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Establish Mission Control – How to Get Data From Your Website Visitors

The following is an excerpt from our eBook, How to Launch an eCommerce Business Without Losing Your Mind.

While the book looks at most of its content through the lense of an eCommerce business, much of the content could apply to any business, especially what we are republishing here on our blog.

Twenty years ago, if you would’ve told me that one day I would be able to track every visitor that went to my site, what pages they went to, how much time they spent on those pages, and what they did there, I would’ve said you’re full of shit.

But that software exists, and it’s as free as a gospel tract. It’s called Google Analytics. It’s one of the most powerful pieces of software on the planet, and it’s literally free. There are like 6,000 Youtube videos on how to use Google Analytics, so I don’t have much to add to that conversation.

The important thing is that you get Google
Analytics set up on your site from day one, even if you don’t know how to interpret the data yet, or what the hell it even is. Just put it on there.

Let’s journey back for a moment to a simpler time… a time long before Google Analytics, or HTML, or website optimization. A time when the scrappy young entrepreneur would save his meager earnings to one day be able to hang his name above the doorway of his very own store, a store he would go on to fill with shoes or soaps or Russian nesting dolls.

This optimistic young business owner didn’t know whether he would succeed or fail, but that didn’t matter. He chose to do it anyway, maybe out of arrogance or idealism or just wanting something more in life. Day after day, customers or none, this scrappy young entrepreneur swept and dusted and tinkered with the products in his store, all in hopes of making it just a little bit better.

We published a companion video going over the basics on how to install Google Analytics and HotJar in this other post.
And when he heard that bell above the door ring, he stood at attention, watching discreetly as the customer moved about the room, picking up this and that, before finally making her purchase. Hooray!

The store owner who watches how their customers walk around? That’s Google Analytics. It’s your digital eye, your way of knowing what customers are responding to and who the hell is walking into your store anyway.

Don’t worry, we’ll cover some basics how to read the data in the next post too.
In 30 days or 60 days, all that rich juicy data will help you determine how your site is performing, what’s working and what’s not. This lets you see what your customer has been up to so you can start making more concrete decisions about scaling and marketing your brand.

I’ve personally spent hours staring at Google Analytics without coming up for air, obsessing on some trivial piece of data, like why people in Maine have a higher bounce rate than people in North Carolina. If you’ve toyed around with GA, you know how freakishly granular it gets.

My advice is don’t get sucked down the numerical rabbit hole. Always go into Google Analytics with a specific question, and once you have an answer, get the hell out of there, at least until you have a little more experience. here will be a time and a place in your journey for getting scientific about GA, but that’s still a ways off. For now, just focus on the basics.

If it helps, we’ve found that for starters the three most helpful pieces of data on Google Analytics are sessions (page views), bounce rate (how many people leave your site right away), and average session duration (average time on site). Looking at these three metrics is a good place to start.
Another tool that we highly suggest installing on your site from day one is Hotjar, which is a heat mapping software that gives you super cool visual insight into exactly what people are doing: where they click, how far down the page they scroll, etc.

Hotjar is free for the first three pages, which is all you really need. We suggest setting it up on your home page and your product page. Together, Hotjar and Google Analytics will ensure that you are always collecting data on how your website is performing so that soon you can start to optimize and grow.

This has been an excerpt from our eBook:

How to Launch an eCommerce Business Without Losing Your Mind

Learn the steps to grow your business so you stay on the right path and have the best chance to succeed in your mission.

Fill out the form below to download the eBook for free.

Hi, I’m Deebly CEO Chris Franks, I wrote the eBook!

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