When it comes to analyzing web traffic, there are so many different angles to view performance from and even measure ‘what success looks like’, as companies will value different metrics and view success as something different. It can be rather confusing for businesses to know exactly where to start when looking at the figures, but if you rely on your website for generating money and leads, or want to increase exposure online, understanding how people find your website and what they do once they click through is vital.
Whether you’re new to the world of analytics and web traffic analysis or simply want to know what you’re looking at when it comes to really understanding the numbers, we’ve pulled together 5 ways to analyze your website traffic in a bid to help businesses make the most of their online presence and hopefully even improve the numbers with a few tips!
First things first, you will need to understand where all that traffic is coming from…
Understand Where Traffic Is Coming From
Whether it’s through paid adverts, organic traffic from search or regular social campaigns, knowing where your traffic is coming from is vital to understanding just how the world sees – or finds – your website. Depending on which reporting tool you use, the ‘source’ and ‘source medium’ reports will give you all the information you will need to see exactly where people are coming from when they click through to your website. The source of traffic will be labeled in your analytics software, depending on the platform, as ‘Google’, ‘Yahoo Search’ etc.
Use this data to analyze the success of previous campaigns you have run, have you recently invested in an email marketing campaign that has performed better than you thought? Or has that recent article on a hot topic brought in an influx of organic traffic from search results pages? Use the historical data to improve on campaigns too – don’t just measure the success of your campaigns with source traffic reports. If you invest money and time into running a campaign, make sure to analyze whether it’s worth the same investment next time round by seeing how much traffic actually came from the campaign content.
If you’re a content-generating website, then organic traffic and referral source will be a great metric to use to measure success. If you’re running regular paid campaigns, make sure to analyze the different channels you are paying to feature on – be it social, Google Ads or other paid channels. Once you have established which channels are working and which need a bit more investment, you can really start to measure true success as well as applying a smarter way of analyzing your web traffic.
Recognize The Difference Between Page Views, Visits, And Unique Visitors
Getting the right measurement when looking at the visits is also a very important metric – after all, you wouldn’t want to miss all those returning visits! Whilst this may seem a bit basic, understanding the difference between page views, visits, and unique visitors can really help understand what content works and what doesn’t!
Pageviews – This is the metric which will tell you how many times a page has been viewed by visitors on your website, within whatever time frame you are looking at. This is a great metric for understanding just how many pages are viewed and which ones are more popular. Use this to analyze your more popular products or pages as well as improving the pages that may not be getting the same amount of traffic.
Visits – This metric is different from page views in that it looks at the number of visits a person has made; whether they are new or returning and groups together the total number of visits to your website in any given time period. Not to be confused with unique visits which count each individual visit once, the number of visits tends to be a higher number which can appeal to marketers who want to show off the figures!
Unique visits – This is possibly one of the more important metrics for understanding how many individual visits your website gets, as this gives a true picture of the exposure your website has online and where you may need to improve. Unlike visits, unique visits are measured by each individual on their first point of contact. They may decide to return the same day but their first visit is the one recorded as unique. Unique visits are a great way to analyze the ‘true’ performance of your site for potential new leads too.
Review Your Bounce rate
Another smart way to work out just how well your website is performing is by measuring the bounce rate. This is a great metric to use to understand the pages visitors like and dislike on your website, as bounce rate is the percentage of people who have viewed a page then literally ‘bounced’ off, or left the site.
If you’re wondering what a good bounce rate looks like, generally speaking, it’s between 26- 40%, but this, of course, varies from page to page and of course, website and industry. Your analytics will give you an overall bounce rate for the performance of your whole website as well as individual pages. Use the individual bounce rate attributed to each page to understand which are performing well and which may need improving. By addressing the pages that have high bounce rate, your overall bounce rate figure should start to reduce. Keep track of the figure to measure if your efforts are having a positive impact on this metric- after all, it’s working on user experience which will have a more positive impact on your web performance as a whole.
Aim To Increase Time Spent On Page
Once you’ve looked at page views and number of visits, the next metric to analyze is Time Spent on Page. This is another great way of working out whether people like what they’ve found or not. Time spent on your website is a great indication of which content works and which don’t; the pages with less time spent overall may need editing.
A great comparison metric to use when looking at Time Spent On Page is the source – work out where these visitors who spent little time on your page, came from. Was it organic search, a social post or paid advertising? Is the page they were directed to relevant to their search or journey? Does it aim to address their query or could it be improved? Analyzing the time spent on the page will give a good indication of how relevant visitors find your content, make sure to look into this metric and consider where things could be improved in their journey to keep them on your website.
Review Your Goals Set
Another smart way of reviewing your data to check your website performance, is to review any goals you have set up. Goals will vary from site to site, but these can typically be to measure the amount of time someone completes an action you want to measure. For example; completing a form, downloading a document and even adding items to a basket.
Whatever your website’s function is, setting goals, even if they’re not eCommerce (don’t generate actual money) will definitely help you understand what your web visitors are doing and whether your call to actions are working well or not. Setting up goal tracking should be relatively easy, if you’re using Google Analytics, for example, there is an easy step-by-step process to creating goals within the analytics software that will track how many goals users complete.
If you haven’t already, set up goal tracking on all of the ‘accountable’ calls to actions you have across your site and start to review how well these are performing. You will quickly be able to spot the call to actions that may need tweaking, just from analyzing how many completed goals are tracked.
Goals are another smart way to analyze what you’re website traffic is doing, not only does it measure how many people are completing the call to actions you have set out but it gives a great indication into how simple (or not) your actionable goals are for users to understand.
When it comes to analyzing your website traffic, there are a few key metrics that will give you a great indication of what’s working and what isn’t. Get to know your analytics software and start by finding the reports we mentioned above. Then set some achievable targets for the metrics that matter most to your business, whether it’s increasing the number of unique visitors, decreasing the bounce rate or simply trying to increase the time spent on page – these are all great metrics to use for measuring the continual success of your website.
By taking an interest and regularly checking in on the analytics, businesses are able to keep on top of what works well and what doesn’t as well as understanding what visitors experience when they interact with your website. Understanding data – even just the reports we mention, is imperative for any business looking to improve their online presence and develop their digital marketing.
Don’t forget – your website is unique to your business and brand so working out what works and what doesn’t for the visitors using it is a great way to develop the brand whilst learning more about the people who visit your website.