The beginner's guide to Google Analytics for accountants

Google Analytics explained

Absolute beginners – get back to basics with our new guide to Google Analytics for accountants

PracticeWeb has launched a new series of short, easy-to-understand guides covering the basics of digital marketing, one aspect at a time, because we’ve been listening to the accountants we work with.

If you’re not sure what Google Analytics is, haven’t installed it on your website, or have installed it but have never looked at your data, then this guide is for you.

In our beginner’s guide to Google Analytics we look at:
  • What is Google Analytics?
  • How does Google Analytics work?
  • How do I set up Google Analytics?
  • How do I make sense of the metrics?
  • Key takeaways
  • How do I audit my website’s performance?

We hope this guide will help you to better understand the underlying principles of Google Analytics, allowing you as you become more familiar with it, to be able to analyse the data it provides to assess return on investment.

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Sample: The beginner’s guide to Google Analytics for accountants

Introduction

As an accountant, you’ll already know the value of data – and of turning it into actionable insights that inform an organisation’s strategic and tactical business decisions.

You’ll be working with various business intelligence tools, presenting analytical findings in reports, summaries, dashboards, graphs and charts to clients, providing intelligence about their business finances.

Google Analytics does something similar only in this instance it’s about assessing how well your marketing activity is performing in driving traffic to your website, what your visitors do once they land on your site and, most importantly, whether your website is converting traffic into enquiries and leads.

In this guide we’re going to explore Google Analytics from the absolute beginner’s point of view. We’ll explain why you need it, how to get it and how to start using it without getting overwhelmed by its features.

As you become more familiar with Google Analytics, you’ll be able to analyse the data it provides to assess return on investment.

It’s vital to be able to see which marketing activities are working, what needs changing and how marketing is driving commercial value for your firm.

If you’re not sure what Google Analytics is, haven’t installed it on your website, or have installed it but have never looked at your data, then this guide is for you.

Mike Crook

Managing Director, PracticeWeb

First things first: what is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free tool offered by Google that allows website owners to track visitor information.

How many visitors has your website had in the past week, month, or quarter? How long did they stay on your website? How did they find your website? And so on.

Answering those kinds of questions is how you measure the success of your website and marketing activity.

However, the sheer amount of information available in Google Analytics can make it hard to know where to start – let alone how to get real value out of it.

The trick is to start by asking the most important questions first, aiming to better understand your accounting firm’s audience, and by doing that, to give you marketing strategy an immediate boost and course correction.

The best way to approach Google Analytics is to first work out what you want to know and then interrogate the data.

Here are a few of the key questions Google Analytics can help to answer:

  • How many visitors am I getting to my website?
  • Where is my website traffic coming from?
  • What marketing tactics drive the most traffic to my website?
  • Which pages on my website are the most popular?
  • How many visitors have I converted into enquiries?
  • What pages are converting traffic to enquiries?
  • Where did my converting visitors come from and where on the website did they go?
  • What blog content do my visitors like the most?
  • Which parts of the country do my website visitors live in? What is the demographic breakdown of my visitors?

How does Google Analytics work?

To work, Google Analytics needs a small piece of code provided by Google to be added to your website.

You’ll need to embed this code on every page on which you want to track visitor behaviour.

The tracking code is a snippet of a programming language called Javascript but don’t worry – you don’t need to know anything about computer coding to use Google Analytics. We’ll explain how easy it is to get and install the tracking code in the next section.

Once you’ve installed the tracking code on your website, it will start to pull through traffic information into Google Analytics.

Step 1:

This is the marketing activity you’re doing on different channels, such as social media, search engine optimisation (SEO) and email marketing.

While Google Analytics can’t track what happens beyond your website, it does track where the traffic has come from.

Step 2:

Once the traffic lands on your website the code tracks how visitors from those channels interact with, use and move through your website. It also builds up a picture of things like their age, gender and location.

Step 3:

The data is stored on Google’s servers for 26 months by default. You can change the data retention period to 14, 26, 38 or 50 months, or set it as ‘Don’t automatically expire’. Unless you think you need to go back further, we recommend leaving this as default. You’ll typically find yourself running year-to-year comparisons to spot trends and track progress and 26 months is fine for that.

Step 4:

The Google Analytics interface is where all the data collected from your website is presented. It has a folder structure which organises the data logically.

What’s inside our beginner’s guide?

  • What is Google Analytics?
  • How does Google Analytics work?
  • How do I set up Google Analytics?
  • How do I make sense of the metrics?
  • Key takeaways
  • How do I audit my website’s performance?

How do I audit my website’s performance?

You’ll benefit from our free website and search engine audit report if:

  • You’re unsure if your website is performing as well as it could be.
  • If you feel you’re not getting found in search engines.
  • You don’t know whether your marketing is driving traffic.
  • It’s not clear if your content is engaging visitors.
  • And, most importantly, you can’t say for sure if your activity is generating leads.

Our comprehensive report is based on your digital marketing performance data. It’s written in plain English, offering actionable insights to revitalise your marketing strategy.

And that’s not all: we’ll also tell you how your firm’s website stacks up against your peers using our exclusive accounting industry digital marketing benchmarks.

Click here to request your free website audit.

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