It used to be that if you had a unique product or service to sell, all you had to do was set up a website with decent content and you could be reasonably sure that traffic (and business) would flow your way. However, with billions of sites online today, the competition is intense. If you want to compete, you have to do everything you can to ensure that your site is performing up to its potential. One of the best ways to do that is to use Google Analytics to evaluate and refine your website.

With that in mind, here are some specific things you can do to improve your site’s performance and grow your business.

 

#1: Compare new and returning customers

The audience section of Google Analytics is a gold mine of information. One of the best things you can do to boost the performance of your website is to compare the conversion rates of new and returning visitors to your site. Research suggests that most customers require multiple exposures to a brand or product before they will make a purchase. If you notice that most of your conversions are coming from repeat visitors to your site, then you can use that information to find ways to bring first-time visitors back. For example, you might create a newsletter or mailing list and ask them to subscribe. By including links to your site in your emails, you can entice them to return – and make a purchase.

 

#2: Reduce your bounce rates

Do you know which pages your visitors are seeing first? Google Analytics can help you identify those landing points – and also allow you to pinpoint whether those pages are keeping visitors to your site engaged, or causing them to bounce away quickly. In some instances, a high bounce rate may not indicate trouble. For example, if you have a review page that’s packed with affiliate links, you want your visitors to bounce by clicking one of those links. However, if you notice that the majority of your traffic is landing on your home page and then bouncing, it’s a good sign that your landing page could benefit from a redesign.

 

#3: Fine-tune your marketing campaigns

You have probably heard it said that 80% of your sales come from only 20% of your marketing efforts. That’s an economic aphorism called the Pareto Principle. Some marketers spend little time looking at the specific demographics of their site’s visitors. They look at the overall traffic and as long as it satisfies them, they don’t dig any deeper. However, if you take the time to look at the defining characteristics of your visitors, you can pick up valuable information that will help you fine-tune your campaigns, especially on social media.

Let’s say that you notice that the majority of your conversions are coming from people who are between the ages of 18 and 24. You can combine your demographic data with some of the other information that Google provides, such as affinities and interests, and use it to target a Facebook marketing campaign that will appear only to the people who are most likely to want your product or service. If you’ve been paying for a Facebook campaign that targets everybody under the age of 60, you’ve been wasting money reaching out to people who aren’t interested in your product. When you target your ad, you can be sure that you are putting your marketing budget toward that all-important 20%.

 

#4: Improve your browser compatibility

Visitors to your website have many choices when it comes to which web browser they use. If you don’t know which browsers your customers are using, you may be missing out if your site isn’t compatible with the most popular choices.

When you look at Google Analytics, you can see which browsers your visitors are using to access your site. If you notice that 15% of the visitors to your site are using Firefox, and your site isn’t compatible with Firefox, then you know you’ve been missing out on potential business as a result. Very few people are going to be willing to close out of one browser and open another simply to view your site. You need to make it easy for them.

Check out the browsers being used, and then do what you need to do to ensure that your customers can view your site from whichever browser they choose.

 

#5: Reach out to mobile customers

The days when you could afford to ignore mobile customers are long gone. 2015 marked the first year that mobile searches outstripped computer searches, and that trend is likely to continue. However, even if you have a mobile-responsive site, you can still benefit from looking at your mobile analytics.

The Mobile Overview on Google Analytics lets you look at the kinds of mobile devices that people are using to access your website. If you’ve been thinking about creating an app for your site, this data can help you decide whether the app should be designed for Apple or iOS users – or both.

 

#6: Analyze your keywords and improve your SEO

When was the last time you checked out your web ranking by keyword? Even if you have carefully optimized each page of your site for your chosen keywords, you might be able to improve your Google rank with an SEO update. You can use Google Analytics to evaluate your page rank by keyword. For example, say that you notice that you are ranking on the second page of Google for a keyword that is attracting a lot of traffic to your site. You can examine the landing page for that keyword and find ways to improve your rank. By checking meta tags, alt tags, and image tags – and updating and optimizing the content – you might be able to move yourself up to page one and attract even more traffic.

 

Google Analytics contains a wealth of information for people who know how to use it. Instead of giving a quick glance at your overall numbers, take the time to dig into the data. You might be able to use it to take your website to a new level of performance.