You may hear a lot of jargon thrown around about website analytics and wonder if they are 1) worth your time, and 2) tools you can use — without having to go back to school for another advanced degree. The answer to both is yes. Website analytics provide the most effective way of evaluating your online marketing efforts and are easy enough to employ without expert help.
To get started, add Google Analytics — a free web analytics tool offered by Google — to your website code. Once Google Analytics is up and running, you will be able to analyze traffic and answer several critical questions about how your website is working for you:
How do clients find you?
Start by looking at where your traffic originates by clicking Audience, then Geo, and Location. You can drill down to a list of cities by clicking on United States, then your state. Let’s say your practice is located in Fort Lauderdale. Google Analytics will reveal whether your traffic is mostly coming from your target market in Fort Lauderdale and the Miami area. If not, you may want to increase your mentions of “Fort Lauderdale” and “South Florida” on your site pages, blog and social media posts to help search engines connect you with local users.
Google Analytics will also reveal the sources that bring users to your site, such as Facebook, a search engine like Google or a referring website. In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition, then All Traffic. You will see your traffic broken down by main categories (All Traffic > Channels) and specific sources (All Traffic > Source/Medium).
To find out which social media sites are sending you traffic, click on Social under Acquisitions. Keep in mind that quantity does not equal quality when it comes to converting casual browsers to paying clients. So just because you get a lot of traffic from one of your social media profiles doesn’t mean Facebook and Twitter are your most valuable marketing tools. You may discover that most clients found you by Googling you or through an online directory like Lawyers.com or Avvo.com.
You can set up goals to track every time a visitor fills out your contact form, and track those goals under Conversions. Learning more about how visitors are finding your site should inform how much you invest in the marketing strategies that attracted them.
Is your content working hard enough?
Effective search engine optimization (SEO) requires constant tweaking to ensure you are attracting site visitors who are both interested in your content and searching for a lawyer in your area. To find out which keywords drive traffic to your website, click on Acquisition, then Search Console and then Queries to get a listing of keywords that helped visitors find your website. You can then tailor your content to include more keywords and phrases that reflect what visitors are searching for online. An added bonus: Discovering the questions and keywords that users are plugging in to search engines may give you fresh ideas for a new blog or social media post or two.
Which page wins the popularity contest?
Is one of your pages getting the bulk of your traffic while others barely get a click? You can check which of your site pages are getting the most views and how often visitors are staying on a page (the longer the better) by checking Behavior reports. Click on Behavior, then Site Content, All Pages. You will see a summary for page views, average time on page and other metrics for each of your pages. If some of your pages aren’t performing well, consider retooling content with different keywords or link to that page in future blog or social media posts.
Building a website and filling its pages with content is a major accomplishment and a critical part of either starting a new law practice or promoting an existing one. But unlike your phone number and email address, your firm website is not a static tool. Ongoing monitoring of your site’s analytics will allow you to periodically tweak your site’s content to improve the precision of your marketing efforts and avoid wasting precious resources.