One of the many lessons I learned that summer was the importance of continually analyzing website data; it was a daily practice at our company. My boss knew that it was the way of the future and he was exactly right.
The Answer’s In The Analytics
Any successful business today invests incredible amounts of time and energy into data analytics, and their biggest decisions and revisions often revolve around their analytic findings. No matter what stage your company is in, the earlier you adopt this strategic habit, the better off you’ll be. You will quickly start to notice patterns and repetitive behaviors of your website visitors, and through this you will gain an understanding of what they’re really looking for.
What I’ve personally learned from using analytic data is that I don’t always know my customer base as much as I think I do. Their hidden behaviors and thoughts are not always what I’d expect, so to be able to view their detailed engagement with my website is tremendously valuable.
Getting Started With Google Analytics
At Artbees we provide WordPress themes that are compatible with Google Analytics – the leading service for gathering web analytic data. The great news is that you can incorporate it for free with your WordPress website. By taking the time to understand the metrics featured and learning to adjust your theme, design and strategy accordingly, you will undoubtedly see major developments in your business.
Metrics That Matter Most
The amount of analytic information that is gathered in Google Analytics is virtually endless and can be quite overwhelming for the average user. This powerful tool allows you to continually learn how to use the data to your advantage, but for now – if you’re just starting out – we suggest comparing and contrasting these three metrics:
1) Direct vs. Search vs. Referral Traffic
What are they? Direct traffic refers to viewers who type your url directly into their web browser. Search traffic includes visitors who found your website from a search query online. Referral traffic is the number of people who ended up on your site because it was linked on a different website.
How to view them? When you go to the Google Analytics home page first select “Reporting” at the top of the page, then head to “Audience” found on the left hand side, choose “Overview”, then click “All Users” and from there you can select the three segments which I mentioned. Once you click “Apply” you should see an Audience Overview on the Reporting Page.
Ways to adapt your website. If you see that one of the metrics needs work you can improve your direct traffic by running more promotions on social media, improve your search traffic by working on your SEO, or improve referral traffic by networking more with other bloggers or companies to cross-promote. These are just a few ideas, but there are numerous ways in which you can use traffic data to improve your marketing strategy.
2) Bounce Rate vs. Non-Bounce Sessions
What are they? Bounce Rate shows you the percentage of visitors who viewed one webpage and then exited without visiting any other pages. Non-Bounce Sessions show the total number of visitors who checked out other webpages other than the one they landed on.
How to view them? In the “Audience Overview” section. You will find two drop down boxes that have “vs” written between them. You can select “Sessions” and “Bounce Rate”. I would suggest adjusting your Sessions to include Bounce Sessions and Non-Bounce Sessions which you can do after clicking “All Users”.
Ways to adapt your website. If you see that you have a high bounce rate, I would include call to action buttons at the top of your landing page. This way, you’re providing visitors with the availability of your service before they exit. You may also want to find ways to entice viewers to read on. Perhaps leave them with a cliff-hanger or a special offer that they need to redeem on a different page.
3) Landing vs. Exit Pages
What are they? Landing Pages report a list of webpages that viewers are entering your site from, whereas Exit Pages provides a list of pages that your visitors are leaving your website from. These are important to look at because you want to be sure you are optimizing information on the landing page and seeing customers leaving at appropriate points of the website (form completion or order form completion pages for example).
How to view them? From “Reporting” click “Behavior” which is located on the left hand sidebar. Then hit “Site Content” and then “Landing Pages” or “Exit Pages”.
Ways to adapt your website. Make sure there is a logical progression of where visitors should be traveling on your website. Clear navigation can make the difference between a customer exiting from the landing page or during checkout, versus exiting from a “thank you” message after making a purchase. Set markers and call to action buttons wherever you see fit.
Data’s Your Web’s Best Friend
Hopefully this information will allow you to improve your website and user experience in a variety of ways. Even as I sit here and look over my own Google Analytics, I am seeing many areas of improvement which I’m eager to tweak. Perhaps you have a few goals set for your own website as well. It’s important not to let your site remain stagnant. Let your company grow with your customer pool, and don’t forget to take your analytic data along for the ride.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of analytic data. It is an integral part of any growing business and the demand for data-analysis is only going to increase over time.
- Google Analytics can be linked to your WordPress website for free, and should be done as soon as possible for an accurate company history.
- Analyzing traffic patterns explains where visitors are discovering your website, allowing you to improve your marketing strategy for the future.
- Bounce Rates and Sessions reveal how many viewers are exiting your website after just one look at the landing page.
- Landing Pages and Exit Pages provide insight into individual web pages that viewers are entering and exiting from.