Friday, 31 October 2014

Your Rotating Headers Don’t Have to Kill Your Conversion Rate

Your Rotating Headers Don't Have to Kill Your Conversion Rate
It’s like a virus on the web: Rotating Headers, also called “Sliders”.
Designers recommend them.
Content Management Systems provide widgets to implement them.
And everyone is copying their competitors, which makes them spread.
Those of us that test websites know one thing: We can almost always get a higher conversion rate with a static image then with rotating header images.

Why Sliders Hurt Conversion

There are two primary reasons that sliding header images hurt conversion.

1. Load Times

It takes a long time to load each image. Header images are generally large. Multiply that by three or four or five and you have a slooooow loading page.

2. Motion is Irresistible

Rotating Banner
Try to read this sentence with the  image above moving constantly.
Our brains are programmed to pay attention to things that move. When something moves, your “Lizard Brain” must ascertain if it is something we can eat, be eaten by or mate with.
Every time the header images slides or fades, we stop reading the page and look up. We can’t help it.

Why static images are scary

Static images require us to think hard about our value proposition. They require tough decisions because you must pick one image in a key location on your home page, category pages and landing pages.
Don’t try to hedge your bets with a rotating smorgasbord. Decisions are hard.
Fear not. We have been able to beat a static hero image with a rotating “slider” on more than one occasion. If you’re attached to your slider, we’re here to help you out.

Creating Sliders That Work

This process only works if you know how to do A/B testing.
If you don’t, please, just use static images for your pages. Better yet, let us help you get setup for testing.
Rotating Mesh Banner-anonymized
This is a slider we optimized for custom sign maker. It started off with some advantages over most sliders we see on the Web.
First, the size of each image is relatively small, taking up one column width and measuring in at 519x 319 pixels.
Second, the rotation is a slow fade, not a sudden slide.
Third, the fade time is 10 seconds, which is quite long compared to other sliders we’ve seen.
Since we believed that a static image would perform better than the rotating images, we set out the see which of the panels would generate the most sales. We tested each image against the rotating banner as the control using Optimizely.
Here’s how they turned out. Only one panel beat the rotating image with high statistical significance.
Order Today Ships Today!
The others were inconclusive.
This was unexpected. So, we did a follow up. If we changed the order of the images, could we develop a rotating image that beat a static image?
We gave it a try, ordering the panels like this:

Panels in Order
In our test, the rotating header beat the static image by 61% with a confidence of over 99%.

What Does This Mean?

Does this mean that rotating sliders are the way to go? We have distilled the following best practices that have worked for us in other tests.
1. Make each image as small as possible so the page loads quickly.
2. Use a long interval between images.
3. Use a fade instead of a slide to minimize motion distraction.
4. Start the rotation with your highest performing images.
5. If you can’t test, go with a static image.
Don’t spread the virus. Be smart about your rotating messages.
To view the original article Click Here

Thursday, 30 October 2014

12 Awesome Pinterest Tools To Power Up Your Marketing

12 Awesome Pinterest tools
It’s taken just three years but the image-sharing site Pinterest now boasts 70 million global users. According to Global Web Index, Pinterest has also dethroned Twitter to become the fastest growing social platform in the world by active users in Q2 of 2013.

This explosive growth may be due to the unique demographics of Pinterest users and an aesthetically pleasing site design that drives sales.

Pinterest’s average orders exceed Facebook’s

Even though Pinterest is increasing its appeal internationally, over 70% of pinners are still from the USA – predominantly young, affluent females with a greater propensity to shop than their counterparts on Facebook or Twitter. A study by RichRelevance revealed that the average order placed by Pinterest shoppers is $169, far exceeding those from Facebook ($95) and Twitter ($70).

60% of major brands have a Pinterest account

The sales potential of Pinterest is the key reason why 60% of top brands already have a Pinterest account. This should convince smaller businesses to include this social network in their marketing strategy Pinterest’s meteoric rise has spawned a number of tools, services and third-party apps. Many of them have come and gone never to be heard of again. But a few power players have emerged offering complete marketing suites to help brands capitalize on the rise of visual social media.

In this article I will share 12 tools to help you power up your pinning by improving the way you create content, interact with your audience and track your results.

Some of the tools are free or operate a “freemium” model where the initial service is free but the price increases as you add more advanced features. Beginner bloggers and those on small budgets can take advantage of these. Other services are aimed specifically at larger businesses and brands.
Let’s get started

Pinterest tools to create images

 #1. PicMonkey

Images are everything on Pinterest and both product and service-based businesses can maximize their impact on this social network by turning their content into a visual format.
Pinterest tool Pic Monkey
Think beyond simple product shots and explore creative ways to turn your customer testimonials, reviews, case studies, positive PR etc into an image.
PicMonkey is a free online image editor that is ideal for creating and editing images without investing in Photoshop or hiring a designer.

Although not specifically built for Pinterest, PicMonkey is a feature-rich, user-friendly tool that lets you create beautiful image quotes, do quick touch ups to your photos, resize images and overlay pictures with text.
The basic version is free but upgrading to Premium for $4.99 a month will give you more features.

#2. ShareAsImage (formerly Pin A Quote)

ShareAsImage is a handy extension that enables you to create picture quotes on the fly from any webpage, including your own.
Image quotes are extremely popular across social media and tend to go viral on Pinterest so are worth adding to your Pinterest marketing.
Pinterest tool shareasanimage
The free version of this tool is pretty basic so it’s worth upgrading to Pro for the one-off cost of $6.99 if you plan on using it extensively.

Simply sign up for an account then drag the bookmarklet to your browser bar. Highlight the text you want to use in your quote and click the bookmarklet again.

Images can be shared directly to your social media profiles including Pinterest or saved to your computer.

Pinterest tools for building your Pinterest community

#3. WooBox Pinterest Tab

Once of the best ways to increase your followers on Pinterest is by tapping into your current community.
If you have been using Facebook for any length of time, then you have already established trust with your audience. They know you and like you so it’s natural for them to follow you on Pinterest too.
Pinterest tool Woobox
Currently Pinterest allows you to connect your account with your Facebook personal profile but not your business fan page. So what can you do?
The easiest way around this is to install a Pinterest tab for your Facebook fan page. It takes a few seconds to set up, requires no tech skills and allows your fans to view your Pinterest boards directly from your fan page.

#4. PinAlerts

As the name suggests Pinalerts alerts you via email when someone pins something directly from your site (Pinterest only emails you when you get a repin).
Pinterest tool Pinalerts
Pinalerts is a great way to track repins from your site, connect with other pinners and build a community.

Rather than telling you what was pinned, it identifies who has pinned content from your website so you can thank them and invite them to follow your other boards on Pinterest.

#5. Pinwoot

Establishing a large following on Pinterest is a crucial step to any successful Pinterest marketing campaign. But when you are starting out this is easier said than done.

Although I don’t advocate buying followers, I was recently invited to try out a service called Pinwoot that promises real Pinterest followers for free in exchange for “seeds”.
Pinterest tool Pinwoot
Pinwoot works on a very simple premise; you collect seeds by following users and then give away seeds to get followers of your own. It is similar to other follower exchanges but I found Pinwoot to have higher quality, more interactive users comprising mainly bloggers and individuals.

If you are struggling to build your Pinterest page then this service may be able to give you a kick-start. I would only use it as a short-term measure to get your first 100 or so followers because targeted, engaged followers will get you a far better return in the long-run.

#6. Postris (formerly Repinly)

Postris describes itself as a “content discovery dashboard” and comes with a simple interface to help you stay on top of what is hot and trending across Pinterest.
Pinterest tool Postris
The service is free to use and lists the most popular pinners, boards and pins. By browsing boards you can find new accounts to follow and generate content ideas for your own Pinterest page.

Postris also provides insights into trends in different categories, although these are not exhaustive and you might not find a match for your industry or niche.

#7. Wisestamp

You probably send and receive dozens of emails every day so why not get them to work for you?
 Pinterest tool Wisestamp
Wisestamp lets you create personalized email signatures for your web-based email accounts, including Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. It is free to download and works with most browsers. To access more features, upgrade to Premium. Plans range from $36 – $199.

Use this add-on to spruce up your emails and engage recipients by adding elegant links, colors and your favorite social media profiles.
Although it’s not Pinterest-specific, you can add a dynamic follow button for your Pinterest page so that recipients of your email will see it and follow you directly from the email.

#8. Pinvolve

Have you ever pinned something to your Facebook fan page and wished there was a seamless way to add it to your Pinterest page?
Well, now there is.
Pinterest tool Pinvolve
Pinvolve is a nifty app that automatically synchs Facebook with Pinterest. It allows you to create a separate tab on your fan page similar to the Woobox tab.

The key difference is that Pinvolve arranges your content in a Pinterest-like format and pulls in any Facebook likes and comments linked to that post.
When you hover over an image on the Pinvolve tab, a “Pin it” button appears. 

Click it to post that content directly to Pinterest.

Pinvolve offers three plans – a forever free option with limited interaction between Facebook and Pinterest; a Pro version at $5 a month and a Bundle package for $25 a month, which allows unlimited synching for up to 10 Facebook pages.

Analyse & Track Your Results

#9. Piqora (formerly Pinfluencer)

The founders of Piqora describe it as “the complete marketing suite for the visual web” and I must admit that this tool has a very impressive centralized marketing and analytics dashboard for the big three visual networks – Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr.
Pinterest tool piquora
Piqora offers a plethora of features. It allows businesses to host and track contests and promotions on Pinterest, manage content, schedule pins, identify and connect with influential pinners as well as measure engagement.
It also has a powerful Social CRM tool (currently only for Instagram ad Tumblr) that helps companies better engage with their customers, analyze social conversations and track consumer reactions.

Brands such Sephora, Zappos, Etsy, Overstock and Steve Madden are current Piqora customers. There is no pricing information on the site but you are invited to contact Piqora for a demo.

#10. Reachli (formerly Pinerly)

Reachli is another multi-platform visual content marketing service that has undergone a name change.

This tool lets you create and promote content simultaneously from a unified dashboard across Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
Pinterest tool Reachli
It also provides analytics to track and measure your results.
Reachli’s “Lite” version allows you to post across four social media accounts for free. But if you want to reach a wider audience, you might want to consider its advertising solution.

Based on a pay-per-click model and starting from as little as $10, Reachli could be an affordable option to Google advertising for small businesses.

#11. Tailwind (formerly PinLeague)

Tailwind is a robust analytics and campaign management tool for Pinterest that helps you discover your most influential followers, identify popular pins, track engagement on your account and monitor the competition.
Pinterest tool Tailwind
Best of all, it integrates with Google Analytics, which is one of the shortcomings of Pinterest’s new web analytics tool.

Tailwind is used by over 2,500 brands and agencies including Nike, AOL, Walmart and Target so it offers several plans. The free version is fairly limited, but the Lite version costs a reasonable $29 a month and is best suited to small business owners, social media consultants and bloggers. It covers 1 Pinterest account, tracks 2 competitors and provides some key dashboard features.

If you want more “bells and whistles”, then the Professional and Enterprise versions at $99 a month and $299 a month respectively may be a better option.

#12. ViralTag (formerly Pingraphy)

I wrote about how to schedule pins with Pingraphy last year when it seemed like the answer to every busy pinner’s dreams. At the time, Pingraphy was free and allowed you to schedule pins, saving you hours of pinning time every week.

But after a stuttering start, the founders finally shut down Pingraphy.
They have now returned with the much-improved Viral Tag, which offers bulk scheduling for multiple accounts and access to analytics across several platforms.
Pinterest tool viraltag
If you are a Hootsuite user then there is more good news.

ViralTag recently joined forces with Hootsuite to allow Pro users to schedule pins directly from the Hootsuite dashboard using the ViralTag app. Although there is a small monthly fee for this service it is a convenient way to manage all your social media profiles from one place.

You can set up an account using your Pinterest account details and within seconds your account will be synched and ready to go. There is a 14-day free trial followed by 4 monthly plan options – Limited ($4.99 a month), Basic ($12), Premium ($28) and Agency ($150). You can also select an annual plan.
Overall, ViralTag seems to be a great one-stop solution for cash-strapped small businesses.

Final Words

These 12 tools can help you improve your Pinterest marketing. Of course, there are others I could have listed and new ones seem to pop up every day.
You won’t need all the tools on this list, just pick one or two that best meet your needs and try them out. Hopefully this overview will encourage you to get started with Pinterest if you haven’t already or help you supercharge your marketing efforts if you are an established pinner.

Which of these tools stand out most for you? Have you used any of these tools or services successfully? Please comment and share your experience.

To view the original article Click Here

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

How To Find LinkedIn Groups With Targeted Prospects

how to find linkedin
Do you use LinkedIn groups to find ideal prospects for your business?
LinkedIn groups are one of my essential tools for driving leads. As you might have noticed, not all LinkedIn groups are created equally and it can be difficult to find the good ones. Once you do find a great set of LinkedIn groups, you likely won’t ever have to leave them.
A mistake I see many people make is they join all of their industry specific groups. This is not where you will find your ideal clients, rather they will be full of your peers and competitors.
Once you have found the right groups you can focus on what really matters: engagement. With that said, let’s discuss a few simple ways to find great LinkedIn groups that are very likely to have lots of prospects in your target market.

1. Use Simple Keywords When Searching For LinkedIn Groups

Do you ever notice how Google seems to be reading your mind as it consistently delivers exactly what you’re looking for on the first page? Let’s just say that LinkedIn’s search algorithm is no Google.
To be fair, this has more to do with group owners not properly optimizing their group name and description to be found than it does with LinkedIn’s search algorithm. The point is that you really have to bring it down to the basics to find great groups and it can involve spending some time combing through results.
The process is slightly different if you are a local vs. non-local business:

For Locally-Based Businesses

Start by simply typing in your city name into LinkedIn searchScreen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.38.31 PM
Click “Groups” in the left side column after on the search results page to only show Groups in your results.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.39.51 PM
Now you can start narrowing down your search by adding a second keyword that’s relevant to your target market. If you’re networking with business owners, sometimes it’s as simple as adding the word “business” or “entrepreneurs” and experimenting with the plural and singular versions of each.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.43.45 PM

For Non-Local or Web-Based Businesses

You need to get a bit craftier with the groups you select as a non-local business. Obviously you can simply search keywords relevant to your target audience (perhaps including a country in the search if the results become to broad). Aside from that, there is one very helpful tip for finding unique LinkedIn groups.
Once you’ve found a “perfect prospect”, look at the groups they are a member of.This is where I have found the absolute best groups that I simply never would have thought of on my own. When you identify someone that seems like a perfect prospect, look at their profile and see which groups they have joined.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.48.12 PM

2. Use Group Statistics To Look Under The Hood

I’m really excited to share this tip because most people I talk to have no idea that they are able to do this. You can actually get a quick glance at the important stats and demographic insights into each group before you waste any time in it.
Go to any group and click the “i” next to the “Join” button. You do not have to join the group to do this.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 12.38.58 PM
Click “Group Statistics” after the extended menu drops down.Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 4.43.45 PM
You’ll see a summary breakdown showing the number of group members, most common job function, amount of comments in the previous week and more.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.14.50 PM

3. Define What A “Good” LinkedIn Group Is

We’ve talked about finding groups now let’s discuss how you can determine what makes for an objectively “good” LinkedIn group.
1. There is regular discussion going on. The bar is different for local vs. non-local groups, specifically local groups will tend to have lower quantity of discussion since it tends to be more niche or smaller in size. Don’t discount that as low quality. If the group is non-local, it makes sense to have higher expectations for discussion quantity.
2. The quality of discussions is good. Are the discussions in the group spammy and unmoderated or is it full of interesting conversations and useful content?
3. The group is moderated…but not too moderated. Are the group admins ruling with an iron fist and primarily allowing their content to dominate? The best groups serve the interests of the many, not the few. If a group has thousands of people in it, only 3 comments a week and all the topics are serving the admins, that group will almost certainly end up being a waste of time.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.11.08 PM
4. The most popular job function in the group is your target market. For example, you want to see “Entrepreneurship” as the main function in the group statistics if you’re targeting business owners. Although it’s not necessarily a deal breaker if you don’t see it, it’s a strong indication of a quality group when you do.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.28.18 PM
5. (LOCAL ONLY) The most popular location is your area. If you’re a locally based business, it’s helpful if the groups you are connecting with actually contain people from your area. Thankfully, there is a way to check this via group statistics.Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.27.22 PM

4. Don’t Network With Your Industry

People make this mistake commonly in real life so it’s no surprise that it happens a lot online as well. Sure, you might want to choose 1 or 2 key industry groups to “stay in the loop” but that’s where you should draw the line. You need to think about the groups that are most relevant to your target market.
For example, a financial advisor might think it’s a great idea to network in groups with other financial advisors, but that’s not where you will find your target market.
Instead, a financial advisor should focus on connecting with professionals that make up their ideal clients. If the advisor is locally based, I would start by looking for general business-related groups that are based in your area.

5. Leave An Impression On Group Members By Providing Value

You need two more skills to master the art of converting prospects via LinkedIn groups: the ability to create content that serves a specific audience and the ability to move a conversation from comments to phone or face-to-face.
For that I have two of the perfect resources to continue your education:
  • How To Become A Top Contributor In Any LinkedIn Group. I breakdown my systematic process for becoming a top contributor for my best groups on a regular basis. This is KEY to making the best use of LinkedIn groups!
  • The Guide To Networking On LinkedIn For Business. Are you socially awkward online? You know that you can’t move a conversation from the comments to the phone without some extra steps in the middle but you might not know what they are. If that sounds like you, this is the article you want to read.
What do you love most about LinkedIn groups and how are you using them to forward your business? Let me know in the comments below.
To view the original article Click Here

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A beginner’s guide to Google Analytics

These are some of the things that Google Analytics (GA) can show you and, once you have that information, you can use it to make your site even better.
So, if you have a blog or a website but aren’t yet using Google’s web analytics software to keep track of your traffic and visitors, it’s time to get with the programme!
If you’re already using it or have tried using but find it overwhelming and hard to understand, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about GA and how you can use the data it provides to your advantage.
Whether this is your first time using GA or not, we’re going to start from the very beginning, from how to set it up on your website to how to extract numbers that drive action and help you improve your site.

What is Google Analytics?

Why should you use it?

How to set it up

Getting to know the Dashboard

Finding valuable information and using it to improve your site

1. Audience – Who are my visitors?
2. Acquisition: How are people finding my site?
3. Behaviour – What content do my visitors like most?
4. Conversions – How much is my site converting?
5. Creating custom reports

Wrapping up

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful web analytics software out there and it’s free which makes it even more appealing. No wonder more than 10 million websites are using it.
GA gathers analytics information from your website so you can monitor the number of visitors your site receives, where they came from, how they navigate through your site as well as other interesting stats.
While there are many tools available that can help you get this information, since Google is the largest search engine on the internet and since most of your site’s traffic probably comes from Google, it’s an effective tool to track website traffic and get insights on your visitors’ behaviour on your site.

Why should you use it?

Because you’ll get free access to so much awesome information about your website and your visitors, including:
  • How many people have visited your site
  • Which countries they live in
  • How they landed on your site (from Twitter, from a search engine, from an article they read on a blog)
  • How much time they spent on your site and if they visited other pages as well
  • What technology they used to access your site (desktop, tablet, smartphone)
  • Which are your most popular web pages and/or blog posts
  • Which sites or blogs are sending traffic your way
  • Which social network is sending you the most amount of visitors
This may sound like a lot of information but don’t worry. Once you go through this guide and see how all this information is organised and where you can find what you’re looking for, it will no longer seem that complicated.

How to set it up

If you already have GA installed on your site, go ahead and jump to the next section.
For GA to be able to track your visitors and website traffic it needs to gather information from your site whenever a visitor lands on one of your pages. And it can only do that if you have GA installed on your site so let’s do that now.
Go to Google Analytics and create an account, if you don’t have one already. If you do, simply sign in to your account.
Next, click the Access Google Analytics button and then click on Sign Up:
Set up Google Analytics
On the next page, you will need to fill in some basic information about your site like website name and URL, time zone and more:
Google Analytics New Account
Now click on the Get Tracking ID button.
What’s that? Well, GA will only track pages on your site that contain the GA tracking code. This is a small Javascript snippet that you’ll need to add to each page of your site so it can track it.
Here’s how the tracking code looks:
Google Analytics Tracking Code
If you accidentally lose or delete it, you can access it anytime by following these steps:
  • Go to Admin and then choose the profile for which you would like to retrieve the tracking code.
  • Click on Tracking Info and then on Tracking ID from the dropdown menu.
Google Analytics Access Tracking Code
To insert the Google Analytics code, you need to have access to your site’s source code. If you’ve hired someone to manage your site for you, you’ll need to provide them access to your admin or FTP so they can access your HTML code.
If you want to do it yourself, log in to your content management system (CMS) and access your site’s HTML code. Now you need to copy and paste the tracking code inside the header file, between <head> and </head>. Be sure to place it on a line of its own and not in the middle of other code. Since the header file is common for all page, it will added automatically to all the pages on your site.
If you have a WordPress site, implementing the code is a breeze. Log in to your WordPress Admin and then click Appearance -> Editor. Open your theme’s header.php file and paste the tracking code between <head> and </head> then click “Update File”. Or you could use a plugin like Google Analytics by Yoastwhere you would only need to copy and paste the tracking code and the plugin will then add it to all current and new pages for you.
It may take up to 24 hours for Google to gather all the data. If after 24 hours you can’t see any data, verify that you’ve properly set up GA by revisiting the Tracking Code section. You’ll see a section titled Tracking Status Information at the top of the page. You want the status to read Tracking Installed, which tells you that the code is working and the data is being pulling into Google Analytics accurately.
If the status reads Waiting for Data, Google Analytics has found the tracking code but is still working to gather the data into reports. If the status is Tracking Not Installed or Not Verified, follow Google’s recommendations to troubleshoot the problem.
Now that you have GA installed properly you’re finally ready to get started using it to analyse your web traffic!

Getting to know the Dashboard

Analytics Dashboard
The Audience overview is the default screen you’ll see when you access GA and it includes graphs, percentages and pie charts on:
  • How many people have visited your site in the last month
  • How many of them are first-time visitors and how many have returned to your site
  • How many pages were viewed along with the average number of pages per visit
  • How long the average visitor stayed on your page
  • Your site’s bounce rate meaning how many people left a page they landed on without viewing another page.
You’ll also see some demographics, system, and mobile reports at the bottom of the overview screen.
  • Demographics – Click on Language, Country/ Territory and City to find out which country and city your visitors live in as well as the languages they speak.
  • System – When you click on the three options under System, you’ll get more details on which browsers, operating systems and service providers your visitors use.
  • Mobile – This is where you can see how many of your visitors are using mobile devices to access your site and which ones.

Finding valuable information and using it to improve your site

This is where all the fun begins. On the left side of the page you’ll see a menu with several sections and each section includes valuable information about your site’s visitors, content, performance and how well it’s converting.
Analytics Menu
I’ll walk you through each section and explain how you can use that information to your advantage. Once you’re done reading this guide, you’ll know exactly where to go if you want to find out where your visitors are coming from or what’s the most popular post that sent you the most amount of traffic from Twitter.
Let’s get started.

1. Audience – Who are my visitors?

This is where you need to go when you want to find out more about your visitors:
Google Analytics Audience
The Audience section gives you information on your visitor’s age and gender (under Demographics), the languages they speak and their location, including a map overlay which you can click on for more detailed information about where your visitors are coming from (under Geo).
Google Analytics Map Overlay
To dig deeper, you could use metrics and secondary dimensions to find out even more information.
  • Dimensions are the rows you see in GA that allow you to sort or filter data so you can get the exact information you’re looking for and use it to improve your site . For example, language is a dimension and so is browser preference and you can sort your data in GA to show you which languages your visitors speak or which browsers they’re using to access your site.You can find all those things as the titles of rows in GA reports.
  • Metrics are the numbers that usually populate those rows. So you might have a Country report where you have rows with the countries your visitors are coming from, but it also gives you metrics: how many visits per country, how much time they spend on site depending on country, what’s the bounce rate per country, and more.
Let’s take a very simple example and see the browsers and operating systems people use depending on the country they live in. To do that, go to Geo -> Location and then choose Browser as a secondary dimension:
Google Analytics metrics dimensions
The next sub-report in the Audience section is Behaviour which gives you more information on how many new visitors you have and how many are frequently returning to your site, as well as how much time they spend on your site.
This section is very important so let’s take them one by one:
  • New vs Returning shows you how many users are visiting your site for the first time and how many of them return. While it’s great to have loads of new visitors, it’s also very important to keep them coming back to your site. So if both these percentage are high (50-50, 60-40), kudos to you!
  • Frequency & Recency tellyouhow often your returning visitors are coming back to your site. You can also view the Days since last visit report which shows you how many days have passed since the last time your return visitors have been on your site.
  • Engagement shows you two metrics: Session Duration (how much time a visitor has spent on your site) and Page Depth (or how many pages a visitor viewed). You want a high number of visitors that are viewing more than one page, and are spending more than a few seconds on your site. The more time they spend and the more pages they visit, the more interested they are in what you have to say or offer.
Two other very useful reports in the Audience section are for technology and mobile statistics.
  • The Technology tab tells you which browsers and operating systems your visitors are using to access your site.
  • The Mobile tab tells you how many people are accessing your site using a mobile or tablet device. Plus, you’ll even get to see which specific mobile devices they’re using.
Here’s how the Mobile Overview looks:
Google Analytics Mobile
Why is this useful? Well, think about it: if you discover that a high percentage of your visitors are using their smartphones to visit your site (like in the above screenshot, for example), this is a clear sign that you need to create a mobile-friendly version of your site to ensure your site is displayed properly on desktop and mobile as well.
What’s more, if you’re considering developing a mobile application for your site, looking at this data you’ll know if you should focus on one that’s compatible with iOS, Android or Windows Phone.
You can go even further. Select Mobile -> Devices and as a secondary dimension select City:
Google Analytics Mobile City
This will show you which mobile devices users from specific cities use. So if I develop an app, I’ll know to make it compatible with iOS and Android.
The last report is for Users Flow which features a cool flow chart that shows you exactly how visitors navigate through your site: where they came from, which page they landed on and which page they were on when they left the site.
From the top drop down menu you can choose different starting points. For example, maybe you want to see the complete journey of visitors coming from social networks. Choose Social -> Social Network from the drop down menu and visualise their journey through your site.
Google Analytics Social Network

2. Acquisition: How are people finding my site?

This section is one of the most important in GA. That’s because it shows you exactly where your traffic is coming from which helps you determine if your search engine optimisation efforts are paying off.
Google Analytics Acquisition
Your traffic should come from various channels (paid search, direct, social, etc), and not from a single source. Why? Imagine most of your organic traffic comes from Google and they release an algorithm update that drops your rankings from the first page, down to the 20th page. That would be a disaster! People wouldn’t be able to find you via Google and visitor numbers would fall sharply.
However, if only 30-40% of your traffic comes from Google, in the event of an update that negatively impacts your rankings, your site will survive as you’ll still get some traffic from other sources. This will somewhat compensate for a huge drop in traffic coming from Google’s search engine results pages.
To see exactly which blogs, websites, directories, search engines and social networks are sending you the most traffic, you’ll want to take a look at each of the sections under “Acquisition”, including:
  • All Traffic which tells you how someone discovered your site. It includes everything from users typing your domain name into their browser to clicking on a search result to clicking from another website.
  • All Referrals is a bit more specific as it only includes visits from people who landed on your site after clicking on a link from another website. So this section doesn’t include search traffic and direct visitors but it’s a great way to check traffic coming from external sites where you might have published a guest post.
  • Social provides some insightful information about your social media efforts. You will not only get to see which social networks are sending you (the most) traffic but also which pages were most popular on each social network.
For example, if you go to Social -> Overview you’ll see which social networks are sending you traffic:
Google Analytics Social overview
If you click on any of them, say Facebook, you’ll see the top pages on your site that people visited from Facebook. This is useful as it lets you know what type of content your fans find most interesting or useful. Based on this you can determine what works and what other similar content you can create that your audience might enjoy.
Now, if you use AdWords, GA also lets you see detailed reports for traffic driven by your ads, including campaigns, keywords and keyword positions, search queries, hour of the day when most people clicked your ads, and much more. These reports will not only show you the number of visits each campaign generated and how many pages each visitor viewed per visit, but also your total goal completions and the revenue generated from each. These two metrics are very important as they tell you how well your ads are performing.
If you look at the Keywords tab you’ll notice that it’s a bit poor. Plus, when you go to Organic there’s this annoying (not provided). A year ago this was filled with keywords people used to reach your site. But not anymore, not since Google went dark on keywords, allegedly to protect the privacy of its users.
Don’t despair as the Search Engine Optimization section can come in handy as it’s where you can find the search queries people used to get to your site. However, to get access to this data you’ll need to connect your site in Webmaster Tools to your Google Analytics account. Here’s how.
Now let’s use dimensions to filter some data.
For example, you may want to see what you top landing pages are on each social network. Simply go toSocial -> Landing Pages and then select Social Network as a secondary dimension.
Google Analytics Landing Pages Social Network
This lets you see what type of content works best on each social network so you know what to focus on moving forward.
Or you could select Time -> Day of the week as a secondary dimension to see which day of the week your URL were most shared:
Analytics Shared URL Day
This can give you an idea of the best days to share content on social networks. So if you have something important to share, look at this data to see on which specific day it’s best to share it to reach more users.

3. Behaviour – What content do my visitors like most?

This is an extremely important area of GA and probably the one you’ll visit most often as it includes vital information on your most popular pages, how fast your site is loading as well as what people are searching for on your website.
Let’s take them one by one.
3.1. Site Content
I’ll never get tired of saying this: Content is the heart of your website! So if you want to find out if yours gets read and which pages or blog posts are most engaging, go to Behaviour -> Site Content -> All Pages.
Google Analytics Site Content
Here’s how to interpret the most important metrics:
  • Pageviews/Unique Pageviews: These two metrics are different. While a Pageview is recorded each time a page is loaded (meaning that if a visitor is on a page and clicks refresh or goes to another page and then uses the back button to return, it counts as a second pageview) while a unique pageview refers to the number of times a unique visitor loaded the page.
  • Avg. Time on Page: This is an average measure of how long a visitor stayed on that page. If the average time on a page is a few seconds it means that visitors didn’t find what they were looking for. Now, if users spend more time it means that they found it interesting or useful.
  • Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of users who only visited one page in their session. Don’t read too much into a high number as it may mean two things: either they didn’t find what they were looking for (which isn’t good) or they found it quickly which means your site is awesome.
Now, if you have a big site with loads of pages organised in different categories you can go to Content Drilldown to see how these categories are performing. This section is particularly useful for sites with hundreds of pages such as online shops.
For example, say you have a sports equipment store and have different sections on your site such as: swimwear equipment, running equipment, golf equipment etc. You can go to Content Drilldown to see how the swimwear equipment category performed during a specific time period, like summer or winter, or how it performed this year compared to last year. This way you’ll know that if traffic drops in the winter for swimwear equipment, it’s because, well, how many people swim during winter?
The Site Content area also shows you the top Landing Pages on your site, meaning the pages most visitors land on as well as your top Exit Pages, which are the pages most visitors leave. Pay attention to the exit pages as these can provide clues as to where your visitors might be getting stuck.
To get more from this section, you could go to All Pages and then use Title (under Behaviour) as a secondary dimension. This will show you which pages have duplicate or missing titles.
3.2. Site Speed
Be sure to check this report to ensure that your pages are loading fast because if they take too long to load, you visitors will get frustrated and leave.
Google Analytics Site Speed
Most web users wait six to ten seconds for a page to load before they exit, according to a Kissmetrics survey. Also, an Amazon study showed a 1% decrease in sales for every 0.1s decrease in response times. In addition, page speed is linked to better rankings and user engagement. So make sure you check this report to ensure that no visitor is abandoning your site because it takes too long to load.
What does this all mean? It means that it’s best to have an average server response time under 1 or 2 seconds. The average server response time refers to how fast your server responds to a request for a page from your site and starts sending data to the visitor. When it comes to your average page load time, this should preferably be under 10 seconds.
If you go to Speed Suggestions, Google will recommend some things you can do to improve your site speed so don’t skip those as they can have a big impact on your website’s performance.
3.3. Site Search
Check this section only if you have Google’s search tool installed on your website which allows people to search directly on your website. There aren’t many visitors who run a search directly on the site as many have already landed on a specific page after running a search on Google, but some do so it might be worth checking.
If you go to Search Terms you will see what people typed in the search box which gives you an idea of what they were searching for on your site. Looking at this data you might get some ideas on what your audience is looking for and maybe create some new content based on those search queries.
The other reports – Events, AdSense, Experiments and In-Page Analytics are a bit more advanced, but if you use AdSense or have programmed Events into your site’s code, this is where you’ll be able to monitor them.
Here’s a short description of what these can help you with:
  • Events – Add a code to your links and track events such as how many people downloaded a whitepaper that you’ve published. Here’s a guide to help you set up event tracking in Google Analytics.
  • AdSense - If you want to integrate your AdSense account with your Analytics account and see which pages or content on your site generate more ad clicks and revenue, this is where you should go.
  • Experiments – This tool lets you perform experiments with your web pages using different design variations to improve its performance.
  • In-Page Analytics – A pretty awesome tool, it shows pages on your website with Analytics data overlaid on top of the pages. Definitely worth checking out.

4. Conversions – How much is my site converting?

Conversions are broken down into two categories: goals and ecommerce.
To track goals, you’ll need to tell Google which actions to track and log as conversions, for example: buying a product, downloading a whitepaper, signing up for a webinar, filling out a contact form.
There are four different types of goals. Some may be pages on your site you want visitors to reach such as a thank you page after someone has registered for a webinar or placed an order. You can also set a goal for a length of time spent on your site, the number of pages per visit, or an event.
You can also set up a funnel, or a series of pages leading up to your goal page which would allow you to monitor users’ journey. This is very useful as you get to see at what point users abandon the conversion process. So rather than wondering what went wrong, you can see exactly where the user decided to abandon the action and figure out what you can do to make sure people convert in the future..
To learn how to set up goals and conversion funnels, watch this useful video:
E-commerce conversions are much more complicated to set up, and require inserting code on your website. You can find more information about ecommerce tracking in the Google Analytics help files.

5. Creating custom reports

Rather than digging into the information GA provides in its pre-defined sections, why not create your own custom reports and filter the data based on what you think is important?
To create a new report, go to Customisation and then click on New Custom Report.
Google Analytics Custom Reports
Here is a step-by-step tutorial that explains how to create a custom report in GA.
If you don’t know what custom reports to create, check out these posts for some great ideas:
  • My top 5 most used custom reports in Google Analytics
  • 18 useful Google Analytics custom reports, segments and dashboards for SEO
Now that you know how to create your custom reports, there’s nothing stopping you from improving every bit of your website.

Wrapping up

If you made it this far, congrats!
While I tried to cover as much as possible, Google Analytics is huge so there’s much more to discover. But hopefully this guide will help you get started with a few of the neat parts of it which can help you improve your site.
You can also check out the following super-useful resources:
  • Did you know Google Analytics can do this?
  • Google Analytics resources for beginners to advanced users
  • The small business guide to Google Analytics
  • General resources: Google Analytics Help Centerofficial forum and official blog
Do you have anything to add? I’m sure I missed things, so please add your suggestions or questions in a comment below.
To view the original article Click Here