Stereotypically, authors work with words rather than numbers. Of course there are plenty of wordsmiths who are also comfortable with figures, but lots of authors still steer clear of anything that sounds too much like math. Google Analytics does have numbers involved, but you shouldn’t be avoiding it.
Google Analytics is a free tool that tracks the traffic on your website. Some website building programs come with their own brand of traffic measuring tool, but what Google offers will probably be much better.
The way you get Analytics on your website is to copy a snippet of tracking code that Google gives you and paste it into the html of your site. Google has pretty clear instructions on this, but if you aren’t technologically comfortable, it might be better to ask your web designer to do this for you. They might already have added the code for you even – go ahead and ask.
The code can’t be seen by humans, but Google’s spider bots keep track of all comings and goings. You can log into your account to see everything being reported or have certain reports emailed to you on a regular basis. Again, talk it over with your web professional to find the best way for you access the information.
There are SO MANY reports that you may be overwhelmed and tempted to ignore it all. Don’t do that! Instead, take a look at a few key reports. Here are some suggestions to start:
The default report is Audience Overview and that is a great place to start. You’ll see how many people are visiting your website and how many pages they are looking at while they’re on your site. Of course you want to see the total number grow every month and you’ll want to see a lot of new visitors as well.
You’ll also want to watch how many pages they look at and how long they spend looking at them. If they don’t linger long, that means they aren’t finding much of interest there. If you have a lot of blog posts and calendar events, that could be a bad sign. But if you send folks immediately to buy your book at Amazon, that might not necessarily be a problem.
There is much, much more to be learned from your Google Analytics, but rather than overwhelm you, we’ll break it down over a couple of months. In July, we’ll look at some other reports that will help you plan your book marketing.