In the following article we’re going to explain the benefits of using Google Analytics for photographers. We will cover details on why it’s beneficial for your business, how Google Analytics works, and some of the important data available for your business.
First and foremost, there is no point in having a website, if you don’t understand how it’s actually performing for you. Why spend so much time and money investing into something if you’re not going to nurture it for the better of your business?
What do we mean by this?
We mean that without understanding your site’s performance, you can’t make decisions on what is working for you, what isn’t, and what to improve on your site. Effectively you’re wasting good opportunities to help improve your business for free with the help of Google Analytics. That’s right we said Free. Google Analytics won’t cost you a dime.
What is Google Analytics and why use it?
Google analytics is an amazing tool that can help you understand your users and how to improve their experience on your site.
By using Google Analytics you can track lots of important data about your website performance, and use the data to improve it. This is important for anyone that is serious about optimizing their website’s potential.
For those of you implementing a digital marketing strategy, failing to measure its effectiveness will lead to inefficient marketing.
Google Analytics is also a great tool for learning more about important SEO metrics. With this knowledge you have the chance to improve your site’s ranking so you can get more organic traffic.
Google Analytics will also let you uncover issues with your site. By figuring out what’s wrong with your site, you can improve it to increase conversions for your business. As a photographer, that could be getting you more inquiries, or selling more prints, more presets etc. Either way data is going to be important for your business.
Google Analytics might seem complicated at first, and it can be overwhelming when you don’t know what you’re looking for. However, over 50 million websites around the world use Google Analytics, and it’s time you get set up with this awesome tool as well!
How to set up Google Analytics
There are 8 simple steps to set up Google Analytics, covered in the video above.
- Sign up for a Google Account if you don’t have one. If you do, simply log in.
- Sign up for Google Analytics.
- Go to the top right corner and click “Sign Up for Free”, then click “Sign up.”
- Fill in the following details:
– Your Account Name
– Website Name
– Website URL (make sure to choose the correct option HTTP or HTTPS, it’s important)
– Select an Industry Category and Reporting Time Zone (your reporting will be shown based on this time zone, you can change it later if you move to another location).
- Under Data Sharing Options, check the boxes next to the options that you want.
- Click Get Tracking ID.
- From the Google Analytics Terms of Service Agreement that opens, click “I Accept“.
- Then copy the full analytics code and add it to your site.
Note: You may want to refer to your website providers documentation for full details on how to add your tracking code to your site.
How Does Google Analytics Work
By adding the Google Analytics code to your site, Google can then record your website visitors. It can collect various information related to each individual, that would be useful for your analysis (such as location, age, gender etc). All the information is then sent to your Google Analytics account where you can view and analyze it.
All the information you collect will be known as metrics. You can then filter that information further using what is known as dimensions. A good example would be – If you know that 5000 people visited your site, you could use the dimension City, or Location, to understand where those users are from. Very interesting information, for photographers who work with a local market, or those offering destination services.
You could find out that 2000 people come from Los Angeles, and 60% are female. That will be useful for your marketing efforts. Without dimensions you’ll only be looking at aggregate data that doesn’t offer much for efficient target marketing. The more granular you can filter the information, the more useful it’s going to be for you.
Read more about dimensions and metrics directly from Google here.
10 Reasons to use Google Analytics for Photographers
If you really need a justification to get Google Analytics for your website, check out these 10 reasons as to why you should use Analytics:
1. Its free. That’s right it’s 100% free to use. All this information, right here are your finger tips and you won’t spend a dime. If that’s not enough, keep reading.
2. Understand what channels your users come from, basically how they get to your website. You can easily see what channels are important for your business. Are people coming from organic search, from social media, paid advertising, or by directly typing your site link in their browser.
3. Social Traffic. You can dive deeper into the channels your users are coming from and figure out what social platforms / paid marketing channels are working best for you. This will let you know what you can focus on and what you can improve. For photographers, you may see good traffic from Facebook or Instagram. You should consider some advertising via these channels to improve and increase the influx of visitors. You could dive even further and figure out what content is specifically performing well via those social channels, and again improve / promote it further.
4. Geographic Location. Understand where your users are based, by using the acquisition data. You can easily see exactly what geographic location your site visitors are coming from. Again, this is really helpful when you want to focus your marketing efforts on a specific city/region/country. Maybe you thought your users were coming from New York, but you find out they are actually coming from Michigan for example. This may mean that your on site keywords need to be adjusted. This data is also important when you want to target specific locations (city, state, country, etc.) and get more visitors from there.
5. Understand your top performing content. You can see what pages / posts / website content is driving the most traffic for your site. This is super useful, as you can then optimize that content further, and replicate its success with content that offers similar insights for your users. It will also allow you to see what content is poorly performing, and make the decision of improving it, or removing it. Two important metrics to look at are: bounce rate and average time on page. Ideally, your bounce rate should be low and average time on site should be high.
6. To know if you are achieving goals. With Google Analytics you can set up a number of goals to understand if users are achieving what you want on your site. For eCommerce sites that could be to purchase a product, for bloggers it would be signing up to a newsletter, or clicking your affiliate links, and for photographers it would be contacting you – creating a lead for your business. Using goals with Google Analytics is super important for your site. You can track over time if you are improving your goal success rate or not, and find out more information about any potential weaknesses that are preventing users from completing goals on your site.
7. Track what people do on your site. Using behavior flows you can see what users are doing on your site, step by step – which page do they access your site on, and which one do they leave. This will allow you to find weaknesses in your content and user flows on your site. Plug the holes in your site’s user flow to improve those super important goal conversions.
8. Find out pages with high bounce rates. A bounce is basically when someone comes to your site, views one page and then leaves. Knowing which pages are causing high bounce rates can be important for you. If the page wasn’t designed to have a high bounce rate (landing pages are often created to do this, as they strictly have the details and offer, no other purpose), then you’ll want to find out why. Google Analytics will offer some good insights into what pages have high bounce rates. You can then analyze them and aim to improve the content. Common issues would be not providing enough value to users, slow loading pages, titles and meta descriptions don’t match the content and users don’t find the information they need, and poor user flow with few or no call to actions. Meaning – you are getting the users to the page, but not enticing them to browse your site further.
9. Understand your audience and who to target for marketing. You can see more than just what geographical location your users are coming from. You can find what age, gender, device, and what interests your users have. Are you getting more male or females, what age bracket are they in, are they browsing on mobile or desktop devices? All of this information is gold. Create specific marketing campaigns knowing more about your users, optimize your website knowing what devices your users are using.
10. Custom reporting. Sure Google Analytics gives you a lot of great pre-built reports to view. However custom reporting is a super powerful tool to let you get more granular information about your site traffic. You can choose the dimensions and metrics you’d like to understand more about, and then create a custom report or dashboard to easily view that information at a glance. Moreover, you can import custom reports created by others from Google Analytics Solution Gallery.
So there you have it folks, 10 reasons why it’s important to use Google Analytics for your website, and for your businesses success. With the photography industry being super competitive, you should use the tools you have available to best understand your website and online audience, how to market to it. This will help your business succeed in the long run. Having this data available will also let you understand if your marketing efforts are working and are efficient, as well as were to focus and invest more. So, what are you waiting for get started with Google Analytics?