As I am reviewing clients current web presence many times I find that clients are not making use of any kind of analytics for their site. They have no idea how many visitors they have on their site and not sure how effective they are with their web presence.
There are a wide range of analytic tools on the market. There are high end enterprise solutions like Coremetrics which will monitor an online store and make relevant recommendations to the site visitor based on previous viewed or purchased products. For today, we are going to focus on Google Analytics and see, while it is a free tool, it does provide a lot of useful information that allows you to have a better understanding of your visitor and how effective your site is.
I am not going to take the time to go through the details of setting up a Google Analytics account and how to add the needed script to a site. If you are needing assistance in doing this please let me know and I would be happy to talk with you about getting you setup.
Google Analytics Dashboards
Above is the Dashboard for Google Analytics. This is where the fun begins for looking at the activities that are happening within a site. We first see a time line that shows the sites total visitors for the past month. This chart always surprises me with the fact that every site has its unique peak peak day. In the above example, we see that Monday and Tuesday are the traffic days for this site. Other sites that I work with vary greatly. One site that I work with peaks on Thursdays and another peaks on Saturdays.
What does this peak tell us? From a marketing stand point, it shows us when we need to drum up traffic to the site. Send out an e-mailing around the low time. Make an offer on a blog to drive traffic to the site. Most action that is taken will clearly be seen in this chart.
The next area that we can look at is the Site Usage, where we are seeing the overall numbers for the given time frame. In this section we see Visits, Pageviews, Pages/Visit, Bounce Rate, Avg. Time on Site and % New Visits. Let look at each of these and get a better understanding of each.
Visits – This is the total number of visitors to the site. In another section in the report there is also a Unique Visitor stat that is unique as defined by a machines IP Address.
Pageviews – This is the total number of pages that were served or viewed by the above users.
Pages/Visit – The average number of pages viewed by each visitor
Bounce Rate – This is an interesting item that is tracked. And can be used as a gauge for how effective or relevant the content of a page is. In other words, If visit comes to the site and looks at the home page then leaves without looking at additional pages that would be one bounce. This becomes informative when you drill down in the report and look at specific pages and see the bounce rates.
Looking at the bounce rate we can gather the value of the page to our visitors. If there is a high bounce rate we may need to look at the content of the page and rethink what is said or show about your product or services.
Avg. Time on Site – This shows the average amount of time that a visitor spends on a site. We can compare the statistics for Bounce Rate with this and get a better idea of the overall effectiveness of the site. If this number is high then we can say that our audience is spending time on the site.
% New Visits – This is the percentage of the total Visits that are new or have an IP Address that has not been to the site previously. When you first start gathering data on your site, this number will be high so keep that in mind as it goes down over a period of time.
Each of these sections can be drilled into further allowing you to see greater detail into your sites activity.
The next section that I would like to focus on today is the Traffic Source Overview. Clicking on the View Report link will allow us to drill down and see a greater wealth of information on the source of our visitors. In this section we will see details about Direct Traffic, Referring Sites and Search Engines. This is were you get a since for the overall value of your site. Questions that I ask when looking at these details are: Where are the largest number of users coming from? Is a large percentage of my traffic coming from a Search Engine? How effective are third party sites at bringing traffic to my site? Is Twitter, Facebook or a Blog driving traffic?
Here is where I can talk about needing a good Search Engine Optimization or SEO plan in place. But you will need to look at you sites data and make that call on your own. Better yet, give me a call and I can help you get a better understanding of what is going on.
Another part of the Traffic Source Overview is the keywords section. Here you will see a list of the actual words that were used to search and find you. Here is where you can monitor the effectiveness of your keywords found on your site. If the words you think are your keywords are not being searched for to find you, you need to revisit your sites content.
Remember, ultimately keywords are king, and those keywords are made up of the relevant content of your site. This is heading to the subject of SEO but we will have to wait to and discuss that at a later time.
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