Being the detailed and fairly pedantic person that I am, I constantly track, monitor and ensure I understand what’s happening with my website and for my client sites. I find this analysis an integral part of understanding what visitors are interested in and improve content accordingly. It’s also reassuring to know where the traffic is coming from, and when. What actions have I taken to encourage well targeted traffic? When’s the best time to send out marketing emails, post a new blog or announce something on Twitter?
Without analysis of these details I would be blind to the affects of all my online activity – and there’s no fun in that – it’s quite a satisfying thing to post a new blog, tweet about it and then watch the traffic activity and blog comments start coming in. You then know that what you do is not just of interest to you – it is adding value to your customers and target market.
So here are a list of some key things any website owner should know about their website:
- unique visits to the site for any given period
- your top traffic sources and search key words used
- when peaks in traffic have occurred and why (correlated with marketing activity)
- what pages (or blog posts) are the most popular
- average time spent on the site and on each page
- trends for all of the above
These are the main things I always look at using Google Analytics but there are many more metrics available through this tool. It’s also good to know the “bounce rate” (what % of people leave the site after just viewing 1 page), and for the sake of understanding how people use your website check out the “site overlay” function to see the percentage of clicks on any link for each page.
Another key area is “Conversions”. You can set goals on the behaviour you want people to take and track the conversion % achieved. For example if you have a booking system within your site you could have a goal to have 5% of the traffic convert to bookings. Some booking systems will let you add your google analytics user code so you can effectively track the usage of the booking process (The Siteminder Booking button is one example of this).
It’s amazing how many businesses barely look at their website statistics, which is a shame because online marketing is one of the few marketing activities where you can accurately track activity from marketing campaigns – you can and should use this knowledge to monitor and improve you marketing strategy.
Interested to hear about what other metrics people typically monitor for their websites too, share your thoughts!