The importance of web analytics

By Jason Hulott | Traffic Generation

Web analytics are important – or should be important – for any business that has a website. They are even more crucial if you use that website to generate business or you use online marketing to drive traffic to your site.

Analytics measure a wide range of factors. At their simplest, they measure:

  • visits to your website by the day, week, month and year;
  • where people are located when they visit your site;
  • how long they spend on each page;
  • how they find your site, whether via a search engine, social network, etc.

Google Analytics is one of the most well known analytics tools, and it is free to use. But it is not the only one, and others include Optimizely, SiteWit and more.

So why is this information so important?

Understand visitor behaviour

The importance of analytics should never be underestimated, and one of the key benefits of analytics programmes is that they take out the guesswork when it comes to finding out how visitors act when they arrive on your site. This then allows you to optimise your site accordingly to make it more effective.

For example, you could use a tool to find out how visitors journey from the page they arrive on to your checkout to make a purchase. This may reveal some interesting information.

For example, you may find particular stages of the process where a large number of customers leave without making a purchase, and this could lead you to make some changes at this stage to boost conversions.

Improve your marketing strategy

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Online marketing is essential for so many businesses, and analytics can help you to make certain you are not wasting your time on different activities. For example, you could find out:

  • which keywords are sending people to your website, which will allow you to focus more on the main ones;
  • the ads that are generating the best leads so you can use these ones more frequently;
  • which social networks are sending you the most traffic so you can spend more time making connections on them;
  • the blogs that are receiving the most visitors so you can focus more on similar topics.

It goes way beyond just finding out which types of marketing to use to send more traffic to your site. You can also find out how visitors behave once they land on your site so that you can work out which marketing techniques lead to more conversions.

Analytics allow advanced testing

Part of being successful online involves testing. There are so many elements of your website that you could test to increase its effectiveness, and these could involve:

  • elements of your home page;
  • buying process;
  • your emails;
  • landing pages;
  • testimonials.

You can use A/B testing or multivariate testing, and you can see the results of your tests using your analytics programme to find out where you are making improvements and improve your site based on what you discover.

Find out what is broken

Some things may be broken on your website, and analytics can help you find out what. For example, you may see that your traffic experiences a big drop suddenly. Could it be an SEO problem? A Google penalty? Or perhaps a page has gone down or a link does not work?

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This is all helpful data, and it can help you to improve your website, your marketing, your traffic and your conversions.

Use even more advanced analytics

Some programmes provide you with more advanced information like eye-tracking software or heat maps that show where people click on a page, like Crazy Egg. These can show patterns and you can then use the data to make educated changes and test your pages.

For example, you may find that many people click on elements of the page that you had not even thought about, like an image or a caption. You could then use this information that you get from the analytics tools to optimise these elements and maximise the effectiveness of your site.

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About the Author

Jason Hulott is Business Development Director at Digital Marketing Specialists, Speedie Consultants. He is Google Partner certified. His role is to identify and implement traffic generating and revenue increasing ideas for our client base.