If you haven’t yet started using Google Analytics for your own website, here’s a tutorial to get you started. It’s simple to set up and it’s free to use. But once the data starts rolling in, you need to understand what it means. That’s why I invited Kelly Higdon to join us today to explain some of these mystery terms that therapists need to know to make good use of Google Analytics. Please join me in making her feel welcome here!
A Guest Post by Kelly Higdon, LMFT
The goal of any website is to build trust. When people find your site, you want them to explore, read, click and eventually call you. So how do you know if your website is meeting this goal?
Google analytics is a powerful tool that once installed, gives you tons of rich data at your fingertips. This data helps you decide how to improve your website and foster more trust with your visitors.
While there are many data sets you can find through your analytics, I find it best to start with the basics. Once you are in the habit of checking your analytics weekly and you have a sense of what changes impact outcomes on your website, then you can decide if there are other factors you want to explore.
Let’s take a look at some of the basic information and what you can do to improve your website and how it works for your private practice growth.
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT BOUNCE RATE?
The basic definition of bounce rate according to Google is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. Your bounce rate can be high should you have a single page website, however, rarely are therapists’ websites a single page so let’s explore other explanation to bounce rate.
The search engines, like Google, pride themselves in giving accurate results to searches. A bounce rate can inform Google that what they gave as results to a search may be inaccurate. For example, I am searching for an oil change and a car dealer shows up. I click on the dealer website and realize that it wasn’t the page I was looking for so I click back to search some more. That bounce tells Google that the dealer they suggested may not be the best result for the search term oil change.
When people don’t find what they are looking for with ease, they leave a website. Your website should invite them to stay and spend some time with you. According to Rocket Fuel, a bounce rate in the range of 26 to 40 percent is excellent, 41 to 55 percent is roughly average and 56 to 70 percent is higher than average. So take a look at your current bounce rate and see where your website falls in these categories. From there you can work to decrease the bounce rate.
To decrease the bounce rate, the design of your site needs to be modern, simple and clear. Some sites are not mobile friendly or look like a website from the 1990’s.
If the information isn’t easy to read or appealing to the eye, you can quickly lose the interest of people on your website. In 5 seconds of landing on your website is it clear who you are, what you do and who you help?
Lastly, are you clear about what you want the person to do next? Some of us think a single call to action – call me at 555-xxxx – is enough. But that isn’t how relationships work. Invite them to get to know your specialty or a unique skill you use. Make it clear where you want readers to go to next on your website.
Also, when setting up your site, make sure your website is clear about your category of business for SEO purposes so that you are ranked for the proper keywords that your ideal clients use to find you.
REFERRALS TO YOUR WEBSITE
Google analytics will show you who referred to your website and is a strong indicator of how people are finding you. Often we put efforts into social media or other online marketing only to wonder if it was worth it. By paying attention to your referral sources you will know where to focus your energy.
If you have a Twitter post that drives visitors to a blog post on your site and you promote it for a week, take note if your referrals from Twitter increase. We notice this a lot at ZynnyMe. We have an emphasis in something that spikes traffic from Facebook or Twitter and that informs us about where to focus our social media presence and what to share on our social media. You will also start to see if people are finding you organically, meaning they search in Google and find you based on keywords.
Based on your top referrals, you can curate content for them and continue to test what information drives more people to your website. Once people are on your website, you will know if they are sticking around based on your bounce rate. This is where you start to see the interdependency of your analytics. Regardless of where you choose to send people once they get to your website, be sure to have a clear call to action and give them opportunities to dig into your site more deeply.
MORE PAGE VIEWS, PLEASE
This informs you how times people have viewed a single page on your site. This, of course, is something you want to see increasing as you market your practice. Being found online is simply not enough. You want to be viewed more and more.
To increase your number of page views it helps to keep your website updated with fresh, new, regular content. It’s also important to make it easy for people to share your content by installing a share bar. This will increase your page views.
Having guest blog posts or interviews of others on your site will also increase page views because those people will be promoting their content on your website.
Also, don’t forget to give your visitors opportunities to click further into your site by having additional links on the page. The more page views, the more your visitor is engaging on your website and building trust with you.
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT ENGAGEMENT?
This is how long a person is staying on your website. Of course the longer they hang out means the more interested they are in what you are offering. If you see your page views increase and your engagement increase, this means people not only are looking at more pages but they are spending more time looking at the page.
One of the ways to improve engagement is to make it easy for your visitors to know where to go for more information. Don’t give them 50 options and links to click on. More options mean more room for indecision. Make it simple. You may want to have two linked images on a page – one for your couples therapy page and one for your work with children. Then the visitor can choose where s/he wants to go next. Keep the text on your pages simple and broken up with headers. This will naturally draw the eye to what is important. The more engagement you have, the more relevant your website is to your reader.
THE EASY WAY
You can simply log into your analytics dashboard to get this information, however I recommend using visual.ly to get a weekly visual report of your analytics. It makes analytics easy to digest and interpret. I also recommend using sumome’s free heat maps so you can have another visual representation of where people click on your website.
Analytics is why I love online marketing for private practices. You no longer have to keep doing something in your marketing because you “should”, rather you do what you know works and you have hard data as evidence of it working.
About the Author: Kelly Higdon, LMFT is co-owner of ZynnyMe in Laguna Hills, California where she helps therapists build full practices and happy lives. Check out her mini-boot camp course full of articles and trainings to keep you inspired in building a private practice.