Google Analytics: Why you Need Numbers to Run your Business

Building a business without knowing your numbers is like flying an aeroplane in the blind.

Numbers need to be as much a part of what you do as opening shop, turning on your computer and switching on your email.

You might already spend time checking your bank balance, but do you know how many people visited your website yesterday? How many people bought while you were sleeping last night, or more importantly, how many people tried to buy but didn’t or couldn’t go through with it?

Why Numbers?

Numbers give you insight into your customers behaviour, and based on these learnings, you can change their flow through your website and improve sales.

Numbers will show you which pages aren’t selling and which are your most popular pages.

Once you have these insights you can set about reviewing each page and improving the conversion rate (sales) for each one.

Imagine contacting each person who didn’t go through with a purchase within minutes of them leaving your website?

That’s power, and that’s good customer service.

Google Analytics

The awesome people at Google have built you a wonderful tool called Google Analytics where you can easily access this information, all for free.It’s pretty easy to understand, the basics are anyway, and really easy to implement onto your website.

First Steps

  1. Create a Gmail email account or use the one you already have
  2. Go to Google Analytics and click ‘Access Google Analytics’
  3. Click ‘add a website’

Google Analytics will give you some tracking code to place on your website. They also give you a few different ways of adding it to your site.

If you don’t come right, reach out to us and we can help you install Google Analytics on your site and set it up for you.

Set up Your Dashboard

The first thing you want to do is create a custom dashboard for yourself. Google Analytics makes it really easy to do this. Just go to Dashboard on the left hand menu, click on ‘Add New’ and then give it a name. You’ll then be able to drag in ‘widgets’ or graphs and tables of all the things you want to monitor.


The Basics

Here are the basic items you need to be aware of, and I would put these shortcuts onto your dashboard:

1 – How to change dates

  • Spend some time fiddling around with the date fly out on the top right hand corner. You can go back around 6 months and see the growth of your traffic over a longer time, or just for the week if you like.
  • You can compare this year with last year, this month with last month and see how you’ve grown

2 – Sessions

  • This is the number of people on your website at any time. You might call it impressions to your site, but it’s basically the number of times your website has been opened

3 – Users

  • This is the number of people who are have visited your site. Either once off (unique) or two or more times (returning).

4 – Page Views or Engagement

  • This is the number of pages each person looked at. You want them looking at 3+ pages while they’re on your site
  • Engagement tells you how long people stay on your site and how many pages they view – this is critical for Google SEO who rewards you for good engagement

5 – Page load speed

  • How long is your website taking to load? More than 2 seconds and Google isn’t going to like it so your SEO (search engine optimisation) is going to be at risk

6 – Country

  • Which country are your visitors from?
  • You can also drill down to which City and which Language

7 – Keywords

  • What are people typing into Google to find you
  • You’ll have to create a Google Webmaster Tools account for this, we can help if you get lost or stuck

8 – Mobile and Tablet

  • Very important to know which device your users are using – a PC? Mobile phone or tablet? If they’re using mobile phones and your website isn’t responsive (mobile friendly) you’re losing customers, and Google will penalise you come 21 April and you’ll lose your SEO! Get a responsive website now!

9 – Benchmarking

  • This tells you how you’re doing compared against hundreds of your competitors, really great to know!


10 – Acquisition Channels

  • Where are you aquiring new customers from, which channels (media) are they using to find you? Which is your top channel?
  • How much is coming through Social Media? How much through Search? Which actions and activities are paying off

Those are the basic things that you need answered for any online business or business with an online presence. The rabbit hole goes much deeper and more complex than that, and if you have an ecommerce business I’d suggest you take the time to have your Analytics implemented correctly with goal setting and conversation tracking all the way through to purchase.

Numbers are true power, because they remove all opinion and are pure fact.

Start counting!


Dylan-KholstadtDylan Kohlstädt is the founder and CEO of Shift ONE: outsource marketing for entrepreneurs. Dylan is an online marketing specialist who is passionate about the user’s experience and about helping entrepreneurs and start-ups succeed.

Dylan has 20 years marketing management experience in insurance, financial and property industries , six of which gained in hands-on experience in online marketing involving web, mobile, SEO, CRM and Social Marketing and is considered a subject matter expert on all things digital.

She has extensive local and international experience (South Africa, UK and Australia), has managed global and national brands and is experienced in managing multiple product ranges in multiple languages and countries.

Dylan also has an MBA through UNISA SBL.

You can reach Dylan at:

Cell:                       0741 395265


Twitter:                @dylankohlstadt


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