So, you are ready to go “gung-ho” with online marketing and you want the works: search engine optimization, social media, video promotion and even email marketing. There is a lot of work that goes into simply managing these efforts, but do you know if these online marketing efforts are really working?
You need website analytics to find out for certain! Website analytics, most commonly Google Analytics, keeps track of the amount of traffic that your website gets, where people go when they are on your website, how long they spend browsing your website, what search words they used to find your website, and even keep track of any goals you set up for your website. Peter Drucker, management consultant whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business, said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” This couldn’t be more true! If you are not measuring your online marketing efforts, how can you manage or strategize them? A few of the insights analytics provides is where your website traffic is coming from, what pages on your website is performing the best and tracking website goals.
How do people find your site? A Traffic Sources report will allow you to see the amount of traffic you receive, as well as the effectiveness, from referrals, direct traffic, organic or paid campaigns. Referral traffic refers to other websites that link back to your website, for example if you post a link in your Facebook status, you can see how many people clicked through your link and visited your website. Direct traffic refers to those visitors who typed in your domain directly into their browser address bar or have your site bookmarked. Organic refers to traffic received by visitors clicking on your organic listing in a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc). Paid campaigns refer to any paid search, or pay per click, campaigns you may be running. With this report, you will be able to see how each of these traffic sources performed in regards to how long they stayed on your site, what pages they visited and if they completed any goals. You can also utilize the Traffic Sources report to find out geographically where your users are coming from. If you are an Ohio based business, but are getting a ton of traffic from California, you can begin to dig into why this might be happening and tailor your efforts to market to your location.
Another area of importance when looking at your analytics, is finding out what pages on your website perform the best. While a lot of traffic will tend to hit your homepage, you will want to analyze other pages on your site that receive traffic. With a Pages report, you will be able to identify other pages that may need to be rewritten or redesigned to be more effective and meet the expectation of your visitors. This report will also show you if your entry pages have a high bounce rate. Entry pages are the web pages that visitors enter your site while the bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that only see one page on your site. The lower the bounce rate the better! You don’t want your visitors to “bounce” off of your site too quickly, this tends to mean that they did not find the information they were looking for. By analyzing the data of the Pages report, you could decide that you need to design some effective landing pages for visitors from different traffic sources to make it the best user experience possible.
The last segment of analytics we’ll touch on today would be Goal tracking. Do you have any forms on your website? Whether it be for an email newsletter sign up or a contact us form, Goals allow you to measure how many times these forms were submitted. Each time a visitor completes a Goal, a conversion is logged in your account. You can even set up values for your Goals. So, if you feel that a contact us form is worth $10.00, you can track that within your analytics account. You can even track simpler goals such as visitors hitting a certain page within your website, visitors staying on your site for a specific amount of time or longer, or even visitors viewing a specific number of pages on your site. If you want to take your Goals one step further, you can create a Goal Funnel. When utilizing a Goal Funnel, you can specify a path you would expect your visitors to take to reach a Goal. By setting up this funnel, you can see where a visitor enters or exits the funnel and will give you insights has to how optimized your Goal path really is.
The above is just scratching the surface of what web analytics has to offer your website, and even your business. Once you have analytics set up, you can begin to analyze your traffic so you can achieve better outcomes. Don’t have time? We can help! Feel free to contact us with your questions!