Tracking Analytics: What They Are and How to Leverage Them
How many people are visiting your current website? When they visit, do you know how long they are scrolling and reading your content, which time of day they’re exploring your site, where visitors are located, and which demographic groups they might belong to?
Web analytics—the collection, assessment, and subsequent interpretation of your site’s data—can answer all of these questions. Here is a quick guide to understanding what analytics are and how you can use them to your advantage.
What Web Analytics Are and How They Operate
To use a web analytics tool, like Google Analytics, on your website, you will first need to enter a snippet of code into the HTML on every page you want to track. You’ll also be given a tracking ID for your website. Once embedded, the analytics tool will monitor and log every interaction a visitor has with your website.
It notes which specific pages the visitor opens and how long they are on each page. It also can tell you whether they share your content or open one of your pay-per-click ads. Every touchpoint is also tracked and sorted according to device.
Site administrators can review data from the analytics tool on a dashboard-style platform. A basic interface will show the number of visits (also known as sessions), unique visitors, total page views, the page view per session ratio, the average session duration, and the bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who leave your website after checking out only a single page).
The interface will also have a real-time graph displaying the site’s number of visitors over time and a separate chart demonstrating the percentage split between new visitors and repeat visitors.
With Google Analytics and other enterprise-class web analytics tools, the dashboard will allow you explore high-value audience information such as age, gender, geographic location, in-market segments, and affinity categories. Typically, you will need to enable these features and will receive a data report 24 hours after you’ve done so.
The dashboard will allow you to check audience engagement and return rates and see which kinds of browsers and mobile devices your visitors are using. Perhaps most importantly, it allows you to create visitor acquisition goals using campaigns like Google Adwords and keywords.
How to Make Analytics Work for Your Website
All of the data that your analytics tool provides can be overwhelming. Instead of getting lost in the numbers, charts, graphs, and percentages, focus on the analytics reports that can help you increase revenue and provide more relevant content to your audience.
See What Your Audience Is Searching For
Check the search terms your audience most frequently types in into your site search box (located under Behavior in Google Analytics). Search terms can inform you about the kind of content you should be providing to your audience at the top level web pages, or otherwise prominently feature on your website.
Let’s say the analytics of a well-known bakery franchise’s website has the recurring search term, “How to Bake a Vegan Cake.” That one term provides the company with potential revenue-producing options; i.e. offering more vegan cakes in-house, offering vegan baking classes, publishing vegan baking web articles, and developing a vegan baking cookbook.
See How Your Mobile Site Converts—Or Doesn’t
Mobile device use surpassed desktop use sometime in 2016, and conversation rates topped 3% globally by the end of 2017. However, mobile device searches and mobile web visits don’t always translate into sales conversions.
Why? Outdated, unresponsive mobile sites aren’t easy to use and, therefore, many people do not use them to purchase products. And, while they might learn more about your company and its services via a mobile device, they may use a desktop to buy—or, not buy at all.
Under Google Analytics Audience menu, explore the Mobile section. The Overview will give you details about overall mobile site usage and how much product you are moving through your mobile site. Compare how your mobile site converts across each kind of device (specifically look for the Goal Conversion Rate and the Goal Completions). If your conversion rate on mobile devices is lower than it is on desktops, it’s an important signal to invest in improving your website’s mobile experience.
See Which Posts or Pages Are Performing
The Behavior menu in Google Analytics also provides actionable data about how your site is actually performing. Behavior Flow (how your audience moves through your site), Site Speed (how fast each page loads), Site Search (what your audience searches on your site), and Site Content are all part of this critical section of analytics.
Arguably the most helpful attribute, from a content perspective, is the Landing Pages report, which is part of Site Content. It has a search bar feature where you can directly enter URLs of individual web pages and blogs. Type in the URLs for each piece of content on your site, and the search will give you information about how these pieces performed, including total sessions, bounce rates, new users, and average session duration.
These numbers will clearly explain the types of media your audience likes (videos, photos, or text) and the how each of the pieces performed. As a result, you will gain a valuable perspective about the kind of content your audience is seeking and how you can serve their needs in future content marketing efforts.
Don’t Navigate Website Analytics Alone
Go beyond basic web analytics. iPage’s web hosting plans allow you to track visitor statistics and receive up-to-date site traffic reporting. This relevant information will help to inform the kind of content you put on your site, how its message is framed, and when it’s published. As you launch SEO campaigns, our marketing services will provide you with monthly reviews, which give you timely feedback regarding your site’s optimization and visitor stats.
To make sense of your site’s analytics, we encourage you to speak with one of our design and marketing experts. Not only can they help you interpret your site’s data, they can show you how to make critical improvements to your website, its design, SEO, and content.