TopRank Marketing Editor

Basic Tips on Web Analytics

TopRank Marketing Editor     Online Marketing, Small Business, Web Analytics

Just about every business with a web site does something to market and promote it. When those companies are asked about web analytics, it’s surprising how many look back with a blank stare.  This isn’t the case with mature online marketers but it does happen a lot with new business web sites and blogs.

For many companies that are new to web analytics the idea of digging in and finding useful information can be daunting.  It’s common marketing sense to measure what you’re marketing, but making sense of analytics data doesn’t always find time in the mix of duties a small business or new web site owner is responsible for.

The amount of information that analytics packages deliver isn’t always easy to sort through and turn into business decisions. So what should those that are new to web analytics do? Keep it simple and start off with the basics.

Each analytics package is different in features, price and learning curve. I’d suggest starting out with Google Analytics as it’s free, feature rich, and not too complicated to learn. Start off by looking at the items below.

  • Unique Visitors – Unique visitors are are an important metric as it counts everyone as one for any given time period. This means that if you had 250 unique visitors, 250 different people visited your site at least once. If your unique visitor number is low, it could mean that your site is either having issues in search engines, or need more content.
  • Traffic Sources – Are you getting traffic from Google, Yahoo, Twitter, or other sites? Referring information can help you see where your traffic is coming from which you can then use to make decisions on where and how to promote your future content.
  • Referring Keywords – These are the phrases that someone put into a search engine and arrived at your site with. Ideally they’d be keyword phrases that related to your company. If not, then it may be an indication that you’re either not optimized, or optimized for the wrong phrases.
  • Top Content – No matter what size your site is, knowing what pages get the most traffic can help you when building out new pages. Using the same format, or building out content on that topic, can help drive more traffic. These are also pages that call to action (CTA) buttons should be added if you want your visitors to do download a white paper or do something specific.
  • Location – If your business wants a strong local presence, the location area in analytics can tell you country, state and city of where your visitors are coming from. Are your visitors actually local? That’d be a good thing to know.
  • Campaign Tracking –  Track visitors from sources where you are marketing to a particular goal page or conversion.

As you feel more comfortable with Google Analytics you can then start to explore other actionable data including conversions, trends and features such as the most often used search terms on your internal search engine. Features like goals, top entrance/exit pages, bounce rates, and time on site are also a good metrics to use in understanding how visitors are interacting with your content. Visit the Google Analytics Help page to find out everything you need to know to make the most out of GA.

Web analytics can be overwhelming as there is a lot of information to be analyzed and then decisions that need to be made from that data. Instead of trying to jump in and consume it all, take it one step at a time.

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  1. Seems like you need to have an accounting degree to figure out these analytics. Or, at least be interested in number crunching. I find it boring, but when I actually figure out something from them it is very empowering.

  2. Nice information to help me out setting up Google Analytics. I am off to filter out my IP from recording stats.

  3. Avatar Nigel Gibbins says

    Analyatics alone don't give you much credible information.

    How many visitors is useless unless you are converting them to paying customers otherwise it is all just numbers. If you are not interested in crunching the numbrs they give you then there's little point in collecting them.

  4. Thanks Thomas, yes I find the Top Content analysis crucial. You need to know what people end up at!

  5. Avatar thadeuscramer says

    I totally agree. At minimum, Google Analytics is essential to any new website if you are even remotely serious. I've been surprised at how many new website owners do not know that they need to be implementing some sort of web analytic solution. Great post, especially for new site owners.

  6. Great post!I like your post as its helpful for others.The right analytics software can make the difference between producing analysis and putting it to use. A good analytics software allows the organization to gather analytics from sources throughout the company and apply the knowledge toward areas such as supply chain, customer service, pricing, human capital and more.Ne ways keep sharing.
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  7. Thanks for the tips, now I have more things to look at in the google analytics 🙂

  8. To really gain insights about the visitors on your web site, be sure to not only segment new and returning visitors, but where the visitors are entering and what source brought them there.