Do the words web analytics make you cringe and want to run for the door? You’re not alone. Analytics can be intimidating and take some patience to learn, but they’re the backbone to everything you do online.
Let’s start with the basics. Web analytics is the measurement, collection, and analysis of data to help you improve the effectiveness of what you do online. Analytics can help answer the most basic questions about your visitors’ behavior, such as where are they coming from? What pages do they visit on your site? Are they actually buying your product or getting distracted by something else along the way?
The number of online behaviors you can track is truly endless. But if you’re new to the world of analytics, watch this video to learn about the four key metrics you should monitor before anything else.
Total traffic is the total number of people who visit your site in a given amount of time and is a strong indicator of the health of your website. While some factors (such as the time of year, for example), are out of your control, there are things you can do to boost traffic on your own — like posting on your blog or amping up your marketing game.
Source of Traffic
At a restaurant, customers can arrive by bike, foot, car, or even unicycle. And on a website, customers can arrive via social media, blog posts, Google searches, referral websites, and a myriad of other options. You want to figure out how people are finding your site so you can create a strategy for your content moving forward. For example, if most of your audience comes from social media, use that knowledge to boost your efforts on Facebook or Twitter.
Imagine a customer who walks through the front door of a restaurant, takes a quick glance around, and walks back out. We’ve all done this when we’re trying to find the perfect place to eat. And we do it online too.
A bounce is when a visitor leaves before clicking on another page on your website. The higher the bounce rate, the worse off you are. If your bounce rate is 80 percent, for example, that means four out of every five people who come to your site don’t care to stay long. That could be for any number of reasons, including irrelevant content, confusing navigation, or annoying sounds and images. As a rule of thumb, shoot for a bounce rate that is lower than 50 percent, but, of course, do everything you can to keep it as low as possible.
When it comes to the web, a conversion counts as any call-to-action a customer completes. In a restaurant, a conversion would be actually buying grub and not walking out hungry. For a website, a conversion could be signing up for a newsletter or buying your product. The conversion rate is tracked as a percentage of your traffic. The higher it is the better.
There are a variety of platforms to help you track these metrics, but the most popular is Google Analytics. It’s free, quick to set up, and easy to navigate and customize. In the end, web analytics are the secret to a successful website, and now you’ve mastered the basics.