We can tend to go a bit crazy these days when it comes to data. With the robust and detailed analytics information available, we can find out enormous amounts of information about our site performance, visitors, social media and ads. But does any of this information actually help your firm's marketing efforts?
Often, that's exactly what we do – we get a nice big report, read it with interest and go “ahhhh” as we see these magnificent statistical insights into our digital marketing performance. We then ask questions about numbers, stats and data and get all excited about the huge pile of stuff we can read about.
And then… we do literally nothing with that information. Reading it was, in fact, a waste of time.
So here are three simple pieces of information that Google Analytics can give you with just a few clicks. More importantly though we've paired each section with some practical consequences of your review. That way you're not just staring blankly at facts and figures for the sake of it. I've picked these because you can get them without any earlier setup required other than installing Google Analytics – which basically everyone has done.
Before starting… log in to your Analytics page.
1. Your Popular Pages
Knowing which of your pages and articles are getting the most eyeballs gives you a powerful insight into a number of areas.
After the home page, there tends to be a couple of main categories that get looked at on law firm websites:
- staff profiles; and
Yes, I know you would like to think that people are reading your service pages where you describe how great you are at things, but that's often not the case.
Knowing which of your staff are getting traction can be a useful metric. Perhaps it's just that they have high volume work and the “other side” looks them up every time. But perhaps it's that a lot of people are searching for that individual (or they share a name with someone famous…). Figuring this out is fairly easy, and being able to identify and capitalise on a strong personal brand is useful tool to have in your kit.
When it comes to articles there are a few benefits. First, you can see what topics tend to tickle the fancy of your audience. Are they the topics you thought? Is there an identifiable theme? This can help steer your future content decisions. If people are visiting articles on topics that aren't actually in your main wheelhouse, then there's a mismatch between your content strategy and your business strategy – and that needs addressing. Beyond topic identification, seeing the most visited articles can also help you identify SEO opportunities. An article that is doing well is often showing up in search results. But perhaps it's ranked 7 for some common search terms, and a tweak here and there might allow you to get that to ranking 3 – which will cause a significant boost in outcomes.
So that's the why, here's the how:
First, head to the correct section:
Next, set the date range to be something more than 90 days (short term data can be less helpful…):
Finally, scroll a little down and you will see the list of the top performing pages in that time (this data is from one of my randomly selected websites):
2. Your Sources of Traffic
Where do your website visitors come from?
Getting isolated metrics from your email, social media and website tends not to demonstrate the overall picture of what's happening.
So, for example, we might see that we got 10,000 “views” on our latest free webinar post on LinkedIn (never happened, btw). But how many of those people actually visited the registration page, and how many of those actually registered, and what percentage of our overall registrants came from LinkedIn vs email?
Of course there are plenty of different ways to set up analytics to track that kind of thing, but the easiest right out of the gate is just to look at your traffic sources.
First, just navigate to the right page, and you'll see where your website visitors are coming from:
But that's all global information – what if you want to see the information on a specific page?
In that case, first go back to your list of pages:
Next, click on the page in question. That won't achieve much but will focus the analytics software on that page.
Finally, you want to add a “Secondary dimension” to your analytics. That will then split the visits to that page into the areas you care about:
3. Behaviour Flow – is your Site Strategy Working?
So, in the many things that go wrong during the website design process for most law firms, a failure to consider the purpose and strategy of the website is usually top of the list.
Ideally your website needs to have a purpose beyond “we exist on the internet”. Maybe it is to drive enquiries, calls, form filling, guide download, email subscribers or something else entirely.
Whatever you pick though, understanding how people are using your website can be useful, as it lets you know whether people are doing what you expect them to be doing.
So let's say that in your head people:
- Land on an article you have written; then
- Go to the home page; then
- Maybe head to a services page; then
- Go to your contact page to make an enquiry.
The question is – are people doing that? Are they using your site in the way you think they should be? (Usually the answer to this is no, by the way).
Fortunately we have a nifty report called “behaviour flow” that will get you a long way towards answering this question. It will show you where people land on your site and whether they then drop off or head to other pages. It then cascades through that process so you can see in a nice visual presentation exactly what's going on in terms of page visits on your site. Here is what it looks like and how you can get there:
Embracing Useful Analytics
Data for the sake of data is not useful.
Typically it wastes your time and doesn't allow you to take any improvement steps.
So when considering your analytics, look at it from the most useful perspective you can think of – at least that way you're not working blind when it comes to content marketing decisions going forward.