In today’s Internet age, it is important to know how your audience is arriving to your website, especially when considering how your nonprofit is using its marketing funds. That’s why it is critical to incorporate analytics tools into your overall web strategy.
One of the best analytics tools on the market today is the free and easy-to-use, Google Analytics. While there’s also a paid “premium” version, the basics included in the free version give plenty of valuable insights for organizations on a budget. This system generates detailed statistics and reports on website traffic and traffic sources and also measures conversions and sales.
How can you start using Google Analytics? It begins with creating a dedicated account on their website. Once your account has been set up, you’ll receive a specific code which can be inserted in various pages on your website. If you’re using a content management system (CMS) there is usually a simple way to do this included in the CMS structure.
If you do not know how to add the code, it’s important to contact your web developer so that the code doesn’t interfere with other elements on the site.
Observe and Analyze
The key to utilizing traffic analytics information to its full advantage is constantly monitoring how visitors are using your site. Some nonprofits decide to someone from their marketing or communications staff monitor their Analytics activity on daily basis. If your organization doesn’t have time for this, weekly checks can do the trick.
The real magic happens when you make changes to the site or the marketing strategy (like investing in Google Adwords or other online advertising to bring traffic to your site) and you are able to track the impact of any changes. As traffic increases or decreases you can begin to make more informed decisions on your website strategy and slowly tweak your habits to increase effectiveness.
What’s the best way to put the lessons learned from your analytics reports into action? Adjusting your strategy too quickly can be a mistake, adjustments should be planned incrementally so that the person analyzing their effects can determine what tweaks to the marketing strategy or content on the site are really changing the flow.
Don’t rush into analyzing the effect of your changes right away, you should wait at least to see what the baseline traffic is after the change’s implementation. A general rule of thumb would be 1-2 weeks for small edits to content, and 1-2 months for larger changes in site structure or imagery.
Keep it Active
Your staff and board probably put a lot of time and energy into designing your website, but maintaining the site and keeping an eye on how people interact and use the site is very important. The time invested in tracking site traffic can help a nonprofit keep their site fresh and relevant for longer, and avoid a website redesign in the next couple of years.