Best Way To Analyse Web Traffic
We all know that getting to know your website’s traffic is not only important but crucial in understanding how effective your online marketing is. But sometimes traffic and website analytics can seem like a foreign concept to grasp. With this in mind, we break down the best way to analyse web traffic so that you can use it to your advantage and increase those all-important conversions.
First things first – to analyse web traffic and fully understand it, you have to know the terms most frequently used.
Visits: the number of times your website has been visited, not accounting for the number of pages each user has viewed or repeat visitors.
Visitors: anyone who visits your site, tracked by the cookies placed in the browser. A single visitor can have multiple visits to your site.
Page Views: generated each time someone loads one of the pages on your site regardless of who visits or how many times they’ve been to the site.
Unique visitors: an important metric that counts the number of distinct individuals who visit the site during a given time irrespective of how often they visit. For instance, if a particular visitor comes to the site every day, it only counts as one visit.
Pages/ visit: this measures how many pages a particular user views on the website. This metric is usually displayed as an average, calculated by dividing the total number of page views by the total number of visitors.
Bounce rate: the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site after viewing only one page. Needless to say the lower the number, the better, but the average bounce rate is around 50-59%.
Average time on site: the amount of time users spend on the website during each visit. While we all want people to spend a long time on our sites, the average time is three to five minutes and sometimes less.
% new visits: this tracks the percentage of visits to the website that are made by first-time users. The main difference with unique visitors is that this metric tracks sessions of website visitation by new visitors rather than the overall number of people who are new. So if your focus is to get repeat people to your site, this measure needs to be lower than your repeating visitor number.
Getting started with Google Analytics
Whether you’re just getting to grips with analytics or you’re a data pro, Google Analytics is a great tool to use to analyse web traffic. While there are numerous tracking packages out there, Google Analytics is the preferred option for web designers because it’s free, comprehensive and easy to use. It allows you to monitor all the visitor activity on your website.
The way it works is simple; after registering you are given a piece of code that goes on each page of your site. This allows the analytics package to track visitors as they move through your website. However, depending on the website building software that you are using, the special code may already be installed so double check first with your web developer.
Google Analytics will take a few days to collect the initial data, but once it has you will be able to view all the stats on your dashboard. The dashboard gives you a general overview of your website traffic but you can select to view the stats for any given date, and you can even compare data from past times.
Understanding your data
So you’re tracking your visitors and monitoring their every move but now what? It’s time to get analysing.
It may seem like an overload of information to begin with, but start by looking at the overview of your visitors to get a general sense. How many unique visitors is your website receiving? What is the percentage of new visits? Is your bounce rate too high? If so, why? Are users being misled? These are the sort of questions you should be thinking about to properly analyse web traffic.
Website Traffic Sources
To analyse web traffic it’s also important to understand where your visitors are coming from and how they found your site. It can be helpful to know what internet advertising is working and which search engines are sending you the most traffic.
The traffic sources overview on your dashboard will tell you a lot. You direct traffic percentage will tell you the number of visitors who reached the website by directly entering the name onto the web address bar. Referring sites are websites that link to your website. So a visitor will be sent to your site by clicking on a link from a referring site. The search engines percentage shows you how many times your website was accessed through Google, Bing, etc.
The keywords feature is particularly helpful as it highlights what people are searching for to reach you.
Another useful tool is that Google Analytics helps you optimise your website to achieve better rankings and convert visitors into customers. It does so by offering tips on speeding up your site, managing content, insight on your visitor’s behaviour and benchmarking tools.
It also offers a real-time report showing you the total time spent on each page, the number of visitors as soon as they arrive or leave the site and content they click on. This is a great way to see whether your content plan is as effective as you would like.
As social media is a crucial aspect of any marketing strategy, you can also track how much of your traffic is coming from your social media feeds. Depending on your industry and your reliance on social media, you should have a good mixture of organic search engine hits and traffic arising from your social pages.
If you are running any marketing campaigns or adverts, for instance through AdWords, Google Analytics can also measure how they are performing. It tracks how the ads are doing and whether they are bringing you enough visitors. You should have an objective in mind, which you can attach to your campaign to see how well it performs.
It’s important to compare your site traffic on a month to month and a month to a year basis to really get the most out of your investment and know where your resources should be directed. How much traffic you’re getting and how well it’s converting really depends on your audience and your website. If you’re going to analyse web traffic, it’s crucial that you assess the data on a regular basis if you want to know how effective your online marketing really is. Not only this but web analytics are a good way to keep on top of any technical issues that may arise like broken links or pages.
So why not start getting the most out of your data?