The field of website analytics shares many goals with business analytics. It gathers detailed information about your website and helps you ensure that your website works as hard as possible for you.
Making your website visible to your prospective customers means learning which parts of your website work well. It also requires learning which pages could work harder. Knowing how to use website analytics helps more people learn about your business so they can become your customers.
What Does “Website Analytics” Mean?
Website analytics is the measurement, analysis, and reporting of data about your website. Google Analytics tools are the most well-known. They include comprehensive tools for analyzing your website performance. With any brand of site analytics, however, some tools will be more useful to your business than others. An insurance agent, for instance, wants visitors to find information specific to their situation. They ultimately want visitors to request a call or meeting to discuss options.
You strive for optimum inventory, pricing, and location for your business. Likewise, you can use website analytics to optimize your website and attract more customers. Consider web analytics as an important subset of your overall business analytics. These site tools allow you to fine-tune your website to raise your profile in search engines and appeal to more customers.
Knowing what you want your website to accomplish helps you learn which analytics are most important. This knowledge lets you optimize your website so that analytics results align with your business goals. Web analytics help you improve your website visitors’ experience and your business performance.
How It Works
Analytics tools insert a small snippet of code into the code that makes up each page of your website. It “tags” each page to gather information whenever someone visits or clicks on a link. From these tags, website analytics tools gather various types of information, such as:
- How many unique visitors your site receives
- Devices visitors use to visit your site
- Browsers visitors use
- Your visitors’ geographic locations, which are determined through their IP addresses
Learn More About What Visitors Do on Your Website
In addition, web analytics tools can amass valuable visitor behavior patterns, including:
- Particular pages visitors frequently encounter first (landing pages)
- Your site’s most frequently visited pages
- How long visitors spend on your website
- The number of pages visitors click on while on your site
- How often they “bounce” from a page out of your website (your bounce rate)
- Which keyword searches result in visits to your website
Moreover, when you add to or change your website, analytics tools can help you test how your audience responds to different content. This helps you determine which content resonates best with website visitors.
How Website Analytics Can Improve Your Business
Suppose your business is a bakery. You decide to introduce French crullers to your menu and they sell out quickly. These sales figures help you to fine-tune your offerings so you can increase your return on investment.
Similarly, website analytics tools may lead you to change your website to add a feature that appeals to site visitors. Suppose you have an appointment-based business. You may find that adding an online appointment scheduling tool attracts more customers. Insurance agents may bring in more clients by adding a tool to estimate savings by combining coverage types.
Website analytics also help you create focused marketing campaigns. Information gathered by your analytics tools helps you understand your customer base. This helps you market to them in ways that strengthen their connection with your brand.
Pitfalls to Avoid with Website Analytics
As powerful as they are, web analytics tools can’t do everything. For example, a common analytic tool is a cookie, which tracks users’ sessions on your site and catalogs repeat website visits. But some users delete cookies, and some web browsers restrict certain code snippets that analytics tools use. Therefore, no tool can claim perfect accuracy.
How you use analytics tools is important too. If, for example, you don’t filter out web traffic coming from your own company, you will have an inaccurate view of how well your site performs.
Additionally, the snippets of code that analytics tools use evolve. When you use outdated tracking snippets, you may not be gathering the most accurate data.
Stick to Best Practices
No single list of best practices works for every business. How a plant nursery uses website analytics tools will differ from how a cosmetic surgery center will use them. Your overall business practices and goals will help determine your particular best practices. In general, however, you will do well to remember the following:
- Web analytics metrics should align with overall business objectives. You have to track enough metrics to provide insights without tracking so many that they overwhelm your efforts. Know your website goals, and you can tailor your analytics to help you achieve them.
- Let hard data drive decisions. You don’t have to rely on hunches about which page design is best. Analytics tools allow you to test them and determine which one visitors prefer. Or, for example, if your pricing pages don’t get enough traffic, analytics tools can help you place links in more effective locations.
- Don’t let overall traffic numbers skew your perspective. A smaller overall number of visitors who click through to your order page is better than a huge number of visitors who leave without clicking links to your order page.
- Stay informed on changes your analytics provider makes. Learn about updates to their code snippets and reporting options. That way, you can ensure all pages are using the latest tool versions and that you are taking full advantage of your analytics.
Put Website Analytics to Work from Day One
Many businesses find website analytics to be daunting. There are many choices, and using site analytics optimally requires both technical and business proficiency. Don’t let fear keep your website from operating in peak form.
We learn all we can about your business and your customers, and we know how to use that knowledge to select analytics tools that will work hard for you. If you are ready to put website analytics to work on your website, speak with one of our team members today.