While website metrics can be extremely complex and go into depth analyzing the smallest of details, most small business website owners just want to know what their website metrics mean. Whether you have website statistics, Google Analytics, or both, there are very simple bits of information you can take away from the data that will be helpful to know. You don’t have to get a degree in advanced quantitative methods or hire a statistician to gain insight into your website.
If you are looking for help with complex measurement of your website statistics, this article is not for you. If you’re looking for website metrics made simple, then get ready to learn the basics.
Practical Website Metrics
Visitors: Thank goodness the term “hits” has almost died out, as it has never been a good measurement baseline. Instead, visitors are much more helpful as it refers to people looking at your website.
Unique Visitors: Sometimes used in conversation interchangeably with “visitors”, unique visitors refer to one person visiting your site and this counts as once.
New or Return Visitors: After being counted as a unique visitor, each person has either visited your website before or the person is new. This statistic is helpful if you are concentrating on finding new customers and reaching into new places to draw people to your site, or conversely, if your main goal of your website is to get your current visitors to return again, and again.
Links: Also referred to as inbound links, it is very helpful to know who is linking to your site and which of these links are sending the most traffic. This information can be used to reward referrers, build a relationship with the website owner who is linking/referring traffic to you, and let you know if you were written about on another website/media site, etc.
Links from social media sites and updates can show up here too, and this can be helpful in knowing how much traffic Facebook is sending for example.
Referrers: You can see your top referring sites, which also includes search engines and directories. Your own domain name is likely to be high on the referrer list, as many people type your domain name in directly to arrive at your site. If you have a splash page associated with a direct mail piece for example, you can see how many people are typing in the URL you used in your marketing strategy.
Google Analytics puts search engines and links into “Referrals” and “Direct” includes things such as typing in your URL, bookmarks, link from an email. “Campaigns” in Google Analytics would be where you can track Feedburner (WP) traffic or special domain name/splash page traffic.
Keywords: This section will tell you the keywords and phrases people have used to find your site. This information can be used to better optimize your website, as well as formulate blog posts or website content around what people are searching/wanting/needing. Fill a niche!
High Traffic Pages: Usually the pages with the most visits are well indexed in search engines. You can analyze these top pages for key elements that search engines really like, so you can improve your other pages.
Mobile: It is very interesting to see how much of your target market is using a mobile device to access your site. If this number or percentage is high, you may want to consider a mobile website or more mobile/technology driven strategies for your progressive market.
What other basic areas of statistics would you add to this list? What statistic is most helpful to you in using your online presence to the max?