If you aren’t monitoring your web traffic, you should be
With the sheer volume of websites on the Internet today, just having one up and running isn’t enough anymore. In order to get the most out of your investment you need to be tracking visitors to your website and monitoring what they do when they arrive. This will undoubtedly help increase traffic and increase conversions too.
Sadly, the reason most websites fail to perform, alongside poor design/functionality/usability etc. is simply because they ignore objectives when creating a web strategy or don’t bother measuring how well their online marketing performs against their desired targets. If you aren’t monitoring whether or not your site is meeting its objectives by measuring certain key performance indicators then how will you know if you’re on the right track?
Google Analytics is the indsutry leader
Perhaps one of the most commonly used web analytics packages today is Google Analytics. The reason it’s so popular is not only because it’s free but also because it has such a comprehensive list of features. It also happens to be ridiculously easy to sign up to and begin using. There are of course a number of more advanced tools however for the vast majority of small to medium businesses, Google Analytics is more then sufficient. You’ll find that most packages will track users in round about the same way. You’ll have to put a particular tracking code on each page of your website in order for the analytics package to follow all of your visitors as they slowly move through your website.
There are a number of meaningful things you can measure with an analytics package but the most common is the number of visitors the website has received.
Most packages will show two different statistics and these include:
- Total visitors - this is also known as sessions and this figure counts each and every visit to the website. This will even count the same person if they return on more than one occasion.
- Unique visitors - otherwise known as users. This figure will have filtered out repeat visitors so each person is only counted the once.
You may find that another common measurement is made and that’s number of page views. This will count the different pages which are viewed on your website giving you an idea as to which is most popular however isn’t as vital as the aforementioned statistics.
Pinpoint exactly which one of your marketing activities are effective
Knowing exactly how your visitors found your website is crucial as it enables you to pinpoint exactly which one of your marketing activities are effective, along with telling you which ones aren’t. One of the main routes that traffic will take to get to your website is via a link from another site. These are known as ‘referrers’ and their data is actually very valuable indeed. If, for instance, a review gets posted about your product or service and it contains a link straight to your website then your referrer will show you that the review exists. Search engines are another great source of traffic and by using Google Analytics or any other analytic tool, you can find out the search terms people are typing in to find your website as well as where search engines rank your website in comparison to your competitors.
Web analytics in relation to search might enlighten you hugely as you may find that people are arriving at your website via keywords and search engines you weren’t even aware of. If you happen to be running marketing campaigns along with adverts then you can track traffic from those campaigns. Putting an objective in your mind when it comes to your campaign will help you to see how well it’s performing. As well as telling you which channel your visitors have used in order to reach you, they can also tell you their location. This can be really useful if you plan on targeting customers in a certain area.
Improve conversion rates by analysiing visitor use
How a visitor uses your website can speak volumes about the quality of its content and whether or not its easily navigable. Analysing this particularly can therefore help you to develop the website further and improve conversion rates as a result. Find out what percentage of visitors do what you want and convert to your desired objective. Your objective will usually be to persuade a visitor to complete an action such as liking a post on Facebook, contacting you via a submit form or simply making a purchase.
A great example is the fact that you can create a goal which tracks when someone makes a purchase from your website and monitors how much they actually spend. You can even track those who fail to complete which is hugely beneficial in terms of identifying problems with an online order process for example. You may find it’s too complicated or a little sticky and by simplifying it somewhat through installing faster payment software, you may get a higher conversion rate fairly quickly. You may even find that parts of your website content are completely ineffective which will have huge impacts if your website is content driven.
Save money and cut costs
Here at Wecan Media we can’t stress enough the value of web analytics. Monitoring web traffic can be hugely beneficial particularly for small businesses that may not have the resources to do all types of online marketing. This will allow them to see where it’s worth directing energy and resources and will help them save money and cut costs at the same time however it’s important to note that there simply isn’t any point in getting results of web analytics if you aren’t going to do anything with them. If however you take the time to interpret your results and make simple marginal changes every quarter, you’ll no doubt notice a rather worthwhile difference.