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Google Analytics Basics

What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is an amazing tool for website administrators and owners. It “gives you fresh insights into how visitors use your site, how they arrived on your site, and how you can keep them coming back.(1)”

While some of the features on your Google Analytics report are self-explanatory, here we break down a few of the not-so obvious ones.
Why should I care about analytics?
Knowledge is power. Without statistics and a baseline, how do you know how to move forward? The report will show what areas of your site need improvement.

For example, knowing your main traffic sources will help you identify if you need to focus more on search engine traffic. Your report will help you identify how long people are on your site as well as which pages are getting more attention. If you see you have a lot of hits or visits to your site but no bookings, that’s a red flag to be aware of.

You will also be able to see if any of your outside campaigns are worthwhile. Say you are paying a monthly fee for BBOnline, Google AdWords, or Trip Advisor. How do you know if it is paying off? You will be able to see where your referrals are coming from. If you’re not getting a significant number of hits per month from these sources, you’ll ask if it is worth your money.


What is the Bounce Rate?
The number of people who quickly “bounce away” from your site after only seeing one page is referred to as the Bounce Rate. If your bounce rate is 20%, that means 20 percent went to your home page and bounced away without further browsing. The other 80 percent landed on your home page and continued browsing to more pages.


What is a good Bounce Rate for a B&B site?
Each industry’s good bounce rate is different, but generally for the lodging and Bed and Breakfast industry, anything below 40 percent is good.


Average Time on Site.
A B&B owner would want to see an average time on site of around 2 1/2 -3 minutes or greater. The viewers who don’t bounce are usually on your site for ten minutes. The ones who do bounce after a couple of seconds are the ones who bring the average down.


What are the different Traffic Sources?
The traffic sources section “helps you understand where your visitors are coming from and to check whether your marketing efforts are leading the expected results or not."(2) The categories on the report include:

Direct-Someone typed your URL into their browser.
Referring-They were on another site and clicked a link to your site
Google/Organic Search Engine – They found you through natural keywords
CPC Search Engine– They found you through a Google ad that you paid for

It is good to have an equal distribution among the sources but you obviously want your search engine sources to be as high as possible.


What is a good number of page views?
That entirely depends on your area. If you are located in or very near to a large metropolitan area, you will see more hits than if you are in a very remote spot. The quality of hits is more important than the quantity. I’d rather have 300 quality hits with a low bounce rate than 3000 hits with an 80% bounce rate.


Summary.
In general, your Analytics report will help you know how effective your site is or if you need to revamp it. For everything reported, you’ll want to ask yourself, “Why would I want to know this?” and “How can I use this information to improve my website?” The application of the information on the report is limitless. All in all, your site should be more than informative—it should be leading to more bookings. Does your report suggest your site is informative or effective?

For More Information on getting the most out of your reports, view Google’s Getting Started Guide

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