Google Analytics is a super-powerful tool that can help churches refine their websites, however most people (me included!) aren’t quite sure how to use it to its full capacity.
For the uninitiated
If you’ve not heard of Google Analytics it’s basicly a free service provided by Google that allows you to track how many people come to your website. In doing that it also manages to capture a whole lot of other information such as, has this person been to your site before, how long they spent on the site, and what pages they looked at etc.
So how can churches better use analytic information?
I’ve got 3 top tips for how your church can better use your analytic information.
1. Using the Visitors Flow tool
The Visitors Flow tool isn’t often used because it looks like a whole bunch of spaghetti all muddled up! But amidst all that detail is information on how people navigate your website which is actually really powerful. Using this tool you could identify
- common navigation paths that people follow; this could confirm that your site design in working or that you might need to redesign some elements to make them more prominent
- stumbling blocks where suddenly lots of visitors drop off; for example this could be really important if online giving isn’t taking off like you expected
- you can also compare the flow path of new visitors compared to returning visitors; this could help identify if newcomers to your church are finding the way to the information they need
For more information on the visitor flow tool check out I recommend checking out this post.
2. Assessing your mobile audience
I wasn’t really fussed about making my church website mobile-friendly until I looked at my Google Analytics. When I checked out my analytics I saw that about 20% of my site visits were on mobile devices I was really suprised, given that I come from a small country town I suspect that many city-based churches would have a much higher proportion. So if a fifth of my visitors are visiting my site on mobile devices then I need to make sure it performs well. A site like www.mobilephoneemulator.com can give you a sneek-peak into how your site performs on mobile devices.
3. Tracking Recency
A major part of a church website is serving church members, so how can you work out if your doing that or not? Well one element that gives you a feel is how frequently people come back to your site; they wouldnt keep coming back if your site was rubbish! So using the Frequency & Recency tool you can see the last time someone came to your site, if its only in the last week or two then obviously people are engaging well with your site, but if they only check out your website once every couple of months it doesnt look like your site is really engaging them. This tool doesn’t tell you what the problem is but it can tell you if an issue exists.
Google Analytics is a very powerful beast and there is loads more that we can all be doing with it but I hope these are a few useful pointers to get you going. For more information on analytics I recommend checking out Avinash Kausik’s blog, he is one of the guru’s on analytics and writes some really great articles on how to best use the information.