A Noob’s Short Guide to Website Analytics

With a premium placed on efficiency and productivity, owners are becoming more aware of website analytics as a way to grow their businesses leaner and faster.

By identifying the goals business owners wish to achieve with their website (whether it is increasing sales or subscribers), they can focus your efforts on improving their site performance based on those goals.

To keep tab of how a website is doing with these goals in place, owners must develop a system of tracking and measuring your metrics using website analytics tools.

The data collected by these tools will let inform them how close (or far) their site is in achieving those goals, and what they need to do to improve their performance.

While the concept of website analytics may be simple in theory, the application can get complicated to some, especially once they get their hands on big data.

The danger of website analytics is that there is so much information to process that it is easy to lose sight of the goals!

As a result…

To help flesh out this statement below is a very insightful infographic courtesy of the good guys from TruConversion.

A Noobs Short Guide to Website Analytics

Determine your goals

As mentioned in the infographic above, more than half of businesses consider website traffic as their main metric to measure.

While traffic is a good indicator of a site’s visibility, taking traffic alone as the metric to track will not truly reveal the effectiveness of their sites.

“Ultimately, website traffic is an empty metric. The number of visitors to your site only makes sense if there’s an end-goal to getting visitors to your site in the first place.” – Website Traffic: SEO Objective or Means to an End?

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Since every business will be concerned with turning a profit with their website, there’s a chance that even the thousands of traffic you are driving to your site will not yield a single cent!

This is because…

Below are examples of goals that you should measure along with website traffic.

  • Successful purchase – Measure how many visitors became buyers after dropping by your site. From here, you can divide the total number of page traffic to the number of converted visitors into customers to get the conversion rate. The higher the conversion rate, the better.
  • Successful signup – Track the visitors to your sign-up page who committed to your call to action. Subscribers may not equate to profit just yet – you can funnel them down to your mailing list to turn them into paying customers.
  • Requested information or contact details – Find out how many of the visitors to your contact page filled out the form and sent you a message. These users are interested in your services, which is why they reached out to you in the first place. And you want to identify how many of your visitors are qualified leads so you can market your services better.

All these goals can be tracked in your Google Analytics after setting them up in your dashboard.

If you noticed in the goals above, all of them require the visitors to commit to a particular type of action.

Therefore, make sure that the pages you track have a clear CTA that visitors can follow through. It is important to make this visible to visitors so your traffic will not just bounce from your site or perform nothing on the page.

Learn how to find these goals with your tools of choice

A Noobs Short Guide to Website Analytics

As mentioned, Google Analytics does an excellent job of tracking and collecting information about the goals above.

However, you may have other goals for your websites other than tracking revenue and generating leads.

For example, you may want to find out how many of your visitors are reading your content from top to bottom.

You can also take into consideration the buttons and links on your pages that get clicked on the most.

Finally, you could probably to test different versions of the sites to different visitors and see which version converts the best.

For these goals, you can refer to some of the best tools below:

  • SumoMe Content Analytics – This tool lets you record the number of visitors to the page and find out which part of the page where more than half of them leave. This will give you an idea on what keeps readers from getting at the very bottom of your page so you can make the necessary improvements.
  • Clicky – A Google Analytics alternative, Clicky is a lightweight analytics tool that shows the most important metrics that business owners should take notice. This tool is an excellent option for those who get overwhelmed with the data provided by Google Analytics. Also, Clicky has a heatmaps feature that shows which buttons and elements on the page are most clicked on by visitors.
  • Optimizely – This tool lets you conduct A/B testing on your site pages to see which version works and the ones that don’t. You can also track user behavior and create segments for each visitor based on behavior. This way, you can provide a more personalized experience to each section when visiting your site.
  • TruConversion – The Swiss knife of analytics tools, TruConversion covers website analytics, A/B testing, heat maps, and even surveys to help gather and make sense of big data that is preventing your site from converting visitors and earning from them.

There are lots of other analytics tools to choose from, but the ones above should give you a good idea of the kinds of metrics to track and tools to use.

Provide actionable steps that you need to take from the gathered data

When interpreting website analytics to extract actionable items, you need to determine the tools you will use to not only make sense of the accumulated data, but also figure out solutions to your problems.

The goals and tools mentioned above should at least give you a good idea of how you can approach your websites in a more systematic fashion.

Still, it all boils down to what business owners wish the achieve and how you want to obtain it, given the data you have collected.

Some want to improve the kind of content published on their site while others want to increase referrals coming from search engines. This goes to show that businesses have different goals when it comes to running a successful business.

Therefore, you need to create your plan and approach web analytics in a careful and calculated manner to make your tracking and measuring count!

A Noobs Short Guide to Website Analytics“It is optimal to start any web analysis with a clearly defined web analytics measurement model. But if you don’t have one then you no longer have an excuse not to provide something small that is incredible and of value from any web analytics tool you have access to, for any website in the world.” – Avinash KaushikBeginner’s Guide To Web Data Analysis: Ten Steps To Love & Success

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The article by Avinash Kaushik above will allow everyone to synthesize your web analytics goals into a plan that can complement their marketing strategy.

Now, it’s your turn…

What other web analytics goals and tools not mentioned above would you recommend business owners to start off with?

I’m pretty sure there are lots of others that are probably much better than the ones featured above. Help me fill the gap by suggesting them on the comments section below!

Originally published at christopherjanb.com on October 28, 2015.

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