Advisors tend to be numbers-driven and analytical in nature, so why don't more use Google Analytics to understand their website metrics?

Our best guess is that it's jargon-rich, confusing and overwhelming. In an effort to provide users with all the data they’ll ever need, the analytics platform can make it difficult to find anything meaningful.

You may be more inclined to use Google Analytics if you realize that you really only need to know three things about your website when getting started:


  1. How much traffic is coming to your site?
  2. Who makes up that traffic?
  3. What are those visitors doing?

Getting these three pieces of information is really simple; just follow these easy steps.

We recently did a marketing makeover for a client, and these three numbers revealed some startling truths about his website. We’ll use examples from his site to show you how to analyze yours.

Metric 1: How much traffic is coming to your site?

To get started answering this question, follow these steps:

  1. Login to Google Analytics.
  2. Select the website you want to see information about and click on All Website Data.
  3. In the top right drop-down menu, select your date range (try the last 30 days).
  4. Go to Audience, then Overview to view Users.

This answers the question how much traffic is coming to your site? For our marketing makeover advisor, 158 users have visited the site in the past month. That’s not terrible, considering this is the advisor’s old site that has not been optimized for SEO and has no integrated marketing. However, in the next step we will quickly learn that the total traffic does not tell the whole story.
Metric 2: Who makes up that traffic?

This is where it starts to get interesting, or disheartening, if you are our marketing makeover advisor. To learn more about your visitor demographic, stay on the Audience tab.

To find out where in the world the site visitors are from, go to Audience, then Geo, then Location. This advisor was surprised to learn that a vast majority of his site visitors are from outside the U.S.; a full 41% are from Russia. This advisor does not offer financial advice in Russia, he just happens to share a popular Russian last name.

Of the folks visiting the site from the U.S., about half are from California, which is great, since this is where the advisor does business. Unfortunately, this means that of his total 158 site visitors, only 26 were from his target state.

Metric 3: What are those visitors doing?

To find out more about the site visitors’ behaviors, navigate to Behavior then Overview. This section gives a nice summary of which pages are most popular with site visitors. For our advisor’s site, this is where bigger problems start to take shape.

The website URL directs to a landing page, where folks have to click on Enter Site to get to the home page. As is common with this type of site design, there is a very high bounce rate from this page. Only 16% of folks make it past that page to the home page. From there, you can see that a meager 3% visit the Bio page, the next most popular page.

This is great information to be aware of (and is particularly concerning for our marketing makeover site) because the home page does not actually contain any content, just a photo and navigation items. This means that of the site’s 158 visitors, only 19 of them ever got to a page with any content about the advisor or his services. Of those 19, a few were from Russia and only 7 were from where the advisor does business in California.

Google Analytics data can tell a powerful story with very simple information. While this advisor thought he had a successful marketing website, in reality we can see that only 7 site visitors from his target market actually consumed any relevant content on his website in the past month. Now that he understands this information, he can adjust his marketing strategy and visit his Google Analytics again in a month or so to see if his strategy is working.

Craig Faulkner is CEO of FMG Suite, offering a complete inbound marketing solution for financial professionals. You can follow him @fmgsuite on Twitter.

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