Web analytics and optimization, as we’ve seen so far, are a collection of tools and processes for improving website performance based on the analysis of visitors’ behavior. It involves analysis and optimization strategies for increasing web conversion rates, or in other words turning your new site visitors into faithful customers. Customers are using technology today like never before to determine how they access goods and services, and therefore businesses are continually challenged and pressed to keep up with the latest trends. Developing a 360 degree view of the customer has never been more incumbent for the small business, in order to understand, meet, and exceed their expectations. Web analytics and optimizations provides a sure path to gathering these critical business insights.
Let’s proceed therefore to discuss some of the most widely used website tracking tools and resources on the market today to help glean customer trends and behaviors. In the discussion that follows, the business leader should keep in mind three central points: How can these resources help my business increase revenue, lower costs, and improve customer satisfaction?
Google Analytics is one of the most well-known sites to offer website statistics and analysis and is used on around 55% of the 10,000 most popular websites. GA’s tagline is “Enterprise-class web analytics” and it demonstrates this through a comprehensive suite of analytics tools divided into content, mobile, advertising, and conversion. GA also provides you with a full picture of your customer behaviors across all channels – ads and videos, websites and social tools, tablets and smartphones. Let’s look briefly at just a sampling of the many useful features and insights that Google Analytics can provide for you.
Nothing is sure to repel new visitors faster than those 404 “not found” pages or slow and unwieldy page loads. Google Analytics offers a nice feature for detecting how quickly (or slowly) your pages are loading based on a sample of past visits. The Site Speed Report can be found on the Google Analytics dashboard under Content » Site Speed » Page Timings. From this location you can create a custom report that measures site speed against bounce rate and exit percentage. This information can be invaluable for understanding what pages on your site are costing you the most lost traffic.
Another very useful report is the Traffic Sources overview. This dashboard provides a breakdown of the various sources of your traffic, whether it comes from search engines, or referral traffic from non-search engine websites, or direct traffic from the address bar or a bookmark in the visitor’s browser. Understanding the sources of your traffic can help you evaluate the strength of your SEO efforts, provide insights about whether a particular advertising channel has been working or not, or provide opportunities for new engagements.
Another critical insight into your site traffic patterns can be gleaned from the Organic Search Report. This report can be found under Traffic Sources » Search » Organic, which shows what terms and keywords your visitors were looking for when they performed the Google search on which your website was listed. The Organic Search Report will also show the terms that they linked to in order to find your website. This information will also help you to test if the search terms match correctly your website keywords. This information may indicate that it’s time to hire a SEO expert to test your keywords to properly align your content with your intended audience.
There is a lot more that can be said about Google Analytics as obviously we’re just scratching the surface here. But hopefully you can begin to see how useful this platform can be for providing important business insights into your website traffic patterns.
Stay tuned in the next segment as we continue the discussion on additional analytics and optimization tools and resources that you can experiment with to improve your revenue and customer retention.