This is the sixth post in a blog series. You can view the previous week’s post, “DIY Your eCommerce Website in 4 Easy Steps ” here.
Many people falsely assume that tracking user activity on their website will require technical savvy and a boatload of cash.
Here’s a quick look into the tools that we recommend from our experience here at CleverFunnel.
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 actions they took, I would’ve said you’re full of bull.
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 heck it even is.
Just put it on there. (Here’s an article that can help you install Google Analytics.)
Remember how I mentioned 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 heck is walking into your store anyway.
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. There 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. (Here’s an article that can help you install Hotjar.)
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.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
Starting an eCommerce business is like building a rocket in your garage and expecting it to take you to the moon—it might not work, and even if it does, there’s a good chance you’ll get hurt along the way.
The good news is you’re not the first person crazy enough to try this. There are many others (myself included) who have tried, failed, and tried again. By learning from our many (many) mistakes, you can launch an eCommerce business that makes it safely to orbit and beyond.
In this blog series, you’ll get a step-by-step guide to creating and launching your eCommerce business years 1–3. We go over how to create a functional brand, set up your website, and develop an advertising strategy that scales with you. We’ll go through the various pros and cons, so that you can feel empowered to make the best decisions for your business.
My name is Chris Franks, and I’m the founder and CEO of CleverFunnel, a digital marketing agency that focuses on using straightforward, data-driven strategies to drive real results for our clients.
I’m also an avid lover of indie music, fly fishing, baseball, and sunscreen (although that’s more of a genetic necessity). I wrote this with the hope that my story could help other young entrepreneurs achieve their goals, without losing their savings (or their sanity) in the process. If any bit of this helps you, it’ll have been worth it.