How much money did your website make you last month?

It’s a question I ask when I start to work with a savvy business owner. The answer I consistently hear is a fumbled doubt filled response of confusion (where were they supposed to find out that information?) and frustration (how come no one had told them they could find the answer earlier?).

There are so many experts, gurus, and geeks out there who understand the in’s and out’s of SEO and online marketing. I’m one of them. The trouble is, many business owners hand over one of the most important lifelines of their business to these professionals and then let them do their work. As a business owner, they never see the results.

The Importance of Analytics

Does this sound like you? You recently launched a new website, thrilled with the colors, copy, and content. You sit back, admire the work you did with your designer and copywriter and think, “People are going to LOVE this!”

Then, you wait for the phone to ring. When it doesn’t, you start to panic. What went wrong? Did I waste my money?

This happens all too often. There are three key problems to this scenario.

  1. You built something fantastic but no one is finding it.
  2. You have no idea how many people are seeing your website or why they’re not calling.
  3. You start to play the deadly what-if game and blame game. What if you hired the wrong people? It has to be their fault!

The answer to all your late night worries isn’t in regretting your decision. It’s finding out what went wrong and why your phone isn’t ringing.

Your Google Analytics will give you that answer if you know where to look and why you should care.

Top Google Analytics to Monitor

NOTE: If you want to get to the meat of what’s happening on your website, click here to learn how to get a free website audit and monthly reports with your most important Google Analytics.

I’m a firm believer that ever business owner should have access to their Google Analytics account (many small business owners don’t) and check on it religiously. It should be a part of their daily or weekly routine.

Studies have shown that 60% of the sales process is over before you ever know someone is interested in buying from you. People have tons of points where they’re interacting with your brand and making a decision about whether or not to engage with your sales team.

Your Google Analytics shows you how many people you’re losing during the sales process where you’re not engaged in a conversation with your customer.

Still, when you login to your account, it’s overwhelming. There are numbers, graphs, percentages, and lots of stats. What do they all mean? It’s enough to send any savvy business owner running back to the thing they’re most comfortable with – running their business.

Before you run for the hills, take a peek at these metrics in your Google Analytics account to get a better gauge at what’s going on with your business.

1. Traffic

When you first login to your account, you’ll see a chart that looks something like this:

Google Analytics Traffic

This chart shows you how many people have landed on your website over the past few weeks. Adjust the dates to go back as far in advance as possible to compare what’s happened over time. Are you growing? How many people are looking at your business?

Traffic is also known as eyeballs. These are the number of people who are seeing your website and deciding whether or not they want to work with your business. It’s a solid base number to get your analyzing started.

2. Repeat vs. New Visitors

The next number to look at is the comparison of new visitors versus returning visitors. This figure shows you how much of your traffic knew about you ahead of time compared to how many new people you’re attracting.

If you have a blog, chances are the returning visitors will be higher because people are continuing to read what you’re putting out. If you haven’t made any drastic changes to your website, your new visitor number will be higher.

3. Bounce Rate

Also on your dashboard is the “Bounce Rate.” This is the percentage of your visitors that leave after only viewing one page. In other words, this is the number of people who are disengaged and not interested enough in what you’re selling to continue reading your website.

Keep this number as low as possible. You want to take your customers through a journey on your website. If they’re leaving? They’ll never make it on that journey and you’ll lose money.

4. Time on Site

How long are people sticking around to read your stuff? If the average time a person spends with your website is mere seconds, you’re doing something wrong.

Change your headline. Write longer blog posts. Be more entertaining and educational. Test, tweak, and actively work to get people to stick around for longer. You’ll make more money if you do.

5. Where You’re Getting Your Visitors

Up until now, these metrics have been available on the dashboard, the first page you see when you arrive on your page. Now, it’s time to do a little digging to get to the good stuff.

Understanding how you’re getting new eyeballs to your website is important. You need to understand how many people are going directly to your website (typing in your domain), getting sent from your website from other places (referral traffic), finding you on the search engines, or finding you through social media.

This shows where your marketing efforts are most effective and where you could be losing opportunity.

To find it, click on “Acquisition,” then “All Traffic,” then “Channels.”

Where is my traffic coming from


You’ll then get a breakdown of how many people you got last month to your website from each of these four main channels.

6. Referrals

Referral sources are particularly useful. They show where your traffic is coming from, including which social network is sending you the most traffic.

  • Are you doing any social media marketing? How effectively is it sending people to your website?
  • Have you written any guest blog posts? How many people clicked from that blog to your website?

Look at the referral sources to understand where people are finding you.

To find these, click on “Acquisition” in the left hand column, then “All Traffic,” then “Referrals.”

Where to find referral traffic


From there, you’ll see the websites sending you the most traffic.

6. Landing Pages

Now you know where you’re getting your traffic, but what are they seeing first? Where are people landing on your website?

Landing pages tell you the top pages where people first arrive. If you have a blog, you can see which blog posts are bringing the most people to your pages. You’ll have a better understanding of the type of content bringing people in.

To find this, click “Behavior,” then “Site Content,” then “Landing Pages.”

Finding your landing pages

Never assume everyone sees your home page first. That’s rarely the case. Knowing the first impression you’re giving to your visitors will help you tweak and hone in on creating a stronger website strategy.

7. Exit Pages

The final piece of information you need is perhaps the most important. Where are you losing people from your website? What’s causing people to turn away from your business?

The exit pages are the pages where people decide to click to another website and go back about their day without buying from you. They matter because without knowing where you’re losing customers, you’ll never know what to tweak to get more money from your website.

When you’re on your landing page screen, click directly below “Landing Pages” to “Exit Pages.” Here, you’ll see the top pages where you’ve lost someone.

A few tweaks you can make to keep people on your site longer are:

  • Include a call-to-action.
  • Include more links within your content to drive people to other pages.
  • Ask questions to get people engaged on your site. It’ll increase their interest in your brand.

Setting Up Google Analytics

Google does require a small amount of coding knowledge. Ask your webmaster to set up Google Analytics and then give you access to your dashboard.

The more you know, the more money you’ll bring in from your website.

Don’t want to have to do this all on your own? Get a weekly or monthly report with all the Google Analytics you need to know

7 thoughts to “Stopping the Guesswork: Why Every Business Owner Should Demand Access to Google Analytics

  • Alistair Gill

    Great post, Kimberly. I agree that many people who should know better are clueless when it comes to Google Analytics. I always find it funny because once they actually start using it, they become addicted and check it more often than necessary! This is a great intro for someone who is new to the platform.

    • Kimberly Crossland

      I was definitely one of those people in the beginning. It becomes almost an obsession. 🙂

  • Hailey

    This was such an awesome post. I’m always trying to explain analytics but you’ve done such a great job of breaking it all down. I think I’ll just be sending them a link now 🙂

    • Kimberly Crossland

      Thanks Hailey! It’s confusing at first but so important to know – at least the basics.

  • Cinthia P.

    Hey Kimberly,

    This is a great breakdown on a first steps to getting comfortable with Google Analytics. It seems like a lot of people are pretty freaked out when even looking at their reporting and this makes it a bit easier for those business owners. Great post!

    • Kimberly Crossland

      Thanks Cinthia!

  • Owain

    Great post Kimberly, really helps put GA features in laymans terms. The next step beyond your recommendations I suppose is to interpret the data provided by GA. Our product, Decibel Insight helps people using GA with the extra layer required to visualize how visitors are engaging with content across your website. This helps you to identify the “why” presented from data in Google Analytics in simple terms. Hope this helps.. 🙂


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