Almost every business has a website or should have one to spread brand awareness, sell products and services, connect with audiences, and much more. But how do you know that your website is doing its job at helping your business make money? That’s where website analytics comes in.
What is Website Analytics?
Website analytics involves processing and analysing the behaviour of visitors on a website, including tracking, reviewing, and reporting any data which would be used to measure website activity such as website use and its components. Analytics are helpful in ways such as:
- Determining the likelihood of a customer repurchasing a product after already purchasing it in the past
- Having a personalisation to the site for those customers who visit repeatedly
- Observing how much money individual customers or even groups typically spend
- Researching into geographic regions for closer detail on where most customers are based
- The prediction of future purchases from customers
When you are starting to investigate website analytics, it is important to identify a few key metrics as trying to understand too much could become overwhelming as well as difficult to maintain. As an example, you could firstly look at the bounce rate of just a few pages of your website. Depending on the results you find from doing this, this could then guide you to look further, potentially redesigning your website navigation if customers are finding it difficult to find the information or product.
The Importance of Website Analytics
Did you know that 57% of the world’s population uses the Internet today? With this large number, it is difficult to reach your target audience, which consequently is the most important aspect when it comes to selling your product. Website analytics is important for businesses of all sizes as it will help to understand your customers, make data-driven predictions, and optimise your results.
Website Analytics Definitions
There are many different definitions in website analytics that can seem complex. Here is a breakdown to help you gain a better understanding:
Pageviews are simply the total number of times in which a page has been viewed on your website. These are counted when a page on your site had been loaded by a browser page. These can give you a rough idea of how popular certain pages on your website are, and it is equally important to look at this with other metrics for a comparison of thoughts.
Like pageviews, unique pageviews are the total amount of times a page was viewed by a customer in a single session. In simple terms, if a user viewed the same page numerous times during one session, the unique pageviews would count as one. These can help you to gain a better understanding of how many customers are viewing several pages on your website compared to the popularity of individual pages.
A session is a body of interactions such as page views, CTA clicks and events, which all occur on your site within a certain amount of time. These timeframes can vary depending on what website analytics tool is being used. For example, a session could start when an activity is detected on your website, and it may end when inactivity occurs.
New visitors are simply the number of unique visitors to your site for the first time. You will be able to tell if your website is doing well if it recognises a steady level of new visitors for those who lost interest. A tracking code could be installed on your website as a unique identifier for these users. The placement of cookies in a user’s browser can allow you to track these visitors by this tracking code.
Returning users are the number of visitors who have visited your website before. Some website analytics tools don’t include this metric in their system, but others like Google Analytics do. Here you can see the behaviours which show the ratio of new and returning visitors to your website. This is a beneficial feature as it can give you a sense of how well you are doing in retaining your users.
Traffic sources are external sources which show where your website visitors are coming from. This metric is also collected using the tracking code you would have installed on your site. The number of traffic sources that you can look at will vary depending on what website analytics tool you use. Some types of traffic sources include organic search, email marketing and paid social.
A bounce rate is a percentage of how many visitors leave your website after viewing only one page. You see this metric in two ways, as a page-level metric or a general site-wide metric. It is said that a good bounce rate is lower than 40%, an average bounce rate is anything between 40% to 70%, and anything higher than 70% is high.
Website Analytics Best Practices
Now that we have discussed the importance and types of website analytics, below are some best practices to apply to your own work:
1. Find metrics that reflect your business objectives
Think about what your business objectives are before finding the metrics to reflect them. Consider what your priorities are for your website such as working towards lowering your bounce rate and whether you want to attract new visitors or to be able to retain your existing ones. Once this has been determined, specific strategies will need to be thought of to achieve these goals like changing broken links or your site’s copy.
2. Use your data to aid decision making
The next step will be to think about whether your goals were met, before diving into using the data to experiment with to make further changes to your website. You may have high-value content on a page although this page may not be getting enough traffic. So, to improve this you could change the location of the navigation links to become more visible.
3. Think about more than just traffic
Being able to understand and report data is important, but you shouldn’t waste all your energy on this one piece of performance for your site, as realistically high traffic doesn’t always generate success.
4. Try to consider data with insights
This is an important fact to think about as it is often noticed that pageview statistics alone don’t represent much. Look at your data and insights together and come up with a meaningful statistical sentence to help you become more actionable.
5. Contextualise your data
Contextualising your data will help you to consider variables that could affect the data numbers. As an example, algorithm updates can have a large impact on your website’s traffic and other metrics that involve important data facts.
Website Analytics Tools
There are hundreds and thousands of free website analytics tools that can be downloaded from the internet. People typically think of Google Analytics as the leader of the best analytics tools, but this is only just amongst a vast variety of tools. Before considering what analytics tool is best for your business, consider what your main priorities are and what type of strategies would need to be implemented to improve your business.
Google Analytics – straight from the most popular search engine itself, Google has its own traffic analytics tool which can be used for analyzing website traffic, goal conversions, bounce rates, and real-time visitor count. It is also free to use.
Mixpanel – this advanced product takes business analytics one step further, by being able to track customers’ behaviour and KPIs across mobile apps and websites. In terms of price, it is only free for 1,000 monthly tracked users.
Amplitude – Amplitude is a product intelligence analytics page that is often used for tracking product usage, user behaviour, and funnel conversions. This is free to use for up to 10 million actions per month.
Hubspot – this is a marketing platform with sales analytics software that is often used for measuring traffic, managing leads, email automation, and conversion rate optimization (CRO). The price is $40 a month, although with its large functionality it is highly accessible.
Website Analytics API
A website analytics API is a particular type of application programming interface (API) that can aid automate reporting and managing how data can be processed as well as providing a deeper understanding of your website’s data.
Using Website Analytics to Improve Your Website
No matter the size of your business, website analytics are the most important aspect to help you and your company expand. It is always good to consider all types of website analytics from pageviews to bounce rates to returning visitors, as they all hold value to the larger picture of analytical metrics. Paying close attention to collecting, reporting, and analysing data about your website, will highly improve and levitate your user’s experience on your website.
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