How to understand and use your website statistics
Why invest in a new website without evaluating its effectiveness? Website statistics complete the feedback loop in your website strategy. Website Statistics answer the question "Did it work?" when we invested time and money improving our website.
What are website statistics? - Every time someone visits a page on your website, there is an opportunity to collect detailed information about that visit. These details can be collected on the web server that hosts your website, or a server linked to your website (e.g. Google Analytics). This detailed information can be viewed in the raw (log file) form or more usefully viewed in statistics package that is able to analyse:
- Which pages and in which order they were visited
- When pages were visited and for how long
- By whom each page was visited and how often
- From which website the person first visited your website
- And if it was a search engine, the keyphrases used to bring that traffic
Make sure you have an easy to use visitor analysis tool - If you have little or no details about visors to your website, you need to get a website visitor stats package.
Your first port of call should be your web company. If they are reluctant to help you or if they provide poor quality visitor information, ask them to install Google Analytics for you.
Google Analytics is a free and easy to use add-on to any website, it doesn´t depend on your hosting package or what type of website you have, as it´s operated by Google. See www.google.co.uk/analytics from more information.
Read and understand your stats - There should be lots of reports available and some packages allow you to configure reports yourself. This can be daunting. Until you get used to looking at your visitor stats, take a simplistic view.
- How many visits is your website getting each week/month
- How many people visit your website from search engines and other referring sites?
- How many times is your enquiry form used?
- Which keyphrases bring you traffic? (my favourite report)
And, really important - how are these changing over time?
Take action - What action you take depends on what you set out to achieve and what is actually happening with your website. Bear this in mind before starting on a new course of action.
For example: If you are looking for new business enquiries, then look at keyphrase numbers more closely, try out some different keyphrases (See issue 8 for details). Cross check with website ranking: If you are bringing some traffic with a great keyphrase and you are listed on page two of www.Google.com, how much traffic would you bring with a page one position?
The best way to decide what action to take is to sit down with your web company and take a strategic ‘what if´ approach.
I hope that this helps you better understand how website stats can help you.
Alan Easter • Arkom Limited • t 0844 375 0742 • f 0844 375 0743