If you make music and have a website or blog, you might want to keep an eye on how many people visit it and what they do when they’re looking around. Here’s a brief introduction to a few concepts about website analytics which could be useful.
You’ll need to use an analytics package, and the most practical one is Google Analytics. It’s free, and relatively comprehensive so it gives you a good grounding to promote your art – or at least be aware if you’ve suddenly gone viral. It’s happened.
How To Add Google Analytics to Your Band Website
If you don’t have a Gmail account, it’s worth getting one even if it’s just for Google Analytics. Once you’ve signed up for Analytics, login and add your website in the Account Administration section (Admin, on the top right).
Once you’ve added the property, click the Tracking Code tab. Now you’ll need to add the script to your site so that will let Google know every time it’s accessed. There are various ways to do this, but the most common is to copy and paste the tracking script into your website code.
There should be a way to add this through your CMS (WordPress, Blogger, etc), or contact the party that made your website for help. It’s a pretty quick job given access to the ‘back end’ of your website or blog. Often adding it to an HTML/Text widget as an element on your blog will do the trick.
Once your code is in place leave it there for good. If you remove the code, your tracking status will no longer be active and you’ll be losing out on information. Now that you have your tracking in place, all we need to do is wait for time to pass and visitors to start streaming in…
…was that enough time? Good, let’s get started!
Tips: Google Analytics For Musicians
First of all, select your time frame in the top right. Begin with a longer time frame to make it easier to get an understanding of your site’s progress. The longer you’ve had the script on your site the more potential for information you have, so it’s best to have the code included during the initial build. If you’re still in the planning stage of your website, make sure to include the script from launch day.
- Audience > Demographics > Location
With the map overlay you can easily see where most of your visitors are based, by continent, country and even city. If you’re looking to promote your gigs more than online album sales, you really want traffic from your home town and possible touring grounds – but you will always get visitors from the weirdest places (Hi Iceland!). If you do see a lot of activity from a certain location then perhaps it’s time to organise a road trip!
- Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning
This depends on what you do with your site, but it’s handy to know how much of your traffic just can’t get enough. You can increase the visibility of your site in order to promote return visits by being clever about how you use it.
If you have a following on Twitter, for instance, and have just filmed a music video… don’t tweet a direct link to Youtube. No, embed that sucker on your site and tweet it directly from the “Tweet This” button you just embedded underneath the video, wink.
- Traffic Sources > Overview
Search traffic is that which is brought to you by you by Google, Bing, Yahoo! and the other one. Unless you’re pretty well established, you’ll likely not get too much of what we call pure ‘organic traffic’, but mostly searches for your band name, or people who are looking for you specifically.
If you do, however, get lots of search traffic for a relevant term such as ‘crappy death metal’ if you’re a death metal band, then just keep up what you’re doing and we’ll get to SEO for Musicians in another tutorial.
Referral traffic is sent to you via links like your Twitter feed, Facebook page, or mentions on blogs or instant messaging programs – basically anywhere a link can be shared, which as it stand, is everywhere.
…except in the real world, but that’s where direct traffic comes in. Direct traffic accounts for the user who types your website URL into their navigation bar and clicks go! If you have flyers, posters, business cards or have ever scratched your band’s web address into the wall of a holding cell, you’re on the fast track to increasing your direct traffic!
- Content > Content Overview
From here you can tell which pages or posts are popular and what people behave when they are on the page. Not especially helpful if you have a one page website, but if you blog or have a larger site it can be valuable information.
Let’s say you have a certain blog post contains a track that you’ve embedded, and you see it has a fair share of the overall traffic. Click on the page, and then click “Secondary dimension” and select Traffic Sources > Source you’ll be able to see how those people arrived on your site to listen to your music.
Also, be sure check out our guide to social media for musicians, Automate and Monitor Easily with IFTTT.
Promoting Your Band With Google Analytics
While information from Google is rarely exact and perhaps you’re a born musician, not a marketer, these insights are free and can be accessed within minutes. Although this was a pretty basic introduction to the tools, we’ll go into more detail over time, so be sure to check back for more music marketing tutorials.
You might not go platinum simply by knowing how many people read your band bio today, but it might spark a strategy for the future.