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The importance of web analytics

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Attention all business owners:

If you have a web site for your business (and you really should, you know), you MUST HAVE ANALYTICS as well!

Here’s why...

Analytics is the process of collecting, measuring and examining visitor activity. In other words, it’s your way of seeing exactly how each visitor found your site and how he or she behaved once there. It can help you see where your site is effective and where it needs improvement.

Some key metrics to look at are listed below.

Unique Visitors — This tells you how many individuals have visited your site. The analytics software can tell each separate IP address of visitors’ computers so that if one person comes back several times in a small period of time, he is only counted once.

Bounce Rate — The bounce rate is the percentage of visits where the person entered and left the site without visiting any other page. High bounce rates are not good! It is important to scrutinize any pages on your site with a high bounce rate and improve them with more content, more direct information, links to other related topics, and so on. After all, if you’ve managed to get a visitor to your site, you want to do everything in your power to keep them there.

Direct Traffic and Referring Sites — These two reports are exactly what they sound like. Direct Traffic tells you how many people visited your site directly, either by typing in your URL or by clicking a bookmark. Referring sites tells you where everyone else came from, whether it was a search engine, a blog post, business directory, or from a landing page you set up as part of a pay-per-click campaign. These are important stats because you can tell where to put more of your efforts, such as generating new content for organic searches or focusing on posting to a particular forum targeting your best prospective customers. For example, if you are the Kansas City Ballet and notice that you are getting a lot of visitors from a local dance studio, contact the studio to see if you can develop a better relationship. But if you are getting referrals from directory listing that incorrectly lists you as a dance studio, your bounce rate from those visitors is probably high and hurting your overall search engine ranking.

Page Views — This metric tells you how many times a certain page on your site is viewed. Unlike Unique Visitors, multiple clicks by one person are counted. This can help you see which pages people are drawn to, regardless of how they found your site.

Time on Site — Obviously, the higher this number, the better. No one wants to get hundreds or thousands of visitors a day who abandon their site after just a few seconds. If your Time on Site number is low, you should take a good, objective look at your content, figure out how to better engage your visitors, and lead them through your site to a point where they can take action.

Keywords — Keywords tells you what search engine users typed in to find and access your site. If you have a really low Time on Site, check the Keywords list. If people found you with a phrase that has nothing to do with your business, you really need to hire a copywriter to revamp your content! This could also drive up your Bounce Rate if people aren’t finding content relevant to their search.

You can also track if visitors take action on your site through Conversion Rates. If you set up goals, such as downloading a PDF or submitting a form so that they receive a “thank you” page, you know very clearly if they are responding to your call-to-action.

All of these metrics are useful in optimizing your website to both attract visitors and convert them into customers. There are many other metrics you can look at, and you can creatively look at multiple metrics together to build a better picture of how your site is performing.

The important thing is not to get overwhelmed with the possibilities, but to make sure you have analytics in place so that you can start evaluating your site and know where to improve it. Website analytics is one place where ignorance is not bliss.

If you need help setting up analytics on your site, or need someone to help you interpret the analytics reports you already have in place, contact me at Brand New Concept Marketing.

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