First and foremost, if your website doesn’t have analytics installed, it is a must do. Analytics allow you to see important statistics about your website, including how many visitors are coming to your website, how long visitors are staying on your website, how visitors found your website and much more exciting data.
And the best thing about web analytics is you can get it for free. Simply go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ to get started.
Once your website analytics are installed, start reviewing and assessing the data on a regular basis. We recommend reviewing your website stats at least once a month and begin to identify trends and opportunities to enhance your website. While there are endless ways to drill down into the data, we have provided eight website statistics you should be reviewing.
1. Unique visitors: The number of unique visits will give you a true understanding of how many people actually visited your website in a given time period. This means if I visited your website 20 times in one month, I’m only counted as one unique visitor for that month. However, “visits” can include one person visiting your website multiple times.
2. Average time on the site: If the average time on your website is low (less than a minute), this means visitors are not finding your website content valuable. Take a closer look at the stats and determine why this might be occurring. Ways to increase the time visitors spend on your site include adding video, articles, whitepapers or blogs that feature relevant content.
3. Bounce rate: The bounce rate is the number of visitors who come to your website and then immediately “bounce” or leave. If your bounce rate is high (50% or more), take a closer look into the stats and see why people are immediately leaving. A high bounce rate can reduce your search engine rankings.
4. Visitor loyalty: For most businesses, it is important to keep bringing back customers and prospects to your website. If visitor loyalty is important to your business, determine how many returning vs. new visitors are coming to your site.
If the number of returning visitors is low, brainstorm ways to increase visitor loyalty. For example, if you sell cookware, post recipes on a regular basis or develop and distribute an e-newsletter that brings customers/prospects back to your website.
5. Traffic sources: There are three ways visitors can be coming to your website – directly, through a search engine or through a link on another website. If you have a high percentage of visitors coming directly to your site, kudos to you. This means you have good brand awareness and either the visitor is typing your URL directly into his or her browser or your URL is book marked.
Drill down into the referring traffic to find out what sites are linking to your website. Look to see if there are any types of sites (blogs, media, etc.) that do a good job of driving quality traffic to your website and determine a way to get other similar sites to link to your website.
6. Keywords: Take a look at what keywords are driving traffic to your website. This will be particularly important if you are conducting search engine optimization.
7. Content: Drill down into what pages are getting the most visits, what pages are being ignored, at what pages people are entering the site and at what pages people are exiting the site. This will help determine what content is most valuable for your visitors and ways you can increase the time spent on your site.
8. Goals: You can set up tracking on your analytics to identify when visitors complete a “goal”. For example, you might set up a goal for an ecommerce purchase or a goal for when a contact form is submitted. We highly recommend adding “goals” because it will enable you to track these “goals” over time and determine how tweaks to the website or marketing campaigns are affecting the achieved goals.
Once you start reviewing your website analytics regularly and get comfortable with the data, you can start drilling down even further. The fun never ends!