How To Use Analytics for Your Site
By now everybody with a website is familiar with the concept SEO keywords. These are great for driving traffic to your site but are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding what people do once they’ve reached your site.
Applying analytics is the next step for increasing visitors and sales. Using analytics on your website can help you learn a great deal about your site as well as the visitors who click on it. As the phrase goes, knowledge is power. The more you know about your customers, the easier it will be to provide them with the service they want.
The information you post on your site is put there with the intention that will engage your potential customers. Unfortunately, sometimes we miss the mark and end up with content that our customers are not interested in. Analytics can help you avoid this situation.
The basic process for applying analytics is deciding what you want to measure, applying the right tools, reviewing the data, and making changes based on what you’ve learned.
We use these tactics ourselves. When we started building our service for SEO Melbourne, we combed through lots of data. It helped in the design and targeting of our new service.
What You Can Measure
The range of metrics you can measure with analytics is vast. Below are some of the most basic measurements that provide you with a ton of information:
- Total number of visitors overall and within a specified amount of time
- Which pages your visitors spend the most amount of time on
- Which search engines your visitors used to find you
- The percentage of visitors who accessed one page of your site and then exited
- The average amount of time spent on your site
- How much you make in online sales
With this information, you can learn which parts of your site are effective, whether or not you are reaching your target demographic, and where to spend your marketing dollars.
Tools for Measuring
Once you’ve decided what you want to measure, you need to decide which tools you’re going to use. There are several options to choose from, each with their own benefits.
It should be no surprise that this internet magnate offers analytics. Users can try a free demo before committing to a program, and registration for the program is free. There are options customized for small and large businesses, as well as mobile apps.
Google has set up their program so that user only needs to complete three steps – fill in a form about what you want to measure, add a tracking code to your site, and review the data from Google.
This program collects info on just about every metric – demographics, comparisons to similar companies, sales, site performance, and more.
This program offers info in real time, so you can see exactly what is happening on your site as it happens.
One of the major benefits of Clicky is that it records which keywords were used to search for your site, and automatically attaches them to your site, making it easier for others to find it.
Also, with a premium account, you can access heat maps, which give you a visual representation of where your visitors are clicking. This program offers a 30-day free trial.
This program collects data similar to that provided by Google Analytics, along with basic statistics, the total number of visits compared to unique visits, what content is the most popular, and what type of browser the visitor is using.
Users pay a one-time fee instead of a monthly subscription, and can customize the interface.
If you have more than one website you want to study, Woopra may be your solution. The fee for this program varies depending on how large your site is, so for bigger sites it can be expensive.
The data provided includes what each individual user is doing on your site, tracking comments and searches, and how the website is being used. Ideally, this tool is used for studying visitor engagement.
Using the Data
Having the data is great, but what do you do with it? Once you have your data sets, compare them to your business goals.
Reviewing the content you post is one of the easiest parts of your site to review using the date you’ve collected. Look at the metrics regarding where people click on your site, which pages have the most visits, and how long visitors spend on each page.
Obviously, the pages with the most hits are the most popular. However, examine which parts of those pages are getting the most attention. Do people spend more time reading certain kinds of blog posts, or do they select the page and immediately leave again? This information will let you know whether the pages are popular for their content, or because the title of the page is misleading.
Another business goal that is simple to review is how people find your page in the first place. For example, if your data shows that most of your visitors find your site by looking on a certain search engine, you can direct some of your marketing dollars towards appearing on that engine instead of others.
Also, review your bounce rate. This is the percentage of people who land on one page of your site and then leave. If your site has a fairly high bounce rate, it’s likely that the keywords used in a search resulted in your page showing up, but they aren’t actually applicable to the page.
Consider switching up the keywords tagged on your site. Your goal is to have people find your site who are interested in the content, rather than those who reach it by accident.
If you’ve chosen a program that shows you a heat map, study the patterns. This will show you where your visitors look on your site, which portions of the pages they find engaging, and which parts get ignored. Parts of the site that get skimmed over are not contributing anything of value.
For example, do the majority of visitors view a link, but ignore the adjacent images? If so, you may want to try removing the image, or changing it up with one more relevant to the contents of the link.
Putting these tools into action will give you a much clearer idea of what happens on your site. By studying the data and making a few small changes, you can drive sales, increase site traffic, and provide your customers with exactly what they're looking for.