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How to Improve Your Genealogy Business with Google Analytics

I’m sure you’ve heard of Google Analytics. You might even have set up your account and clicked in from time to time. At first glance, it can be a little overwhelming.  But Google Analytics can help you to improve your genealogy business if you take the time to learn what it has to offer.
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What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free service. It is offered through Google, and it lets you monitor visitor movement on your blog or website. You’ll have the ability to see where website traffic is coming from, how many visitors come to your site, when and where they are leaving, and through which search engines and keywords they found your website.

Today, I’ve chosen a handful of reports on Google Analytics that can help get you started in understanding the basic comings and goings on your website. Beginning with these fundamentals, you can gain new knowledge of your site and improve your genealogy business.

1.Where is Your Audience Located? 

Using the map overlay feature in the country view is rather useless and doesn’t provide much information about your visitors. It can help you to know where to focus your ads on Facebook if you don’t already know the location of your audience. However, if you drill down to the city level, might be even more useful. What major cities is your traffic coming from? Once you have an idea of where most of your audience is located, you can then modify your business to those audiences, like promoting speaking engagements to the genealogical societies located in those areas.

2.Do you have window shoppers or returning customers
If you have a genealogy product or service that your customers purchase once and done then your goal may be to bring in new visitors to your website. If you want repeat business from your current customer base, then your goal may be to increase your returning visitor count or perhaps you need a balance of both. Your unique vs returning customers tell how you many of your visitors are new and how many are returning. If you have a large number of new customers, you may need to focus your efforts on getting them to return. If you have a large number of returning customers and a low new customer percentage, then your efforts are best focused on obtaining new customers.  

3.How long are visitors spending on your website?

To increase the sales of your genealogy services and products usually means more traffic and keeping your traffic on your website. Therefore, you need to look at how long visitors are staying on your site. If visitors aren’t hanging around long, it becomes difficult for them to get to know you and your products. The bounce rate measures how long visitors are spending on your website. With Google Analytics you can see the average time a visitor spends on your site and the average page views per visitor. The goal is to offer compelling content that keeps your visitors engaged and spending time on your website. If your bounce rate is high then maybe you need to include better content, add links in your posts to other relevant information or a sidebar widget to promote a blog post series to name a few options.

4.Are you compatible with your visitor’s browsers?

Not all visitors have the same level of computer knowledge, and I believe in the genealogy industry we have clients with a wide range of computer skills.
Google Analytics allows you to see which browsers your customers are using. Armed with that information you want to be sure your website is compatible with those browsers.  If 50% of your visitors are using Edge but your site isn’t compatible with Edge, you might be losing business. Your visitors may have a favourite browser and may not be getting the website experience. When you identify which web browsers your customers are using, you can then determine if your website is compatible with those browsers providing a better user experience.

5.What size of screen are your visitors using?

The screen resolution section in Google Analytics allows you to see what resolution your customers are using.  How can this help your genealogy business? Once again it is an opportunity to improve your visitor's experience. If most of your customers are using monitors with high resolutions, consider increasing the width of your website, which increases the real estate you have available. If your visitors have lower resolutions, you want to make sure the width of your site doesn’t exceed the width used by your users. If it doesn't, they may not be able to see all the information on your website. Again, in the genealogy industry, we are dealing with an ageing population that may not have the best computer skills. It’s important to know how your visitors are viewing your site and if it is delivering the best possible experience.

6.How are people finding you? 
Referral traffic is Google’s method of reporting visits that came to your site from sources other than Google’s search engine. When someone clicks on a hyperlink to a page on a different website, Google Analytics tracks the click as a referral to your site. Google Analytics also monitors search engine traffic and direct traffic.
Google looks at the source of the traffic and reports statistics about user behaviour. Referral traffic also can take the form of tracking codes placed on other websites, including banner ads such as AdWords, to include a referral code linked to a specific marketing campaign.

It’s important to know how people are finding you so that you can encourage more of that referral traffic to your website.

7.How to identify new genealogy  products, services and content
When you figure out what your visitors like and dislike about your genealogy content you can begin to offer them new things that you think will interest them. If visitors like one item, you can provide other products, services or even content that could compliment that item. Google Analytics makes it simple to find what your visitors find most valuable on your website. It will tell you what pages and products are most popular. Do more of that. It can help you to find your niche within the genealogy industry.

8.Why do people leave your website?
There are no perfect sites. They are all a work in progress that you continually need to be upgrading and tweaking. Often there may be small things or big things that promote visitors leaving your website rather than staying.

 If people tend to frequently exit from a particular page, consider modifying it. Review your calls to action or add links to other places on your website. What works and what doesn’t work is a matter of trial and error.  You won’t get it all right immediately, but pay attention to your visitor's actions, and it will help you to know what needs tweaking.

Take some time to get to know how Google Analytics can help you improve your genealogy business.  Tweak, tweak, tweak.  I try to set aside some time once a month to review Google Analytics, what’s working and what’s not and then make a list of some tweaks, changes and adjustments I want to make. Rinse and repeat on a monthly basis.