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Tracking the Success of Your Website – Google Analytics

How successful is your website? Do you really know how well it is performing for your business?

Many website owners make the mistake of thinking that the more traffíc they get to their website the better, and they work towards this end. It is better to focus efforts on bringing in targeted traffíc that will convert to salës or enquiries. To understand more correctly how well a website is performing, and who is visiting the website, a good website statistics package is required, as well as an understanding of the data these website reports produce.

With many website hostíng packages frëe, website statistics are available. However, the information is not always easy to understand or doesn’t always give you the information in a way that is easy to understand.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great application that Google provides absolutely frëe. It tracks all activity on your website, not just visits through Google. All you need is a Google Account, and FTP access to your website to insert a small amount of code in your website, and away you go. If you don’t already have a Google account, I encourage you to set one up as soon as possible! You can do so at: https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount . Not only will you have access to Google Analytics, but having a Google account gives you a whole host of other tools.

Visitors

As a start, it is a good idea to find out how many visitors are coming to your website. Visitors are broken down into new and returning visitors. While it is great to attract new visitors to your site, you should aim to see a decent percentage of returning visitors as well, as this gives a good indication that people find your site interesting enough to come back to.

Depth of Visit

How many pages are viewed during a visit to your website?

Length of Visit

How much time do visitors spend on your website? If they are spending very little time on your site when you have an information-rich site, then you need to start looking at the navigational report to find out where you are losing them.

Keywords

The Keywords that people are finding your website through, are a good indication of what keywords are performing well for you in the search engines. Are the keywords that are displaying for you truly reflective of what you offër? If not, then it is time to revamp the content on your website.

Referrals

Which referrals drive the highest quality traffíc? This report lists activity coming via referrals from other websites. This is useful for tracking links that you cannot control. You can gauge the overall effectiveness and importance of PR activities, partnerships, etc. The referrals are compared to the number of visits, page views per visit, conversion rates and average value per visit.

Navigation

Which navigation paths resulted in conversions during the visit? For each navigation path, this report shows conversion rates and the value per visit.

Exit Pages

>From which pages do visitors commonly exit your site? This report shows the number of exits from pages on your site. If you notice a high number of exits for specific pages, it is time to seriously analyze these pages and try to improve them, because it is very likely that people are not getting the information they expect or want.

Conversion data

Arguably this is one of the most important pieces of information. Conversion data gives you a true understanding of how successful your site really is.

Conversional goals can be set up through your Analytics settings. Take time to think about what goals you want to track. These may be salës or web enquiries you are receiving, or specific pages in your website that you want to focus on. Keep in mind that if your visitor contacts you by telephone or fax, this will not be reflected in the goal conversions. However, you can set your contact page as being a goal to get a feel for how many people are looking for your contact details.

By monitoring the changes in conversion rates for your primary goals, you can monitor the overall effectiveness of website changes, marketing roll-outs and other events.

Organic vs Pay-Per-Clíck comparison

How does paid search compare with organic search in driving high quality traffíc to my site? This report compares paid and organic referrals with respect to number of visits, page views per visit, conversion rates and average visit value.

Date Range

Throughout the report it gives you the ability to track your website statistics between various date ranges. At this time it only allows you to see a maximum of a month’s data at a time. The reports also allow you to compare data, so you can find out how your site is tracking against a previous date period.

Beta Version

The current Beta which is just in the process of being released, provides a lot more flexibility, and one of the most exciting things about the new version is that it allows you to schedule reports, daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. This is great news as it makes the process of accessing your website reports even easier.

Google Analytics Features

There are many other features that Google Analytics offers, and it is worth spending the time having a good look at them and trying to understand what they have to offër you. Alternatively, speak to your webmaster or SEO specialist and get them to help you understand how Google Analytics can help improve your website performance. By having a better understanding of it, you can potentially íncrease your profíts significantly.

Final Note

When you analyze the data from your website statistics with the intention of improving your site, or getting a good indication of how your site is performing, it is important that you have a decent snapshot of the data to work from, i.e. make sure that you are not making assumptions based on the data of a single day, as trends vary over time, and even from day-to-day. IMPORTANT- nevër become complacent! Make sure you review your website reports at least weekly or monthly–if not daily–to make sure that your website is performing to your expectations.

About The Author
Andrew Seidel is the Director of Quantum Web Solutions, specialising in web site design and web site promotion .