You’ve done the hard work. Conceiving of, designing, populating and launching your website. Now it’s live you can sit back and watch the sales and enquiries roll in. Done!
Unfortunately it’s not that easy. Setting up your business website – whatever the goals of the site are – is just the start of your online work. It’s not enough to launch a site and expect visitors and revenue to come to you. The world of online engagement is far more complex. This is where your web analytics and statistics become essential. Fascinating (and free) tools available to help you optimise your site and grow your business.
In short, web analytics relate to an assessment of user activity collected from your website. Through collecting and collating user information, they identify behaviours and map customer journeys to help gain insights into online presence and to assess the success or failure of any website. If you wonder why your website is not generating the sales or enquiries you expect, it’s time to turn to your web analytics. From there, you can deep dive into your user behaviours. Find out how users reach your site, when they leave your site and everything that happens in between. Each of the statistics can be taken individually or as a whole. Each of them can help us to learn, evaluate and respond to the activities of users in order to meet our business objectives whatever they may be.
It’s true that at first glance web statistics can feel overwhelming. Understanding Google Analytics, which offers a huge amount of collated data for free, is a challenge in itself. It’s easy to feel unsure of which statistics to pay attention to, which really matter, and which you might have any control over.
We suggest starting with a few key metrics. Metrics that can lay the foundations for a better understanding of what’s working on your website, and what could be improved.
Audience statistics are fascinating especially when you first launch your website. Taken together, they allow you to build a profile of the people who are using your site. You’ll find a breakdown of Age, Gender, Location and Lifestyles amongst other things. As you track your audience, and combine your resulting web analytics with a strategic marketing campaign. From there you can look forward to seeing a resulting shift in your audience to coincide with the mission of your campaign. Satisfying and illuminating.
Here you’ll find information about the number of visitors your site is receiving as well as a breakdown of how they behave while on the site. Which page do your visitors arrive on? Which are the pages from which they leave? What times are your visitors accessing your site content? During their visits which pages are they using and how long do they spend there? Putting together all of this information allows you to form a much clearer picture of your customer groups. Of who they are, where they are and what information they’re looking for. Once you have these defined customer personas you can make more targeted and strategic marketing campaigns. You can also craft content to speak directly to each group and from there improve your site offering to speak directly to each groups needs.
Bounce rates describe the extent to which users exit your site after just visiting one page. In general a high bounce rate would indicate that your site is not offering visitors what they want, that your navigation is not intuitive or that you have a slow load time on your site. It’s also important to remember that every niche of every industry has a different bounce rate so be sure to check where yours sits against industry standard. Bounces can also come from customers visiting your page looking for something, finding it immediately – like contact details – and then leaving. Bear this in mind and check your exit pages before you draw too many conclusions.
Top Traffic Source
Understanding where your users come from is vital to assessing your online presence, your marketing effectiveness and how your site SEO measures up. Google Analytics breaks this down into 8 sections: Direct, Organic Search, Referral, Email, Paid Search, Other Advertising, Social and Display. You’ll see the percentage of visitors coming from each of these categories and as you move forward in SEO or PPC advertising, you should also recognise a corresponding shift in these figures.
Type of device
In order to fully optimise your online presence, it’s increasingly important to know how your visitors are accessing your content. If most of your users are mobile users, it’s time to ensure your website is mobile friendly. If not, or if this can be improved, this should be a priority.
These key metrics are the foundation of any web analysis. While basic, they offer a huge amount of demographic and behavioural information. Every piece of this can inform and shape your business and marking strategy in a very significant way. Taking the time to incorporate an understanding of even one or two of these can change the shape of your website traffic and business growth.
Whatever your business idea, we’d love to help. Whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you. They can talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.