Web analytics deliver data about your website, your visitors and their behaviour, so you can measure what’s working and what isn’t, and improve your website’s performance and conversion rates.
Why is Web Analytics Important?
Using web analytics, you can track where your web traffic is coming from, what kinds of blog posts, topics and pages attract the most traffic, what day of the week is the busiest in terms of traffic, and what kinds of keywords people are typing into search engines to arrive at your website. You can also track where and how your traffic converts to sales leads, and where those leads come from.
This kind of information is invaluable in helping you to maximise your online marketing and sales generation leads, and improving your user experience. Using web analytics to track the kinds of data mentioned, you can identify the best days to publish blog posts and the topics that are of the most interest to your readers. You can determine which kinds of content will best serve the needs of your online audience, and make informed decisions on the types of eBooks, online courses, podcasts or additional informational products to offer. You can pinpoint how best to spend your online marketing budget, which keywords to target for Google Adwords, and which phrases to focus on for your ongoing search engine optimisation efforts. You can decide whether dedicating time to social media marketing is working for you, and whether you should continue engagement across multiple platforms or focus your attention on just one network. And you can identify additional opportunities for more traffic and leads – even in target markets that might have ordinarily occurred to you.
If you don’t analyse the current state of your website data, visitors, traffic and conversions, how will you know what areas need to be further developed or improved? Ignoring web analytics is throwing away opportunities to improve not only the functionality of your website, but also to expand, focus or develop your product offerings to best meet the needs or your target market.
A Roadmap to Success
Imagine you need to drive to a marketplace you’ve never visited before to sell your products. You look up the directions and head out on the road, convinced that this market is going to generate a lot of interest in your business or products. You think the trip will take around 45 minutes… but after an hour of driving you still haven’t reached your destination. Do you give up, frustrated, and turn the car around to drive home? Or do you take a minute to pull over and check a map to make sure you’re on the right road, adjust course if you need to, and then continue on your way?
Obviously you wouldn’t drive an hour just to turn around and drive all the way home without having sold one product. And using your website to sell your business and products to customers online is very similar. Sometimes you might feel like you’re not getting to where you want to be in terms of sales fast enough – but that doesn’t mean you should throw your hands in the air and shut shop on your online storefront. It also doesn’t mean crossing your fingers, hoping for the best and continuing on without checking your map, though. And in the case of your business website, your map is your web analytics.
If you really want your website to work to your advantage, to gain a good flow of traffic and to turn your visitors into sales, you need to check in with your map regularly to ensure you’re on the right track and helping your website to be the best it can be.
What Data is Most Important?
So which web metric should you focus on? Really, it depends on the kind of business you’re running and what you want to achieve via your website, but as a general rule it pays to keep an eye on the below data for a good overview of your website usability, traffic sources, visitor profiles and conversion statistics.
- Page views
- Time spent on your site
- Click map
- Click paths
- Referral websites
- Referral search engines
- Direct visits
- Offline campaigns and dedicated URLs
- Online campaigns and tracked links
- Geography of visitors
- New visitors
- Returning visitors
- Sales and conversions
- Exit rates
Wondering which web analytics tools to try out for yourself? Check out yesterday’s post on Top Website Analytics Tools for a selection of some of the most popular general and more specialised options.