Your Insider’s Guide to Google Analytics for Startups


Google Analytics (or simply GA) is perhaps the most trusted source of Key Performance Metrics (KPIs) for business websites. The insightful resource is entirely free, and you can use it on any site, including WordPress and WooCommerce stores.

Whether you’re selling consumer goods, services, or content, GA lets you measure your web visits and collect critical insights into the nature and sources of your traffic. You need this knowledge to evaluate the effectiveness of your various web marketing efforts before making strategic choices to grow your online presence in the most appropriate way for your business.

In this guide to Google Analytics for start-ups, let’s take a look at some of the vital metrics and statistics you need to track:

1. Sources of Your Web Traffic

What online sources are supplying your web traffic? GA answers that question to help determine the channels your online marketing campaign should target more or less aggressively. The primary web traffic sources are:

  • Direct URL sources: These are visitors who already know your web address, which they type directly into their browser’s address bar. The bulk of direct web traffic usually represents repeat customers.
  • Search visitors: This group finds your website through search engines like Google after typing relevant keywords or search phrases.
  • Referral: These visitors find your online business platform after visiting sites or blogs that link to yours.

Also, GA shows traffic stats for social channels and PPC campaigns like AdWords. Compare your marketing budget and efforts with the volume each channel is generating to distinguish between what’s working and what’s not.

Is the number of search visitors representative of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? Is your link building strategy paying off based on the referral stats? GA can help answer these questions to help improve and streamline your online marketing campaigns.

2. Visitor Demographics

When marketing to a specific audience, it helps to know who exactly is coming to your website. With GA, you can tell the demographics of your web visitors, including age, language, and gender.

If you’re targeting younger prospects but stats show elderly consumers to constitute the vast majority of your web visits, perhaps you haven’t got your buyer personas well defined? Do you need to tweak your promotional message or change your advertising/marketing channels to reach out and appeal to the right audience?

While on GA, you can see your visitors’ countries or cities, enabling you to assess the effectiveness of your nationwide, international, or local SEO/email marketing efforts. Similarly, figuring out the language your web visitors speak can help evaluate the need for a multilanguage content marketing strategy.

You want to know the platforms (software and hardware environments) on which people are accessing your website. Well, GA reveals the operating systems, whether desktop or mobile, that your visitors are using.

In case your mobile traffic stats are not impressive, you may need to adopt responsive web design if you haven’t done that already. Mobile friendliness impacts your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking, making it a critical SEO consideration.

3. Unique Visits

Google Analytics tracks the number of new users that come to your website within a specific time frame. The statistic provides a rough idea of traffic growth by monitoring unique visits via different browsers. The only shortcoming with the information is that, if the same person visits your site via two different browsers, for example, Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, GA treats them as two unique users.

Nonetheless, unique users reflect your overall website growth curve. Typically, a spike in this GA metric points to the arrival of new prospects, especially against the backdrop of fresh or recent marketing or advertising campaigns.

4. Bounce Rate

A high bounce rate is a sad website performance statistic. It warrants a more in-depth probe because it means many users are finding your landing page and leaving quickly without doing anything else.

Several web design or content marketing flaws or problems may cause a high web page abandonment rate. A poor keyword strategy is a case in point, whereby your SEO keywords may be popular but not necessarily relevant to what your website offers.

If you operate an E-commerce website, you can minimize bounce rates by ensuring that all products, deals, or promotions you offer in an ongoing campaign are available. Be sure your landing pages load quickly. Also, only link to relevant, strong web traffic sources.

5. Goal Completions

Goal completions have a direct relationship with conversions. They indicate the number of times people visiting your business website perform successfully actions that are relevant to your marketing objectives, for example, purchasing, ordering, downloading, signing up, or booking appointments.

If prospects are spending some time on your web pages without completing the intended goals, there might be a problem with website navigation, or you have a weak, non-compelling call to action. Maybe some potential buyers are not adding a specific product to their shopping carts because the price is not as “competitive” as advertised, or your feature/benefit product descriptions are not clear and persuasive enough?

6. Page Views

Page views are the total number of times both unique and return visitors have accessed a web page. The most popular web pages attract the highest number of views, and partly, that’s because they provide content or solutions that many prospects keep coming back to sample.

Alternatively, aggressively marketed and the well-optimized pages (through link building, SEO, email, social media, or PPC campaigns) get a lot of online exposure, which translates to more views.

7. Average Session Duration

The statistic measures the average length of time a visitor spends on your website in a single browsing session. GA computes the stat by totaling individual visit durations and dividing the result by the total number of sessions.

If the average session duration is high, most of your website visitors are not losing interest in your pages quickly. Perhaps your content is highly captivating, or users are unable to find what they’re looking for right away.

You want your visitors to take their time and enjoy your content if you operate an educational website or creative venture, such as a comic blog, where revenue comes from online ads. However, extended visit durations are not necessarily in your best interests, mainly if you’re selling goods or services online.

In the case of an e-commerce site, consider providing quick promotional reads that address customer pain points directly to help potential buyers make informed purchase decisions within the shortest time possible. Include CTA text that restates your value proposition and shows prospects where to go or what to do to extract the proposed product benefits.

Google Analytics is critical to tracking your business website’s effectiveness and unlocking the potential for online growth. Consider leveraging the free tool to streamline your web marketing efforts, whether you’re trying to establish a new e-store, B2B company, or creative venture.

About The Author

Mike Ciance

Mike Ciance

Mike is the Founder & CEO of Sail On Land. With more than 9 years of experience building websites professionally, he's worked on everything from small websites to enterprise-grade web applications.