Blog Menu

I write and curate content for Bluehost. I hope this blog post is helpful.
Are you looking at creating a blog, website or an online store? Bluehost has something for everyone. Get started today.

To measure your website’s performance, go beyond how many sales you’ve made. Look under the hood to see how people interact with your website.

This approach is called web analytics and starts with collecting data on your website visitors. You can then analyze the data for ideas to improve your website’s user experience. The result is a super effective website that compels more customers, engagement and sales.

While you learn, don’t let any complex-sounding terms throw you off; with some straightforward steps and easy-to-use tools, you’ll get a better idea of what your target market wants.

What is web analytics?

Web analytics is the process of tracking and analyzing what users do while they use your website. This data reveals what you can capitalize on and what to fix about your business. That’s valuable, so business owners install web analytics applications that collect relevant user data.

Without software programs, many web analytics tactics would be a big ask for most business owners. However, the right tools will give you a good grip on making web analytics a routine; this guide will include recommendations of the best web analytics tools for beginners. 

First, let’s consider what website analytics can do for your business.

Web analytics example

Imagine you’re trying to grow your blogging website. Using web analytics, you could compare all your blog posts and discover the high-performing ones, based on a metric such as your visitors’ average time on each page. Now that you know what’s working, you can double down, try a new spin on it and attempt to improve the format even more.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to web analytics nor a predetermined playbook for using the insights. To know what works best, practice your critical thinking, run tests to see for yourself, learn more about marketing and remain patient.

What do website analytics allow you to do? 

Website analytics reveals which types of viewers visit your website, where they found it and what they use it for. You can see which parts of your website are popular with customers and which parts could do better. And ultimately, you’ll gain more ideas for marketing.

Let’s explore each aspect in depth.

Get a better understanding of customer behavior

Do customers spend time reading your blog, or do they navigate straight to your weekly deals page? Either way, gaining this information will help you make changes to your website to make it more user-friendly. For example, you may decide to feature the popular page more prominently.

Find out who’s visiting your website

User demographics, especially geographical location, will help with market segmentation — a strategy centered on categorizing your target market into groups that share characteristics and motivations. 

Once you know who’s coming to your website, you can conduct a thorough target market analysis and send targeted ads, incentives or content straight to the people who’d be most interested.

After determining which parts of your website are a hit with customers, you can make those sections an area of focus to boost conversions.

If most people spend the bulk of their time on your product description pages, you could focus on closing the sale by adding a product comparison section, a time-sensitive deal or clearer links to the checkout page.

Learn which parts of your website could perform better

If you’ve spent a lot of time updating your blog section, you’ll want to know if your efforts have paid off — web analytics will answer that. On the other hand, you may realize a landing page needs an overhaul because most viewers hit the back button.

Identify where your website visitors came from

Web analytics reveals your organic traffic, meaning the amount of people who used a search engine to find your website. Similarly, you can determine if you’re getting website traffic from your social media accounts. This information lets you know whether your marketing strategy is paying dividends.

Key metrics for web analytics

A few web analytics metrics have proved widely popular and useful.

Web analytics metrics are sometimes called key performance indicators (KPIs), but only some metrics will be relevant to your business goals. Keeping that in mind, here’s a list of commonly valuable measures of a website’s performance:

  • Web traffic.
  • Page views.
  • Bounce rate.
  • Traffic sources.
  • Conversion rate.
  • Time spent on site.
  • Unique visitors.
  • Returning visitors.
  • Cart abandonment.

Web traffic 

This is the number of users who visit your website in a given time period. It’s one of the most widely used metrics in web analytics, but its impact varies. For example, if tons of people land on your website and only view a single page, then the high traffic is less likely to get you anywhere.

Conversely, if visitors typically browse a large number of pages on your website, that points to a high engagement level you can capitalize on.

Page views 

After checking out your website traffic, explore each page’s performance by checking its number of page views, also known as page impressions. If you plan on promoting a product or discount on an individual webpage, remember to look at the page views beforehand and then compare the page views afterward.

Bounce rate 

This is the proportion of visitors who leave your website without engaging further (e.g., navigating to another part of your website). A high bounce rate could mean your website is slow, so visitors grow impatient and leave — or that your page is not interesting and relevant enough to viewers.

According to Semrush, a good bounce rate is 40% or below. However, the target rate differs for various industries and types of websites. For example, blogs generally have a much higher bounce rate (65% to 90%) than eCommerce websites (20% to 45%). 

If you find out your web pages have a high bounce rate, it’s crucial to use all the tools at your disposal to align it with industry standards.

Traffic sources 

Traffic volume is a useful measure, but knowing where your audience comes from is equally important. Here are some examples of distinct traffic sources:

  • Organic traffic from Google, Bing, Yahoo and more.
  • People who clicked your paid search ads or other ads. 
  • Users on your website after a referral from another brand.
  • Visitors from links on your social media posts. 
  • Viewers coming from your email campaigns.

Getting many site visitors from a particular source can confirm you’re doing something right with your strategy and that it’s lucrative to double down.

Conversion rate 

This rate represents the percentage of total website visitors who act in a desired manner (e.g., they make a purchase, sign up for your newsletter or share a post on Facebook). Making an attractive website is cool, but it should also compel viewers to take the actions you want for your business.

According to Statista, B2C eCommerce websites across 17 different industry sectors had an average conversion rate of only 2%, in the first quarter of 2023. You can expect to see a similar number and work around that.

Time spent on site 

Short visits to your website could mean you aren’t doing enough to keep users engaged. However, avoid getting bogged down in finding the root cause of every brief website visit. Instead, work based on the average time users spend on each page and whether that matches the page’s purpose.

Number of unique visitors

This total ignores several visits by the same individual, so it’s a good indicator of the potential new customers you’ve reached in a given period. Google uses cookies to identify these unique visitors and give you data on them.  

A rise in your number of unique visitors would confirm that your latest digital marketing campaign has brought new customers to your website. Alternatively, timely events may have people searching for what you offer. 

However, this measure is not impeccably accurate. Suppose a website visitor uses multiple devices to browse your website (e.g., their phone in the morning, desktop at lunch and tablet in the evening). In that case, each device will register as a unique visit. 

Also, if your visitors are particularly vigilant in removing cookies, you might occasionally get a miscount of unique visitors. All in all, use this metric as a ballpark estimate.

Returning visitors 

A return visit can indicate a loyal customer or a previous visitor’s desire to complete their purchase. Don’t forget — it’s easier to keep return visitors happy than to attract new customers.

According to Dotdigital, the average conversion rate for loyal customers is 60% to 70%, compared to only 5% to 20% for new customers. 

Cart abandonment 

This is when customers add products to their basket but later decide against a purchase. In one study, the Baymard Institute found the average cart abandonment rate is 70.19%.

If your cart abandonment rate is higher, it could mean that customers have technical problems with your website or feel your total prices need to be lowered. 

Another issue could be a lack of trust in how your brand would handle customer data. Many users will look at your URL to ensure you have an SSL certificate, so make sure you do. With Bluehost plans, you’ll automatically get a free SSL certificate.    

How to make website analytics work for your website 

When it’s your first time using web analytics, it’s easy to get overwhelmed as you look into the plethora of tools and KPIs.

Here are some steps to help beginners nail website analytics:

  1. Make a plan and write down your goals for using website analytics. For instance, do you want to increase your website traffic by using search engine optimization, or are you looking to change your marketing strategy to increase user engagement?
  2. Schedule a predictable, recurring time to check your website’s analytics. This could mean a weekly check-in with different team members or a monthly data collection and analysis project.  
  3. Start small to avoid information overload. A data-driven approach is only helpful if you can wisely use the stats you get. Once you gain basic analytics know-how, you can move on to the tricker measures. 
  4. After you uncover an insight, act on it. Web analytics will give you clues about improving your website’s functionality. In line with those clues, proactively update your website, including adding new content and altering visual elements.
  5. Stay patient until you see results. You may need to change your approach several times before you settle on one that works. Document your process at each stage to make web analytics easier for you and your team members. 
  6. Holistically consider multiple metrics. While it’s impractical to do everything at once, use various tools and measures to ensure you get a broad picture of user interactions. With the increased context, you’ll be even more sure you’re focusing on the right things.

If you’re looking to try your hand at web analytics but aren’t sure where to start, then read on. We’ll go over the most popular web analytics software programs and explain the features that’ll help you the most. 

Best web analytics tools for beginners

If you run a quick Google search, you’ll see many web analytics tools, some of which are better suited to experts and multinational companies with million-dollar budgets. Finding tools for beginners can be hard.

For your convenience, the best website analytics apps to consider are:

  • Google Analytics
  • Crazy Egg
  • Hotjar
  • Bluehost
  • Similarweb
  • Semrush

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a well-known web analytics tool.

According to Statista research, this tool had a website analytics market share of 29.62% in 2022. Every website owner should try Google Analytics, and its academy is a great jumping-off point for those just starting their analytics journey. 

Once you’re ready to dive in and use this analytics platform, look forward to a real-time snapshot of how your website is performing. For example, you can uncover your page views, number of new users, total revenue, retention and cart abandonment. 

Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg is a great choice for web analytics.

Crazy Egg has various tools of a more analytical nature, such as heatmaps, A/B testing and error tracking. Since you can dive deeper than face value numbers, it’s used by big names such as Dell and Etsy.

Crazy Egg records entire viewer sessions so you can track minute details down to a user’s mouse movements as they consider your subscribe button. 

In terms of pricing, Crazy Egg is a paid tool, but if you’d like a test drive before you buy, take advantage of the free 30-day trial. A basic Crazy Egg plan includes 30,000 tracked page views, unlimited surveys, websites and A/B tests.


Hotjar is a versatile option for web analytics.

One useful feature of Hotjar is that it integrates with Slack, HubSpot, Google Analytics and more. Instead of simply spitting out stats, it helps website owners understand the reasons behind performance issues. 

Like Crazy Egg, Hotjar provides useful features like heatmaps, recordings and surveys. One key difference is that Hotjar’s basic plan is free forever, which is great for those just getting started with analytics. However, for more than 35 tracked sessions per month, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.  


Web analytics reporting is made easy with Bluehost.

Choose Bluehost as your web hosting provider to get analytics stats powered by Awstats and Webalizer straight from your website dashboard. 

With the utmost convenience, you can generate reports on key statistics such as unique visitors, number of visits, page views, hits and bandwidth. Plus, it comes at no added cost.


Similarweb has free web analytics tools for beginners.

This analytics giant has paid and free tools. On the Similarweb site, enter any URL into the analytics search bar to find out its category rank, total visits, bounce rate, number of pages per visit and average visit duration.

Similarweb can be connected to Google Analytics to provide even more user activity statistics on your website. 


Web analytics reports complement Semrush’s other SEO offerings.

Semrush has a whole suite of tools for gleaning useful website data. While it’s famed for SEO, the platform also has a useful analytics reporting feature. 

With Semrush, you can find your website’s average visit duration, traffic sources, traffic share by device, unique visitors, bounce rate and number of pages per visit. Currently, you can generate 10 free traffic reports per day if you register with Semrush. 

Final thoughts: Web analytics for beginners — your guide to tools and metrics 

As you’re finding your groove with website analytics, you’ll realize the quickest way to improve your user experience is to ensure your web host provides lightning-fast load speeds and keeps up with your website’s growing traffic. 

But why should your web host stop there? Bluehost offers digital marketing services that take an active role in boosting your website’s SEO and advertising. You’ll meet with marketing experts to discuss your business goals, they’ll create digital marketing campaigns and you get to watch your web analytics metrics soar.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
Learn more about Bluehost Editorial Guidelines