Website Analytics 101: The Numbers You Should Know
Does your website have analytics that you can access, analyze and review regularly? If you are interested in how your potential customers are interacting with you online, you definitely should. Your web presence is central to your marketing these days, and not just because Google has flipped how we interact with the world on its ear.
More importantly, it's where you can find real hard data on where and how your clients are meeting your business. Where are they coming to you from? Are they getting info as they walk around town? Are they mostly checking you out as they sit at their desk during the day? How much time do they spend interacting with the information on your website? Do they like what they see? Are they crashing into your business and bouncing right back out again?
Curious business owners rejoice! It's time to bring your intuition about your clients' needs together with some pretty interesting numbers.
SITE VISITORS: New vs Returning
The big number that everyone is interested in is of course the number of users to have visited your site over a certain period of time. When checking out this number, take the long view to make sure that you are capturing trends for quarterly, biennial and yearly data. Take note of spikes in activity and if available compare these numbers year over year.
For many businesses, new vs returning can be an essential number to capture. Do you sell products? If so, then it's great to see high returning users, as this could indicate a strong brand fandom. If you provide services with short sales cycles but long gaps in returning need (car sales), then you want to see a high number in that new user column. Once again, try to identify trends in the data and compare data sets to see if you can uncover any behind the scenes motivation.
This is a pretty key stat for any website: how many visitors land on your site and don't take any other action before leaving again. A high bounce rate can indicate that your site is not working properly for your intended users, that you are missing key information users are seeking, or that your site is loading too slowly for extremely sort attention spans.
Dissatisfied clients are just one part of a high bounce rate. The other is your standing with the big hairy deal: Google Search Results. A high bounce rate over an extended period of time damages your site's rank in Google search, and you can start to see a dip in your site visitors if that happens.
There are tools you can access to test your website for usability and page speed, two large factors in a high bounce rate. If you see that your bounce rate is 50% or higher, it's time to start digging into why that might be.
MOBILE VS DESKTOP TRAFFIC
You've heard the stories - mobile devices have changed the way we do business, no matter what business you're in. However, there are some industries that are accessed far more on mobile than on desktop, and vice versa. If you want to know where and how your potential clients are digging around for info on you, figuring out how they search for you online is central.
High mobile traffic means that if you're looking for a website redesign, you should take serious consideration of the way your site appears on small devices, how simple it is to access information quickly, and how well your site is optimized for speed and efficiency. It's a different world of websites when you shrink everything down to a phone screen, and we've all encountered websites that we wished worked better on our phones. Get ahead of your users with smart mobile first design.
NUMBERS NUMBERS EVERYWHERE
Here's the one thing that I will admit about Google Analytics: despite the power of having that data, their user interface is a train wreck. Which means that if you do have analytics, and you do decide to do a little digging, you could find your head spinning merrily away in no time. It's pretty easy to get discouraged when you see a bunch of numbers attached to unfamiliar terminology, and just to add to the fun, pages with missing data.
We want to help! We'll keep providing some tips and tricks here to sorting out analytics numbers that matter most to your business, and we can provide seminars and training sessions where you can come and ask questions! Get in touch if you are interested in learning about how your website is stacking up in the wild, wooly internet obsessed world.
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