Admit it: You know web analytics can be useful and informative, but you don’t look at them as much as you should (beyond checking out how many visitors you had), and aren’t entirely sure you understand what you’re looking at.
The good news is you certainly aren’t alone in that conundrum. A lot of our clients check their web analytics somewhere between “rarely” and “never.” And of the ones that do, most peek at the convenient graphs to make sure someone is reading their blog posts and then move on.
The bad news is that you could be missing out on some really important details – including a few that could help you make your website significantly more profitable – by failing to study important signs and indicators. Getting the “big-picture view” you’re looking for doesn’t have to be that hard; you just have to understand a few basics.
Here are five web analytics details you can’t afford to ignore:
1. Your top traffic sources. This isn’t just important for the obvious reason, that you want to know which parts of your advertising and promotion are working, but also because you want to know what type of visitors are coming to your website and what’s on their mind when they click through. That knowledge can help you subtly change the way pages are written and constructed, because you’ll have a better sense of what your visitors actually want.
2. Popular referral keywords. If people are using your most important search engine optimization phrases to find your website, you’re in good shape. However, if you’re finding a lot of terms that aren’t relevant to your business, it might be time to adjust your SEO strategy. Also, you’ll want to see whether or not your focus keywords are leading to conversions, since getting lots of traffic doesn’t always lead to big results.
3. Time on site. This is a sneaky statistic – one that’s incredibly important but not always noticed often enough. If visitors are coming to your site and staying, that’s a very good sign even if they aren’t making purchases or calling your business right away. At the very least, they’re finding something that’s interesting and relevant to them. On the other hand, if you have lots of visitors but very little time being spent on your website, that’s a sign you need more content, better usability, or a different kind of visitor than the one you’re getting.
4. Bounce rates. While they generally get a bad name, bounce rates, the percentage of people who leave your site from a specific web page, don’t always indicate problems. In fact, a high bounce rate in certain areas could indicate that a visitor found what they were looking for and then moved on. High bounce rates on specific landing pages could tell you that conversions aren’t as strong as they need to be, though, so they’re important to keep an eye on.
5. Conversion goals. Presumably there’s something you’re hoping people will do when they visit your website. Maybe you want them to buy something from your online store or fill out a form with their contact information so they can receive a free e-book. Whatever it is, you’ll want to keep a close eye on those stats. Don’t just study the net results, but also what type of visitors are responding to your offer, what search terms your converted visitors used, and so on. That data is going to make your campaign stronger over the long term.
Your website’s analytics reporting can seem complicated and arcane when you first start using it. Spend a little time getting to know the major features and tools, however, and we guarantee you’ll be comfortable in no time. Better yet, you’ll understand where your web traffic is coming from and how you can make the most of it.
KINETIK IT NOTE: When you are inside the Customization tab, click on the gallery link. Many smart and experienced analysts have put together a variety of high quality reports. You can find what you need and easily install in your dashboard. Here is a the Google Analytics Custom Report resource: https://www.google.com/analytics/gallery/