Tracking the performance of your website is a fundamental step in the process of improvement. Whether you are an SEO expert, Internet Marketer or both, you will be constantly implementing measures to boost traffic and search engine rankings. In this post I am going to be looking at the importance of Analytical software and how it can provide both focus and direction to your project.
I use Google Analytics in every website that I maintain. I am familiar with interface and the functions that can be utilised within, Many of you will argue that Google Analytics is not the easiest tool to use and that there is better software out there, you are probably right on both accounts but I tend to stick to what I know, and to be honest I have no real complaints.
Below is a screenshot of what the Google Analytics interface typically looks like. The interface is for one of my older websites which provides Fitness locations in my home county of Staffordshire.
As you can see from the initial splash screen , there is already an abundance of useful information about the site. The information on this page is interesting to know as it gives you a basic understanding of how many visitors arrive at your site, it is by no means conclusive and some of the data is flawed, for instance, Unique visitors, should be unique IP addresses, if the same visitor arrives at your site via their home PC, their work PC or their 3G mobile device; it will register 3 unique visitors because the source IP addresses will differ. But as an initial indicator of general interest it is a very good tool. Bounce rate can be a good indication that you need to do more to retain the interest of your visitor, my bounce rate is extremely high but the nature of the site is a one stop shop for information,plus I will be honest, I have not done a great deal on this site to keep users coming back for more. (see the very high percentage of new users)
Another excellent area of Google Analytics is the ability to show you which pages are visited the most. See the screenshot below:
I find this data to be extremely valuable. By finding out the most frequented content of your site you are identifying the best areas to generate the most revenue from. It stands to reason that if you are using AdSense on your site, you want to make sure the most visited pages are rich with ads.
Benchmarking your site statistics is the first step you should take before implementing a major change within your website. If you do not know the present statistics for your site, then it makes it increasingly difficult to track the effectiveness of the change. Return on Investment (ROI) can be justified by presenting statistical data which measures an increase in traffic or sales.
The data from analytical software is at large, the main interface between yourself, your website and your audience; it is also the best chance to have an indirect feedback chat with your visitors. If you take the time to digest and process the information presented to you, you are able to pick out strengths and weaknesses in your site and use them as action points.
The importance of Analytics is pretty self explanatory, those who are not already running analytical software on their site should look upon the screenshots above and be sold instantly.
It is very easy to lose your way whilst maintaining a website, I find that the data obtained from analytics keeps me in check and pointing in the right direction. I have made SEO changes in the past which have had a negative effect, Analytics has quickly highlighted this for me and I withdrew them before any real damage was done.
I just want to end on one more feature of Google Analytics which I think is quite cool. The feature is called In-Page Analytics. This great feature allows you to track clicks within your page. It creates a kind of heat map to the areas which attract the most user clicks. This is very good information if you are trying t determine the best place to ads on your page. There are heat maps available on the Internet but this data is relevant to your site and therefore, in my opinion, better. Give it a go, and I almost forgot to mention, it’s free!