. It’s one of the most important metrics, but you can only see this once you have set up Goals tracking in Google Analytics.
A goal could be anything from completing a purchase, to viewing a certain page, to filling out a contact form. This helps you know how effective your site is if it can successfully get individuals to complete your call to action.
If you have high traffic but a low conversion rate, you know that something needs to change in order to motivate visitors to follow through with whatever your set goal is.
Keep in mind that these are just a handful of the metrics you should be monitoring that help you know if your website is accomplishing its objectives. They are all interconnected, so be aware of that when you’re analyzing the numbers and what they could mean for your business.