Analyzing Your Site’s Statistics With Web Analytics
Your web provider undoubtedly provides you with visitor statistics, perhaps in the form of a log file that is difficult to decipher. You might get a rough breakdown of how often specific pages have been viewed.
Or perhaps your website features a counter of some kind. You’ve probably seen one of those neat, free statistics trackers on several websites. Honestly, it’s not a great indicator of site popularity and is financially pointless.
Identifying Key Performance Indicators for Analysis
If this is the extent of your data analysis, you are missing out on a wealth of information that might be used to improve your site and direct users to the pages you most want them to see, such as the order page. Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, can be found on every website. After all, your website has an objective and purpose, so you should be measuring progress toward that objective with key performance indicators (KPIs).
Let’s pretend you’re selling software online. The number of visitors that purchase or try out the product for free would be your primary KPI. Perhaps once a month, you send out a newsletter with information and discounts on your goods and services. The number of people who subscribe to the newsletter is one metric, while those who visit the Special Offer page via the links in the newsletter emails are another.
Or it might be one of the simplest KPIs, such as the number of visitors, the number of pages they view, or the average time they spend on your site. Visitors will find your site more engaging the longer they stay there.
The effectiveness of your website can’t be gauged without first defining the key performance indicators (KPI) that will be used to do so. The number of site visitors who inquire about SEO services is a key performance indicator for SEO Bomb.
Some websites exist solely to advertise a specific brand or item. Consider Coke as an illustration. They have invested heavily in their website and must use a highly sophisticated tracking system to account for the success of their offline sales as well.
The Online Analytical Program
How do you evaluate success after settling on key performance indicators? You’ll need a Web Site Stat tool, and several are out there, from the essential but useless Webalizer to the more robust and accessible AWStats. ClickTracks, Omniture SiteCatalyst, and Deepmetrix Live analytics are some of the more sophisticated options you can choose if your budget allows.
These fantastic, high-priced options will give you complete command over your site’s visitors. WebCEO is just one example of a product that provides access to several different SEO and keyword analysis tools in one convenient location. Since WebCEO powers my site, it comes with my highest recommendation. The software is free to use, and the cost of the web analytics add-on is reasonable.
You need the following data from whichever web analytics service you end up going with:
The total number of guests is the total number of people who view your site. A single user may make multiple visits to your site, so you must:
A total number of distinct users Quantity of one-of-a-kind site viewers.
Users’ average number of visits How often does each visitor to your site view your webpage?
Average user session duration is Similar to “stickiness” in meaning. This metric indicates the average time visitors spend on your website.
Top-visited Websites What are the most popular sections of your site? Which pages are rarely visited? You can use these statistics to learn much about your audience, such as what articles they enjoy reading the most. Which websites have high search engine rankings? Which sites have low search engine rankings, and why? Using SE’s Demographics and Keywords & Key Phrases, the most visited websites can learn crucial information about your site’s performance in the SEs and how to increase traffic using the SEs. Where do most of your site’s visitors originate from geographically?
Dates of the Months and Weeks Find out which day of the week is your busiest with this useful statistic. These are crucial figures, as is the time of day. If your business-to-business company’s website receives the majority of its traffic on the weekend and after 5 p.m., those people are likely not your target audience.
Referrers Sites that link to yours are a great resource. Is there a specific website that refers many visitors to your site? Perhaps it would be worthwhile to purchase advertising space on that website.
Indexing Systems A simple breakdown of how much traffic is coming from specific search engines. When in doubt, Google it.
Search Words and Phrases That Are Crucial A summary of the search terms people use to find your website on sites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
Some of you may have noticed that I have omitted the ever-popular “hits” from the list, and the reason is straightforward: including them serves no purpose, and they are meaningless when examined from a commercial standpoint. Or, indeed, any point of view.
The number of times a server requests a file is considered one hit. This implies that if I have one page on my site and I’ve filled it with a million small one-by-1-pixel pictures, then every time someone loads that page, I’ll get one million and one hits (remember, one for the html file itself). Not as stunning as it once was, is it?
This data is readily available in an understandable format with a straightforward and free web stat tool like AWStats [http://ns3744.ovh.net/awstats/awstats.pl?config=destailleur.fr]. You probably have a basic understanding of site statistics by now, but how can you put that knowledge to use to boost your website’s revenue?
Increasing site visits can be accomplished in several ways. Simply due to the volume of people, your “sales” will rise. Let’s call it sales without getting into the nitty-gritty of what constitutes a sale, which might be anything from someone subscribing to your newsletter to someone writing you an email requesting your great program.
Sales Results Compared to Foot Traffic
Assuming it’s targeted, a large influx of traffic is significant, but the question remains: how can this audience be converted into paying customers? How can you improve the persuasiveness of your content? You may acquire a clearer view of your visitors’ behavior and, even better, influence their actions by using sophisticated tools for collecting and analyzing data about their interactions with your site.
The software firm shall be used once more. You have a download page accessible by a link in the main navigation. Another page of yours also does quite well in search engines. The only relationship between these two pages is the download page, which may be accessed from the main menu. When a page’s content is very engaging, readers may become engrossed to the point where they fail to notice anything else.
This principle holds more accurate the more disruptive your banner advertising is. If someone shouts right into your ear, how do you respond? You protect them, of course. Today’s Internet users, especially seasoned veterans, have what I like to call “tunnel vision”; they ignore everything else on the screen except the text they’re currently reading. Does that ring a bell? You may easily be one of them; it wouldn’t shock me. You are, after all, reading a rather technical case study about website metrics.
SiteCatalyst and ClickTracks both provide a handy function that, when activated, opens your website in the browser and highlights the most popular links, complete with click counts and percentages. This is a fantastic and beneficial addition.
So, how can you get around this issue? Including download links within the text of the popular page. Anyone reading that page will see it, meaning more visitors to your download page. My SEO Links and Resources page is one of my primary focuses for SEOBomb.com.
Scroll up and see how many times I’ve linked to that portion of the site for kicks. How many of them have you visited so far? In that case, I suppose that validates my position. (I put much effort into it, so I hope it helps you.)
Analysis of Website Trends
Right about here is when things start getting interesting. Looking at trends across long periods, you can see the big picture on your page and elsewhere online. From personal experience, I can tell you that Thursday is typically the busiest day for the websites I’ve helped maintain. What day of the month or year it is makes no difference. Thursdays are busy commute days. The specifics will vary based on your industry, but this holds for most corporate web pages.
Naturally, tourist destinations will attract a distinct crowd. Consider a virtual casino as an illustration. Most people visit them on weekends and in the afternoons throughout the week. There’s a good chance that they do best at the start and the middle of each month. You may be wondering, “Why?” Easy enough to understand. Every 15th and 30th of the month is payday.
Take a stab at it: which days of the month do you think the online casino business would benefit most from introducing a new marketing initiative? Naturally, at the start and the middle of the month. When their potential clients have cash, it is time to sell to them.
You may improve your website’s effectiveness by checking its statistics and learning as much as possible about your intended audience. Everyone, from the one-man shop to the Fortune 500, may boost site performance and revenue by reviewing website statistics and implementing the appropriate plan.
Asserted by Sverre Sjothun
Author, SEO Expert, and Blogger at the SEO Bomb.com Blog
Visit his blog, SEO Bomb.com – Explosive Search Engine Optimization, to get a sense of his approach to search engine optimization.
Sverre is a Search Engine Optimization Specialist at a top 10 online gaming site, focusing on technical SEO, website performance, and conversions.