Getting Started with Web Analytics

What metrics to measure?The decision to start measuring your website’s traffic can occur for many reasons. You may be the owner of a small business, or you may be a seasoned marketer who is just now getting into eMarketing (does anyone like that still exist?). Either way, you know that your web site’s statistics contain valuable information, but you don’t know what that information is or what you can do with it. The purpose of this article is to give you an overview of what web analytics can do and which metrics you should start tracking right away.

What Web Metrics should you start measuring today and why?

  • Visitors: What is the average number of visits to your website?
  • Conversions: Conversion can mean many different things depending on your business. A Free trial download, the sale of a product, and the completion of a contact form are all types of conversions that have value to your business. You should know the average number of conversions and the number of conversions per visitor to your site.
    FORMULA: # of Conversions/ # of Visitors = Conversion rate%
  • Most popular pages on your site: What content on your website is attracting the most views? How has this changed over time? I have recently seen a secondary product’s landing page surpass a company’s flagship product in popularity well before the Executives finally realized that the market has changed and they should change their marketing focus.
  • Top referring sites/mediums: How are visitors coming to your website? Which search engines, forums, articles, paid ads, or email are driving visits and conversions to your site?
  • Top keywords: What keywords are visitors using to find your site? What keywords do visitors use that convert into sales/ leads/ contacts? What keywords don’t you see? Sometimes the most telling keywords are the ones that you don’t see. If you sell air filters for Chevy trucks and you have zero visits to your site for the Keywords “Chevy air filters”, you have some serious Keywords and Pay-Per-Click optimization to do!
  • Average visit time and average number of pages per visit (this is also known as engagement): When someone arrives at your website, how engaging is the content? Do they stick around and visit multiple pages? This can vary greatly by referrer and keywords visitors use to arrive at the site as well, so make sure that you keep a close eye on your primary keywords and referrers. Also keep an eye out for new sources of traffic that have a higher engagement level than your site average.
  • Bounce rate: The opposite of engagement – this is a measurement of the visitors that left the site as soon as the page loaded. This is going to happen, so don’t get to discouraged by the numbers. Depending on your industry your bounce rate should stay under 50%. Anything higher than that may mean that your site is either optimized for the wrong keywords or you are targeting the wrong markets.
  • Geographic and language settings: Where in the world is all of this traffic coming from? Of course, if your product or industry has international appeal you would want to know which countries and what languages your visitors speak, but even local business should be looking at this information. For example, when we started looking at the traffic from regions where a local contractor actually serviced, we noticed that 75% of those visitors had their language setting set to Spanish, but the website was only in English. Obviously, it became a high priority for that contractor to offer a Spanish version of his site.

For each of these metrics, you should know if the numbers are increasing or decreasing? Is this a seasonal trend or is this a part of some other market force?

How often should you check/ report on your web metrics?

It can be very addicting to check these metrics constantly and you have to be careful not to spend all of your time poring over the different variables. So, the question that I am often asked is how often should you check your web metrics? Daily, weekly, monthly? The typical answer I give is as often as you can take action based on the results. If you started a new Pay-Per-Click campaign, you probably want to watch the results on a daily basis at first to make sure that it is performing properly. If you spot any anomalies, you can catch them right away and take corrective actions.

Well, that should be enough to get you started. If you have any questions or you found this article useful, please leave a comment!