Google Analytics – Is Your Martial Arts Site Measuring Up?

I’m a big fan of Google and think their website statistics program called Google Analytics is the best web stats package I have ever used. Period. I like even better than Omniture; which is a very expensive enterprise level statistical software package used by many fortune 500 companies.

What’s even better, Google Analytics is FREE.

We’ve all heard the saying “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Well, with Google Analytics, you can measure every meaningful web stat you can think of and start taking control of your website statistics.

I’m surprised at how many martial arts school owners I talk with don’t know the very basic statistics of their website. When asked how many uniques they get a day, I mostly get a blank stare.

I am in the online marketing business so it makes sense that I would pay more attention to this. I login at least once a day, sometimes more, to see what’s happening on my sites. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about this as it can give you much greater insight into your martial arts schools website.

Ever since Google Analytics came out, I have been using it to help measure what’s going on at my websites. I find it an invaluable tool that helps me to diagnose problems on my site as well as see what is doing well.

It helps me to understand where geographically people are coming from, what information is of interest (and what isn’t), what search engine or website referred them to my site, where they enter my site, where they leave it, and more.

What Google says about Analytics:

Google Analytics has been re-designed to help you learn even more about where your visitors come from and how they interact with your site. The new Google Analytics makes it easy to improve your results online. Write better ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives, and create higher-converting websites. Google Analytics is free to all advertisers, publishers, and site owners.

Google Analytics is simple and easy to add to your site!

  1. Sign up for a free Google Analytics account
  2. Cut and paste the javascript tracking code to every page of your website
  3. Wait for stats to start coming in (Usually takes at least 24 hours or so)
  4. Login and start measuring the performance of your site!

So, what should you be tracking on your site? Here are some basic things that Google automatically tracks:

  1. Daily count of unique visitors – Tells you how many people per day are coming to your site. Depending on your area, you could be receiving 30-150 visits a day.
  2. Pages visited – Find out which pages are popular and which aren’t. For example if your free trial program page isn’t getting much traffic compared to another less important page, it will at least alert you so you can find ways to make it more important on your site to drive more traffic to it.
  3. Page views – Total number of pages viewed by all visitors.
  4. Entry pages – What pages are people entering your site? You might be surprised to learn it’s not always your home page. Considering every page on your site is a possible entry point, you may want to take a closer look at which pages are getting the most traffic to make sure they are representing your business well.
  5. Keywords – Find out what keywords people are using to find your site. You will probably be surprised what people are typing in to find your site! Is it generic martial arts terms or city and state specific related? You won’t know until you set this up.
  6. Traffic sources – Find out what sites and search engines are sending your traffic (and which aren’t). If you discover the MSN search engine isn’t sending you any traffic, you can submit your link to be included to help spur things along.
  7. Bounce rate – Are people landing on your site and immediately jumping off the page? If it’s your free trial sign up page, this could be a bad thing. At least you know and can work to improve your results.
  8. Exit rate – Are people landing on a page then exiting the site completely? Hopefully not.
  9. Average time on site – Typically, the more time people are on your site, the more relevant and engaging it is and therefore more likely to convert the prospect.
  10. Geography – Where is your traffic coming from? Switzerland? If it’s not in your immediate local area, you need to do a better job of local search engine optimization.
  11. New users vs. returning visitors – This stat tells you how many new people visited your site compared to people who have been there before and come back. If you have a lot of people coming for the first time and leaving never to return, you should consider updating your content more frequently. Perhaps even start a WordPress blog so that you always have new content on your site.
  12. Average pages per visit – Average page views per visit is a great indicator of how compelling and easily navigated your content is. The more pages viewed on average, the more compelling your site likely is.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what Google Analytics can track but will give you a good start. It tracks everything over time so you can slice and dice the information any which way you want to view it from hours, to days, to months to years (once you accumulate that information).

NOTE: Google analytics will only track from the day you start forward. It can’t go back in time to tell you anything.

I find it to be very intuitive and easy to understand. Their dashboard is also very easy to customize making your key stats that much easier to track and manage right when you login.

Google Analytics can’t tell you everything about WHY things are happening on your site, it only tells you WHAT is happening. However, this can be very useful in diagnosing say low converting sites (for example visitors to free trial sign up ratios) and can give you some preliminary ideas on where you should start making changes to get better conversions.

Features of Google Analytics

Out of the box, Google Analytics comes with some great features.

One feature is the tracking of goals. Once you enable this, Google Analytics will also help you monitor and measure what pages lead to the greatest conversions on your site.

They also have another great feature where you can track your internal site search to see what terms people are typing once on your site (if you have a search box on your site). Then you can work at making those pages easier to find on your site.

If that’s not enough, you can even have any report listed above emailed to you on a certain day every week if you’d like to remind you to look at things each week. How’s that for convenience?!

So, there you have it – a quick look at Google Analytics. Hopefully you can start to see the benefit it can add to your martial arts schools website. I find it all very addicting and love having this information at my finger tips. Using this information has literally put thousands of dollars more into my studio that I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Who else uses Google Analytics and what do you like about it? Share your insights and opinions in the form of a comment below!

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