Understanding Your Website Statistics
With Google Analytics (GA) providing a solution containing a plethora of statistics and which is extremely easy to integrate with any website, it's no wonder there are claims that Google Analytics is the website statistics provider of choice for approximately 49% of the 1,000,000 most popular websites in the world. Aside from GA, there are other solutions (StatCounter.com is one of them) which also aim to provide you with detailed information on who is using your website and how.
To the average business owner though, are website statistics something you should have an interest in?
Are there so many statistics available to you that you have no idea which ones are important or what to do with the information they give you?
Below are 5 questions which will give you a starting point to understanding your website statistics.
Is Traffic Arriving at my Website?
"Traffic" refers to the number of people who visit your website. This is information that every statistics provider will supply you with, and usually there are 3 numbers you want to be making a note of.
- Total Visitors: This is the number of people who have visited your website. If a user visits your website twice, they will be recorded as 2 visitors.
- Absolute Visitors: This is the number of unique people who have visited your website. If a user visits your website twice, they will only be recorded as 1 visitor.
- Returning Visitors: This is the Total Visitors, minus the Absolute Visitors.
So how can you use this information?
The Total Visitors will tell you how much your website is being used. If this number is low, you need to work out how you can increase it. Doing so might include optimising your website for specific keywords, online banner advertising, offline advertising, including the website URL in your emails, using Social Media websites such as Facebook or Twitter, etc.
Absolute Visitors gives an indication as to how many people are finding your website for the first time. If this number is low, it probably means that your website is not showing up prominently in search engines, or that other advertising formats are not as effective as they could be.
If you have a low number of Returning Visitors, either the information on your website was everything they needed and therefore there was no need to come back, or the information wasn't relevant to what the person was searching for, and they went elsewhere. More often than not the information wasn't as complete or relevant as it should have been.
Where is the Traffic Coming From?
There are usually there are 3 places that website traffic comes from:
- Direct: This means people have seen or heard about your website address somewhere, and typed it into their browser directly. A large number here would usually mean that your 'offline' marketing is working well. If the number is quite small, you should consider ways to improve your 'offline' marketing.
- Referer: This means people have seen a link to your website on another website, and clicked on it. If you are spending money advertising your website through online methods, you want to know that those methods are effective. If people are not being referred from where your advertising is, you need to either modify your advert, or advertise elsewhere.
- Search Engines: This means people have used a search engine and your website has appeared in the results. If you have a low number here, you need to either look at your Search Engine Optimisation, or you may be targeting the wrong keywords.
How Long are Visitors Staying?
Ideally you want as large a number here as possible. If the time that a visitor spends on your website is small, it usually indicates that the content you have is not relevant, or is not enough. If the visitor is leaving your website quickly, they are probably going to another website to find the information they are looking for - which may well be one of your competitors.
What are the most Popular Pages?
Good website statistics solutions tell you which pages on your website have been viewed the most. This gives you an indication of the topics which are relevant to your website visitors, but also means that if you have important information or banner advertising, these are good places to put them as you know they will be seen.
Are my Website Goals being Achieved?
Once you have considered the above statistics, the next thing to look at is your goals. If you have 500 absolute visitors each day to your website, and your goal is that people will call you for more information, how many people are actually calling? If the number is low, you need to have a look at why your website isn't encouraging them to call you.
If your website goal is to have 500 absolute visitors each day but you are only getting 300, you need to find ways of increasing that number. Check your referers, check your popular pages, adjust the content and your offline marketing ass required.
If your website goal is to have people stay on your website for at least 5 minutes, check the average time they spend on your website. If the goal is not being achieved, have a look at the information to work out what needs to be modified.
There are a number of goals you may have set, understanding the statistics is the first step to finding out if they are being achieved and how to identify any changes you may need to make.
For more information about understanding your website statistics, or if you would like to have website statistics integrated with your website, please Contact Us.