Tuesday , 25 June 2019
When you’re running a small handmade business like me, every penny counts. You need to invest time and money into marketing channels that work. So today I’d like to introduce you to a little “gem” of a method using Google Analytics to find quality sites to market on.

Understanding Google Analytics

Recycled Sail Throw Pillow - Black number 5

Recycled Sail Throw Pillow - Black number 5


When you’re running a small handmade business like me, every penny counts. You need to invest time and money into marketing channels that work. So today I’d like to introduce you to a little “gem” of a method using Google Analytics to find quality sites to market on.

But before I go any further, you need to become more acquainted with how Etsy has our Google Analytics integrated. There are some small nuances to understand when interpreting reports. See this post here for details: Understanding Traffic Sources to Your Etsy Shop. If you don’t have Google Analytics running yet, I HIGHLY suggest you do it. Like… now. See Etsy’s directions on how to get it up and running.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way… We’re going to be using the Referring Sites report to find the sites delivering the best traffic to our shop. See the “Pop-up Video” style image at the end of this post showing you exactly where to go to get this information!

How to Get to the Referring Sites Report

Log-in to Google Analytics, referred to as “GA” from here on out. Select Traffic Sources–>Referring Sites from your left navigation. Make sure your date range is long. View at least 2-3 months’ worth of data. If that doesn’t give you enough traffic to look at, broaden your date range to 6 months.

Reading the Referring Sites Report

Determining Which Sources Are Best
Ok. So, now you’re looking at your report. What you’re looking for are sites that deliver quality and engaged visitors. How do you measure this? By looking at Pages/Visit, Avg. Time on Site, and Bounce Rate.

Here are some definitions of these:

  1. Pages/Visit: The average number of pages viewed during a visit to your site.
  2. Avg. Time on Site: The average duration of a visit to your site.
  3. Bounce Rate: The percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page).

Ok. So we’re looking for sites that are delivering us quality visits. Quality visits are those with a good amount of pages/visits(+2), a decent time on site (+/- 1 minutes), and a low bounce rate (50% or less). Of course, these values will be relative based on how your shop performs, so see how your users behave and choose your values accordingly.

Sorting Your Report
A really quick way to get at the best data is by sorting. Pressing the “Time on Site” column name will sort your sources from lesser to greater or greater to lesser. I suggest this method. Make sure it’s sorted from greater to lesser.

You can, however, sort your data even more granularly using the “Advanced Filter” option at the bottom of your screen. Do this by:

  1. Clicking “Advanced Filter”.
  2. Clicking the down arrow in the green source box and selecting the “Visits” radio button.
  3. Pressing the down arrow in the “Less Than” box and selecting “Greater Than”.
  4. Enter “1″ in the open field.
  5. Press “Apply Filter.”

Now you are viewing all traffic sources giving you more than one visit. If you’d like to change the filter, select “Edit Filter” at the bottom. To remove the filter, press “Clear Filter.”

This sorting option will be particularity useful to those sites that get a lot of visits. However, if the data you are looking at is manageable, then I suggest considering every site no matter the number of visits it gives as long as the traffic it’s delivering is quality.

Using the Data

So, we’ve got our list. Now we must put our investigative hats on and visit these sites to see if they’re relevant to us. Luckily this is super simple from within the GA interface. To visit a site, simply press the pop-out icon to the left of the blue site name. This will open the site in a new tab or window. Visit the window and take a look at the content. Looks good? Jot the site down. Moving back to the GA window, click the next site you’d like to investigate. The next site will open in the same window the previous one did. Review it. Jot down notes if its a keeper. Do this over and over, creating your site list as you go!

Marketing Ideas

Now you have a list of gold! Here are a few options on what to do with it!

  1. Buy ad space.
  2. Hold a giveaway or other promotion.
  3. Fan, follow, and subscribe.

Pop-Up Video, the GA Version

Click to enlarge.


And in the truest sense of practicing what one preaches, I’d like to let everyone know that I came to partner with Handmadeology by doing the research outlined above! I saw quality incoming traffic to my site from Handmadeology, visited Handmadeology, and offered my services. It worked for me. It’ll work for you!

With love,

My Etsy Shop: Studio Eleven 11: Handmade Jewelry With a Story
My personal blog: Studio Eleven 11 Blogs!
Facebook: Studio Eleven 11
My 9-5: Beacon Technologies 

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  1. That is a really useful post for a lot of person, I’m sure! Thank you for sharing your knowledge on Google Analytics! I’ll refer people to this post, that’s for sure!!

  2. For anyone interested in more reports, I have consolidated a lot of GA tutorials and other tools here:


  3. Just what I have needed! Thanks for this informative article.

  4. Thanks for this! Great explanation of how to interpret GA in terms of tracking which marketing and advertising is REALLY working! @ArtsiBitsi thanks for the squidoo link too!

  5. Thanks for sharing, your post was very helpful!

  6. @ArtsiBitsi
    I just found an article on squidoo this past week written by you [putting your etsy on autopilot] and now I find this one – I’m so glad there are techie people like you who can explain in simple terms what we need to know – especially about google analytics as it relates to our sites.

  7. clarifying comment -> people like you [ArtsiBitsi] and Andrea of studio11. :)

  8. Getting a broken link on Etsy’s directions, Tim.

  9. I understand a bit more… Now I just have to figure out how to use it. Hmmmm.
    Sally Anne

  10. Thanks Tim!! I’ve been in a tizzy this week about my shop being purged into a “Supplemental page pool” by Google, and could not access my GA!! My traffic flatlined for June, with just one sale, and I’m in a panic about it!! At least there is still access to GA, b/c they took that link out of my shop!!! I look forward to any updates you may have as they come out of Etsy/Google!!! This has tossed my shop back to where I started 2.5 yrs. ago!! I’m NOT happy!!

  11. Thank you! Very informative and helpful!

  12. I didn’t know I could filter my results. Thanks so much!

  13. Thanks for the insight. I read my Google Analytics, but didn’t research quite as much as I should. Thanks for the push!

  14. Very helpful ! Thanks so much

  15. I read my analytics often, but didn’t know I could interact with them, or control them at all. I’ll be trying all of that!
    Awesome and informative, mucho thanks!


  16. Looks like some wonderful, very practical advice! Thanks so much!

  17. Love all this super easy reads about GA on handmadeology !You make all the boring stats sounds so cool and simple ! I just learned that FB brings the biggest amount of traffic to my store and…pintrest as well! I guess it is a good idea to keep investing my time into those sites…and one site that i totally neglect Kaboodle is bringing me veins as well, i probably should like working on this one as well :).Thanks again for a great info :)

  18. You have made GA easy to understand. I have been trying to figure this out for a long time now. Thank you for making the clueless like me in the know.

  19. Thanks for the tips ~ glad to know that I wasn’t just clueless but there’s a reason it’s hard to understand! As an Etsy seller, I’ve wanted to use this for a long time, so I really appreciate your insight!
    Steph’s Jewels

  20. Great Advice. Gotta bookmark this page so I don’t forget to do this eveytime I log into GA!

  21. Love the method you describe here. Off to make my list, thanks.

  22. Thank you .. fabulous info! (as usual -however!) I am saving this one!

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