Every nonprofit’s website is different. That’s not a bold statement.
Because every nonprofit’s mission, size, audience, and the variety of content it posts varies wildly, the traffic and analytics supporting that website are going to be intrinsically different. Additionally, the individuals who are coming to the website are going to be different, have different interests, and act differently when they're there.
You might be asking yourself at this point: “But why are analytics important? Why should I spend the time reporting on them? And what should I be reporting on?”
Good questions. The answers are simple, too.
Think of your website as an aircraft carrier, and your social media outlets are the helicopters and fighter jets that land on it. Your website should serve as the nexus of all your nonprofit's digital marketing efforts.
But what good is an aircraft carrier if it doesn’t have any fuel? An aircraft carrier without any fuel is like a tiny mechanical island. Sure it’s great and the view’s incredible, but it’s not going anywhere.
Analytics are important because they let you know who’s on your site, where they came from, what they looked at when they were there, and where they went after.
Analytics are like the fuel for the aircraft carrier. They’re the window into exactly who’s coming to your site, and for what reason. Gathering and reporting on this information can provide invaluable insight to drive content to your website, and keep it there.
Your nonprofit is always looking to increase its reach, and get its message out to as many people as possible. Analytics enables your nonprofit to track exactly how many people have been on your site, how long they’ve been there, and even demographic information about who they are, their gender, and even ages. Using this information to optimize the content you’re creating is a great way to increase the reach of your nonprofit’s message.
So we’ve convinced you. You’re going to start paying attention to Google Analytics, create a weekly or monthly report, and optimize your website according to the results.
Great! A lot of nonprofits say that Google Analytics dash board is intimidating. Saying: “There are so many options, I don’t know where to start!”
A good idea when first getting started is not shooting for the moon right off the bat. Take a few weeks reporting on only 3 or 4 different analytics before trying to understand the major trends.
Here are 3 you should start tracking now:
- Landing Pages: The landing page is the first webpage a user of your website sees. Typically, they’re clicking a link to your site from another website, or have found your website by using a search engine.
- Referrals: Your referrals are the websites a web visitor was on just prior to landing on your website. When trying to develop an extensive network of referral partners, it’s important to understand exactly who your current major referral partners are, and gives you insight into who you can target to drive even more referrals from.
- Most trafficked pages: This one is obvious. Understanding what pages are most trafficked, what blog posts are most read, and what webinar is getting the most attention from visitors. Take this information and shape your content around it. Create more blog posts like the ones that are getting the most attention. Create impelling calls to action on the pages that are getting the most traffic.
Business decisions are both now and in the future are being made using data and analytics. It's up to you to take the plunge now and get ahead of the curve.