Web Analytics: Giving a Face to the Invisible Masses

One of the biggest challenges in creating an effective website and online marketing program is trying to understand who is coming to your site and how they are using it.  In a brick and mortar store you can directly observe the behaviors of your customers, and using that analysis improve store layout, adjust marketing campaigns, and generally make improvements to more effectively serve your customers.  However in an online environment observing customer behavior becomes a bit of a challenge because they aren’t physically in front of you.  To solve this problem developed web analytics software.  Web analytics software is a computer program that evaluates the behavior of customers on your website.

How Do I Get Analytics?

There are many providers of analytics software out there.  You can purchase a program, but there are also many excellent free services out there.  One such product is Google Analytics.  To use Google Analytics, you simply sign up for an account, tell them the URL of your website.  Google Analytics will then produce a small snippet of code that you will need to embed on your website.  When you embed the code, you want to be sure and install the code at the bottom of the page so that your page loads before it tries to process the tracking code.  This will keep your website loading times down by reducing the amount of instructions a user’s computer has to process before it gets to the content of your page.  If you aren’t sure how to do this, you can contact your IT Services provider or web developer to help you.

What Exactly Does Analytics Measure?

Analytics can measure a variety of things on your website, and each metric tells you something different about the behavior of people on your website and gives you a clue is to where your website is performing well and how it might be performing poorly.  Below are some of the most common metrics monitored by analytics.  Please note this list isn’t exhaustive, merely and introduction for those who have never used web analytics before.

  • Site Visits:  How many people are coming to your site?  If you aren’t getting the kind of traffic you would like to see you might need to consider some web ads, putting your website on some of your print ads, and taking a look at your ranking on various search engines.  All of these solutions will likely bring more people to your page and can even help improve your search ranking.  Site visits are broken down by new visitors vs. returning visits.  If you are getting a lot of new visits, but fewer return visitors it might be time to look at how effective your website is for your target audience.
  • Bounce Rate:  Bounce rate measures how many people go to your website and then leave it immediately after.  A high bounce rate can indicate several things.  First and foremost is loading issues; if your homepage isn’t loading properly people won’t wait for it unless they really really have to.  Another cause of high bounce rate, is a lack of relevant information on the target page or difficult to discern page controls.   Bounce rate can be paired with the average time people are spending on a page to determine which of these instances it is.
  • Traffic Sources:  Where are people coming from?  Did they find you through Google? Facebook?  Your ad on that industry specific site.  Traffic sources helps you figure that out so that you can target your online marketing more effectively.
  • Visitor Flow: You can see the paths your visitors take through your site, this will help you understand which pages people are dropping off on help you target improvement resources to the most troubled spots.  It will also help you spread links more effectively, by showing you what people are looking at the most.
  • Keyword Tracking:  What keyword are people using to find your site?  This helps you figure out if your search engine optimization and web ads are focusing on the best keywords.  Also if you have a specific group you are targeting, but their keywords aren’t leading to your site you can adopt a campaign to improve search rankings for those keywords and more effectively reach out to that target group.
  • Site Search:  This tool tracks how people are using your site search.  Do a lot of your users search for a specific feature?  If you include that specific feature on the homepage, you can improve your user’s experience.
  • Goal Tracking: You can also set your analytics program to track specific actions by implementing goals.  For instance if you want to track how many people are making it to your product page, you set a goal that specifically tracks hits on that page, and the customer converts when they make it to the product page.  To go a step further you can set the path that you want people to take to get to that.  So to modify our product page example, lets say you want to know how many people are clicking on the button on your home page to get to the products page.  You can set up a goal funnel that says the conversion only counts if the user was on the home page first.

As you can see, analytics can help business owners understand a wide variety of behaviors of their visitors.  With this understanding, they can go create strategies that will improve their online marketing and enhance their e-commerce sales.  If you need help installing analytics on your website, need someone to help you interpret your results, or to implement strategies developed as a result of your analytics contact Nourtek Solutions.  Nourtek specializes in helping businesses make the best use of their digital tools.

One thought on “Web Analytics: Giving a Face to the Invisible Masses

  1. Rhonwyn Weissman   said:

    Useful information for myself as a consumer and computer person who seeks information on the web. It’s nice to see what analytic tools can know about me.

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