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3 Ways to Use Google Analytics to Grow Your Website

Google Analytics (GA) is a super powerful tool. But just like any other depository of data, the amount of features doesn’t matter nearly as much as knowing how to use them. I’ve encountered many nonprofits who simply use it for checking increases or decreases in web traffic, because the amount of features is intimidating.

And I don’t blame them! So for this week’s Nonprofit Marketing Growth Tip, we’re going to uncover some uses for those deeper forms of Google Analytics data. As good marketers, we should always be looking for ways to improve, and GA provides a multitude of suggestions for us to do just that. So without further ado, let’s dig into 3 areas where GA can show us areas for growth:

Use the “Most Visited Pages” to Prioritize Updates

Using Google Analytic's Most visited page module for nonprofit marketing growth

At the very bottom of the Google Analytics home page, there’s a super useful module titled “What pages do your users visit?”.

It’s just a simple list of your website pages, in order of most visited, but I look at it as a pre-organized list of the lowest-hanging-fruit on the website.

What I mean is that, if you’re going to test out a new feature, update a blog post, or make some other change, it’s probably best to start at the top of the list and work your way down.

For example, I have about 2 hours a week to spend on website maintenance. In a vacuum, I might think that tweaking the homepage would be the best use of my time, since “everyone looks at the homepage,” right? Wrong. Based on this table, I could make an impact 100x bigger by tweaking the “Use Gmail with your Own Domain for Free” blog post.

In reality, there are a few more factors that help me decide where to allocate my time on the website. But the point is that the amount of traffic each page receives should be a prominent feature of how you decide to maintain/tweak/update your nonprofit’s website.

Find Mobile Optimization Issues with the Audience Tab

Just above and to the right of the “What pages?” module on the homepage, there’s another called “What are your top devices?” which has a pie chart of the mobile vs. tablet vs. desktop traffic to your site.

Now, that pie chart alone is super useful for determining if it’s worthwhile to invest time in mobile optimizations, but we’re looking for something else right now. So click that “Mobile Overview” link in the bottom right corner, and scroll to the bottom of the following screen.

Using Device traffic to improve nonprofit website on Google Analytics

What you’re looking for here are the columns under the “Behavior” header, highlighted in the image. This section tells you the bounce rate & time on page of visitors on mobile, tablet, and desktop.

This table is super useful for diagnosing mobile optimization issues. If your mobile bounce rate is higher than the others, it’s very possible that your mobile website is ugly, unusable, or broken.

If that’s the case, you can segment the mobile traffic by page to further break down that number. Then use that data to investigate if the issue only occurs on one page, or happens across the board.

Connect Search Console to find Keywords to Optimize for

Many nonprofits I encounter are concerned about appearing in Google’s results (aka SEO), but don’t know where to start besides stuffing pages with keywords.

A more targeted and systematic approach would include connecting Google Search Console to Google Analytics, so you can first get a list of what searches you’re already appearing on. Then, you can decide whether to play to your strengths, or branch out and try to rank for other related keywords.

I won’t go over how to connect the two, as there’s plenty of tutorials on Google’s website and elsewhere on how to do so—a quick search for “connect GA to Search Console” will bring them up. But once you do have them connected, you’ll see a screen like this in the “Acquisition” tab:

Using search console to grow nonprofit website with Google Analytics

Just like with the “Most Visited Pages” table, this list goes from most-searched to least, and it can help you prioritize your updates in a similar manner. An extra super-feature of this table (in my opinion), is the right-most column which shows your average rank in the search results. With this column, you know exactly where you stand for each keyword.

For instance, you might want to rank on the first page for “urban farming”, but your average rank is “10.9”. In that case, it might be worthwhile to invest a bit of effort in Search Engine Optimizations for that page, to see if you can breach the threshold from “10.9” to “9.9”, and maybe even higher! Traffic scales exponentially in Google search results, so just a 1 point rank increase could make a big difference in your web traffic.

How do you use Google Analytics?

That’s all for this week! Before you go, why not share a Google Analytics tip of your own in the comments section? That way, we can all learn from each other. I look forward to hearing your tips! Happy growing!

How We Increased Donations by $3,800 in 10 Minutes

Welcome to the new year, and The Digital Nonprofit’s new blog! Our new year’s resolution is to share insider tips, insights, and tricks we’ve learned on nonprofit marketing—and do it every Monday! This week, we’re sharing some interesting numbers on how a small tweak to your website copy can dramatically increase donations. Let’s dive right in:

The hypothesis

New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia is our longest-standing client, and this winter they wanted to make sure their website was ready for end-of-year appeals. It was a great inclination, since their traffic surges in December—so even just a 1% increase in donations could result in an extra thousand dollars.

One area we highlighted for an update was the main navigation. As it stood, NSM’s donate button was hidden in an awkward pop-up menu that appeared once someone moused over “Get Involved”. You can see it in the image below:

The “before” picture of New Sanctuary’s website

The “before” picture of New Sanctuary’s website

Knowing that small changes in website copy can have a big impact, we suggested simplifying the navigation.

Our hypothesis was that every little bit of extra friction reduces the chance that someone will complete their donation. In this instance, we guessed that the “Get Involved” title, pop-up menu, and distracting “for congregations” links were all points of friction. In the old menu, visitors might not have known there was an opportunity to donate at all!

In the end, we swapped out the “Get Involved” button for a simple, but more meaningful “Donate”. Here’s the result:

The “after” picture: a much clearer navigation

The “after” picture: a much clearer navigation

Since their website is Wordpress-based, it was no problem at all to re-arrange the navigation. For the time being, we put the other links in that sub-menu in the footer. All in all, it took 10 minutes.

It was sort of anti-climactic really—once the quick change was made, we just had to sit back, enjoy our holidays and wait for the numbers to roll in!

The cold, hard, numbers—did it work?

After the holidays, I dug into the data to see if anything happened, and was pleasantly surprised at the results!

Our small change increased the donation rate by 27.38% over the previous year!

Graph of donations in December 2018 vs December 2017

Graph of donations in December 2018 vs December 2017

Or put another way, 19 extra people donated this year because of these website changes! (Since 69 people donated during the given period, 27.38% of that number would be 18.8, rounding to 19).

This increase is even more important because overall website traffic decreased since last year (that’s why the first number is red in the image). So even though NSM attracted less people to their website, they got a lot more of them on average to donate once they arrived, mitigating the impact of the decreased traffic.

But what we really want to see is the difference in dollars and cents, right?

To do that, we’ll multiply the 19 extra people by average amount people donate to NSM, $200. That gives us $3,800 in donations that was brought in by this simple change.

I’ll rephrase that in case you didn’t catch it:

This 1 change that took all of 10 minutes brought in $3,800 in just one month!

Better yet, it will continue to improve NSM’s bottom line over time, and additional improvements we make will boost that number even higher.

Now, this wasn’t a perfect experiment, because we’re comparing year-over-year results rather than an A/B test, and we’re just below the number of conversions necessary to make the results statistically significant. That said, NSM’s website has not dramatically changed during that year, and since we already know from other studies that these changes do in fact work, we can confidently claim at least some improvement as a result of this tweak.

Although not statistically significant, the margin is large enough to confidently say it made a difference.

Although not statistically significant, the margin is large enough to confidently say it made a difference.

The power of small changes

I mean, even if it only brought in an extra $100 a month, wouldn’t that be worth the 10 minutes we spent?

I think it would—that’s what we’re all about at The Digital Nonprofit. Using data, industry knowledge, and insights from real donors to find the smallest possible change that will yield the biggest possible impact.

Especially in small organizations like New Sanctuary, this philosophy is especially powerful. In the past year, they’ve likely spent less than $2000 on our services, and just this one change brought all that money back in, and more!

If you want to discover small changes that can increase your nonprofit’s donations, schedule a call with us by clicking the button below. We’ll take a deep dive at your challenges, offer tips, and crunch the numbers to see what you stand to gain.