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A Small-Business Guide to Google Analytics

A Small-Business Guide to Google Analytics

If you’re reading this I’m going to assume you already know about google analytics and about how analytics and data measuring tools are incredibly important and useful, as they help you understand your customers and their journey through your website. This information could aid you in increasing traffic to your website as well as improving your customers’ experience through your site.

There are currently 2 types of google analytics accounts – universal analytics and Google Analytics 4 data. Today we’re going to be dealing with universal analytics. You can set up your universal analytics account using the link here. If you’re using a partner integration such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or Wix, they have apps/plugins that will automatically set up a universal analytics account for you.

Post setting up the account, you might have to wait 24-48 hours, and if set up properly you should see the home page dashboard populate, which displays a substantial amount of information about how your site is doing. After you’ve played around and explored the dashboard a bit, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty and set it up so that you can collect information that will help you understand our customers as well as their journey through your website.

Today, we’ll be focusing on: - Finding out technical opportunities to help improve your website for your customers. - Identify where your customers are coming from - what are they searching for on your website - Set up goals to find out where people abandon you in the order process. - Learn what pathway customers take through your website And how you can use these opportunities to improve your conversion rate. Let’s jump straight through it!

I. Mapping out technical opportunities to help improve your website for your customers

In today’s day and age, information, products, and services available at just a click/tap have made most of us impatient. When we search for something online, and the site takes too long to load, we leave and choose the next option. If the website we’re looking at is a little hard to navigate, we leave and find an easier one. If one website is not a pleasant experience on mobile, then we don’t switch to desktop, instead, we just find a site that is pleasant to browse through mobile. Using google analytics, we’re going to collect data to help identify any technical weaknesses on your platform that could be causing people to leave.

Site’s speed: To set up follow:

To access navigate to Behaviour > Site Speed > Page timings

Behaviour > Site Speed > Page timings

This is a screenshot of a google analytics account of a client of mine. The data we’re looking at is from January to May 2021 since it’s a low-traffic website. However, I’m not in charge of optimizing their website, I only run their google ads. As small businesses, we should work on larger time periods between 3-6 months - provided no major change has taken place on the website within that period. In this case, there hasn’t been any change in a long time. Additionally, you'll have to avoid any page/device, etc that has received less than 100 visitors to ensure you don't go astray. A healthy load time for any website or page should be around 1-2second load time. However, in our case, the average load time seems to be 4.07 seconds which can be improved on. The major errors that need immediate attention would be the checkout – contact information page followed by the product page that takes 14 seconds to load (absurd!) and then the collection page that takes 6 seconds to load. Why in this order? Because we'd prioritize the checkout process over 1 product page, as most people are likely to encounter the checkout page than the said product page.

Performance across devices:

To access navigate to audience > mobile > overview. The time period in the screenshot: January to May 2021.

To access navigate to audience > mobile > overview

What immediately catches my attention is that although there are about double the users from mobile than desktop, the conversion rate for mobile is less than half of that of the desktop. That’s a serious problem. My client could have made at least 50% more revenue until the date provided their website was optimized for mobile. Considering they’re using a Shopify store, this is highly alarming and unlikely – maybe a change of their store theme is required.

Additionally, if you have the budget to optimize for each device, then you can navigate to the Device tab to view your performance across devices. And if you navigate to audience > technology > browsers & OS, you can then find opportunities to improve the experience on specific browser–device combinations. II. Identify where your customers are coming from

Navigate to Acquisition > All traffic > Source/medium It’s important to know where and how people are finding you. If you’re putting a considerable number of resources into your social media marketing, then google analytics can help you identify your most successful social media channel for referrals. You can later use this information to either redistribute recourses or improve your campaigns on each social media channel. If you’re familiar with UTMs, adding them here would help you track various campaigns' performance and their results. You can find an article on UTM Tracking here.

III. What are they searching for on your website

To set up follow: To find on google analytics, navigate to behavior> site search > search terms Using site search can inform you of what terms people are using to find a product or service. You can then work to improve the search referrals on your site to help people find what they’re looking for faster. If one product/service tends to draw a lot of attention, you can even consider adding it or highlighting it on the home page. The easier it is for people to find what they want, the easier it is for them to decide on their purchase decision. IV. Set up goals to find out where people abandon you in the order process

To set up follow: To find on google analytics, navigate to conversions > goals > funnel visualization Knowing which step in the order process causes a maximum drop-off could help save you a lot of money. Although not set up on their google analytics, the client had another funnel visualization platform synced to their store. I noticed almost 90% drop off at the contact information page in the checkout process. Quite alarming, but the issue was waved off as “maybe they second-guessed the order”.

On inspection and watching a couple of session recordings (using Hotjar) I realized the “company name” field was mandatory and not optional. Individuals would add products to the cart, have no idea what company name to fill in, and abandon the process. A simple problem to fix that possibly cost them a lot of money.

In other use cases, if there is a drop-off at your shipping sections, it's most likely that your shipping cost is too high. A drop-off at payment information could be either a problem with the payment gateway or no proper messaging on whether your site can be trusted or not. These are just examples, the reasons could be endless, but you can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken.

V. Learn what pathway customers take through your website

To find on google analytics, navigate to conversions > goals > goal flow The difference between goal follow and funnel visualization is that funnel visualization fills in the blanks if a customer bypasses a step in the goal completion process as well as it doesn’t track whether the customer took any back steps and much more that you can read here. Whereas goal flow lets us know which step of the funnel did they enter in and bypass, it also informs us if they backtracked. For example, if the customer proceeds still shipping, but then went back to the cart and then re-entered the checkout process and then left without completing it, the drop out would be considered on the last stage with no information that the customer went back to cart. Of course, if one customer did it, no big deal, but if the majority of your abandoned carts have similar trends, then you would have to investigate. Unfortunately, I do not have a case study for this step yet, but when I do, I shall deficiently add it in. The above information is what I learned during week 3 at, I’m currently making my way through the conversion research course by Peep Laja.

About Peep Laja

According to, he was voted as the #1 most influential conversion rate optimization expert in the world. He is currently devoted to growing the size and quality of the whole conversion optimization community. And as the founder and Principal of CXL, he’s doing just that. As an instructor, he might seem a little intimidating (or maybe I’m easily intimidated) by his no BS approach. It's important to note that he takes out time to reply to questions from past and present students of CXL on their Facebook group, which I find quite heartening. – Why? Because the instructors from the Udemy courses that I’ve signed up for to date don’t interact with their Facebook group students unless it’s a notice or to promote their new course. Take away The course so far is mostly for large traffic websites, and I’m currently finding it hard to test/try out everything as most of my clients are small-medium-sized businesses. Nonetheless, the information is still valuable. As a small business, you can not afford to lose customers over issues that can easily be fixed, and you'd only be able to pick up on these issues with the help of proper data tracking on your site.

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