I spend a good amount of time staring at Google Analytics for my blog and a couple of sites I manage for clients. When talking to my clients about the traffic they’re getting and what it all means; I’m often met with a little bit of confusion and deer-headlight-eyes. What good is knowing your bounce rate if you don’t even know how it applies to your site and if it really matters? So, here are three simple things that should make Google Analytics have a little meaning for you.
1. Someone Bounced; Now What?
First off, the quick and easy explanation of what a bounce actually is. It has nothing to do with how long someone spent on your site or how engaging any one page is to a visitor. It very simply means that a visitor came to your site (any given page) and didn’t visit any other pages on your site. Really, I promise – that’s all it means.
So, why is it important to know that? Let’s say you have a blog site and you work really hard to promote one specific post you wrote. Over the next week your efforts start to pay and you see 100 new visitors to that page and a 90% bounce rate. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – you really need to be looking at Time On Site (We’ll get to that) and pay attention to your social numbers. Now, let’s say you have a sales page and your goal is to drive people to that page so they’ll click your “Buy Now” button and you see a 90% bounce rate! Bad! Now it’s time to take a serious look at that sales page and wonder why it’s not doing it’s sales thang.
2. Avg. Visit Duration
Now you know what Bounce Rate means and more importantly what it means for you. It’s time to take a look at your Avg. Visit Duration. There’s two keys to the kingdom here. First, how long do you think people should be staying on any particular page? With some of my blog posts I expect that a couple of minutes is fine and others – if more in depth – that maybe six minutes or more is appropriate. Second, where is traffic coming from and how long is that traffic engaging with any given content?
This is gold my friends! As you can see in the image below people that get to my site through Tumblr are spending a ton of time on my pages. On the other hand those coming in through Twitter obviously have very little use for my work – that just hurts Twitter! So, I need to take a look at my followers and what I’m posting to Twitter. Are my followers interested in the subjects I’m passionate about? If so, do my titles convey the right message?
3. Yay! I have 100 page-views! Wait, is that me?
One of the biggest newbie mistakes I see is someone going to their website and generating fake traffic. You don’t do it on purpose (I hope) – you just don’t know the quick and easy way to setup a filter so you don’t show up as visits on your own site. Especially those of use with WordPress blogs; we’re always going to our site to see how it’s doing; change text; add a blog; and even just gaze in wonderment at how amazing we are 🙂 Fortunatelly, Analytics allows you to setup filters of all sorts and even one that will exclude your own visits to the site.
Here is a REALLY quick video on how to setup a filter (Full Screen for Best Resolution):
Viewing Your Bounce Rate and Avg. Visit Duration (Full Screen for Best Resolution):
Let me know if you found this useful! If so, please share it and let the world know how awesome Google Analytics can be 🙂