Web Analytics: Monitor & Improve Site Performance
Data is becoming an ever increasing asset for businesses to maintain their competitive edge. You’ve probably heard the term ‘big data’ and how large organisations process large sets of data to determine trends and patterns. For businesses, access to data is a vital component of analysing and improving their website in order to increase customer business intelligence and engagement. While many smaller businesses might believe that using data in this way is too technical, expensive, or simply out of their reach, it’s actually easier than most think.
The tools you need are probably already there… and they’re free
The first stop on your path to using data, is Google Analytics. It’s not that I’m a massive Google fanboy trying to shove Google-based solutions in everyone’s face. It’s just that our search engine friends know data, and they’ve created incredibly smart (and free) tools to help businesses collect and analyse this data. Analytics is a great way to start collecting and analysing data around how people are discovering and using your website. If your web provider knows their stuff, they’ve probably already got analytics page tags in place and may have already mentioned that you have access to analytics data. Here are some thoughts on what the data can help you with.
Data tells you about your website and how people are getting there
Google Analytics can show you search queries that visitors are using that bring up your website in Google search results. This can help you to understand where you need to improve your website content or carry out additional SEO (search engine optimization) work. It’ll also be clear what aspects of your site are working as expected.
Data gives you some insight into where in the world your visitors are
Analytics will give you a breakdown of what countries your website traffic is coming from. If you’re selling to overseas customers, this will be very useful in determining where traffic is coming from, allowing you to increase or adjust marketing efforts accordingly. If you’re a blogger, you’ll get insight into who’s reading your posts.
Data helps you understand the channels by which people arrive at your site
Analytics will indicate whether visitors to your site arrived by directly punching your website address into their browser, whether they searched using a popular search engine, or whether they were ‘referred’ by another site. This all helps to understand how customers are getting to you, again allowing you to adjust marketing efforts as needed.
Data tells you where people are landing when they hit your site
Analytics will show you which of your website pages visitors are landing on when they arrive at your website. This will provide insight into which pages on your site are possibly more effective from a search perspective, and also suggest what is of greater interest to users.
Data lets you measure/evaluate whether your website is meeting its objectives
If your website is meant to funnel customers to your online store or generate online enquiries, then Analytics is going to give you an idea of whether this objective is being met. You should also be able to pick up where visitors are dropping out of the funnel.
Data tells you who’s really interested and who’s not hanging around to find out more
Possibly one of the most useful Analytics feature is the extent to which visitors are looking around on your site or whether they’re leaving as soon as they’ve arrived. This is called ‘Bounce Rate’. It’s a measure of the extent to which users have left immediately after arriving and those who have clicked through to a second or third page. There are a number of ways of interpreting bounce rates and this can also be combined with a metric that shows you what returning visitors are navigating to.
Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool that goes well beyond the ideas mentioned above. So talk to your web provider about how you can use Analytics to gain a deeper insight into how existing and potential customers are finding their way to your website, what they’re looking for, and whether they’re actually finding it. The data will help you to understand how to improve and maintain your website. The great thing about it is that you can start small and slowly tweak your site and your analytics goals. Over time, combining and correlating the data points mentioned above can allow you to increase customer conversion and grow your business.
Written by Dustin Bisschoff, a Shore based graphic designer and web developer, Benefitz old-boy, customer consultant, and post-grad business student.
Dustin's old workmates at Benefitz can help you with virtually all of your web development and related requirements. Contact Aaron or Charlotte to discuss your needs: