Once you have set-up your farm website, you want to keep track of whether or not people are visiting it, and where they are coming from. I mean, wouldn't it be very helpful to know whether your farm marketing efforts are being successful? The best tool that I have found for tracking farm website visitors is Google Analytics.
Sure your website hosting company, or your installation of Wordpress will give you some statistics, but I find they are not as accurate, and definitely not as detailed. Just because your hosting company is telling you that you get 12,000 hits a month, that is not necessarily true. One example of how that number is inaccurate is that if it is winter and you are doing a lot of work on your website, your hosting company is counting all the times you click on the pages to check them, skewing your numbers. Google Analytics lets you exclude your IP address so you're not counting your own clicks. (I'll cover excluding your IP address below, it's easy.)
Like all of Google's helpful tools, Analytics is free! I would have a heck of a time trying to run my business without Google. I definitely want to thank them any chance I get for all the free stuff they provide. So if you're listening Google, thank you!
You are going to need a Google account to use this tool. If you do not have one already you can sign up for one here.
I find that the tools I use are best explained with visuals. First I'll cover some the of the recent traffic I have been seeing on my own farm website, and how I am keeping track of the local traffic to my website. Then I'll highlight some of the other things that Google Analytics keeps track of. Then I'll show you how to install it on your Weebly, Wordpress, or other website.
Note: Stats are refreshed every 24 hours. You have to be patient.
My Farm On Analytics
Analytics lets you track your farm website visitors by what country they are visiting your website from. This I always find fun and kind of interesting. My farm website FoodCyclist.com has bee visited from 60 different countries. Not bad for a local farm. The only problem here is that it does not help me with my local sales, that is too big of a map.
All you have to do then is click on the United States, and a more detailed map appears.
This next layer of detail breaks down what States have had people who have visited my farm website. Also fun, and if you sell products across the country this is good information for you. Darker States have had more visitors. You can tell at a glance where the majority of your traffic is coming from. When you're on this page you can scroll down and they give you a list of how many people from what States have been to your site. It is organized by the highest number of visitors.
For me, I want still more detail, so I am going to click my mouse on the tiny state of Connecticut and see what I get.
That's more like it. From here I can see that my marketing efforts are reaching my town of New Milford, CT and the towns surrounding me. Sure, I'd love to see more traffic to my website from these areas, but it's a start. You always have to start somewhere. This map shows me that the guerrilla marketing I have been doing on the streets is starting to pay off with website visitors.
Google search results are becoming more localized for certain keywords. Now, if you search "farm" you will get results pages of farms in your area, usually with a map. This is called Google Local. You can make sure you add your farm to Google Local Maps through this link www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/
More Information From Google Analytics For Your Farm Website
You can glean a lot more information from Google Analytics than just the location of your website visitors.
Installing the Analytics code on your website will allow you to see what pages people are visiting. This will give you insights into what people are looking for on your website. Perhaps which pages are more visible and easier to get to. If you have a sales page that you wish had more traffic and a non-sales page that is seeing me page visits, you can analyze what makes the two different and change things up to convert more customers.
Analytics also lets you see how long people are spending on your website. Sometimes this is measured in nano-seconds.
Analytics tracks the visitor flow. What pages are they clicking and how did they get there? What pages are your dead ends, where people hit and then leave your website? What can you do to keep them on our site longer and perhaps buy something?
Right from the sidebar here (which is on every page) you can see all of this. You can even get to traffic sources, which tells you how people are find your website. This breaks down into three categories.
- Search Traffic
- Referral Traffic
- Direct Traffic
Search Traffic counts people finding your website through search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Referral Traffic tells you if there are any other websites that link to your website, and are sending traffic through those links.
Direct Traffic tells you how many people are getting to your website simple by typing your exact website address. This gives you an idea of how many people might be searching for you based on the fact that you put your farm website URL on all of your marketing materials.
Farm Website Keywords in Google
Google Analytics lets you see what people are searching for in Google when they find your website. I have had my site for a couple of years so my keywords vary. People search "FoodCyclist" all the time for me. I also have hits from "chicken for sale", "chicken tractor", and my name "john suscovich". I am starting to see more traffic from my local area for keywords related directly to what I grow on my farm, chicken.
I can see what pages are linking to me to send people my way. I love that this shows how powerful my Social Media has been. The list of top 9 pages linking to me:
- Farm Marketing Solutions
- Local Harvest
- Go Bicycling Touring
- Real Time Farms
Installing Google Analytics on Weebly
I showed you in this tutorial how to create a professional looking farm website with Weebly quickly and inexpensively.
- Create website with Weebly editor
- Create Google Analytics Account
- Add website URL to Analytics Account (it will ask you what website you are creating a code for, super easy)
- Copy the code that Analytics give you
- Paste the Code into the "Header Info" section of the "Edit Site Settings" dialogue box in Weebly
- Sit back and watch the stats come in!
Installing Google Analytics on Wordpress
- Install "Google Analytics" plugin
- Click Settings->Google Analytics
- Copy and paste Analytics code into the only box on the page (UA-xxxxxxxxx-x)
- Click on "Save Changes"
Note: You cannot use plugins for the free version of Wordpress. You get what you pay for. When you pay for nothing, you get...
Google Analytics on Blogger
- Log in to your Blogger account.
- Navigate to your blog's Settings > Other tab.
- If you already have a Google Analytics account, simply enter your blog's Google Analytics Web Property ID.
- Click Save to finish.
Other Web Properties
No matter what program you are using to edit and/host your website, there is usually a way to install Google Analytics. Just find where to put your Analytics "Web Property ID" and you're good to go. There are tutorials you can find online very easily that will explain what you need to do if I have not answered it here.
Excluding Your IP Address (IMPORTANT!!!)
Your IP address is the address of your computer that your Internet Service Provider gives you automatically when you sing online. You want to make sure your Google Analytics account does not keep track of every time you click on your own website, otherwise you information is not going to be accurate.
To do this:
- Go to IP Chicken to get you IP address, looks like 220.127.116.11
- Log in to your Analytics account
- Click Admin at the top right of the screen
- Click on the name of your website (if you have more than one do it for each, one at a time)
- Click on "Filters" then click "Add New"
- Give the filter a name
- With the drop down boxes click, "Exclude, traffic from the IP addresses, that are equal to"
- Enter your IP from IP Chicken
- Make sure to click on the profile and hit add to make it go from the left box to the right
- Click Save
I hope that this gets you started using Google Analytics. It is a very powerful tool. The longer you have it, the more info you will collect, and the easier it will be to make decisions regarding your website.