How Do You Measure The Success of Your Website?

When talking with prospective clients, one of the questions we ask is how will you measure the success of your website? There is an old marketing adage, “If you are not measuring, you are not marketing.

One of the most effective ways of measuring the success of your website is by using website analytics. One of the questions we are frequently asked is “will I be able to tell how many ‘hits’ my website gets?” “Hits” have never been a good measurement. Each file (including individual images on the page and the page itself) sent to a website visitor’s browser from the web server is a “Hit.” Accordingly, each page viewed will generate anywhere from a few “hits” to dozens of “hits.” What most website owners are interested in is the number of “Page Views” and the number of visitors to their website. While these statistics are helpful, there is much more information available that will help website owners or managers measure the success of their website.

On every website we create, we install Google Analytics for our clients and provide them access to view their statistics. With over 100 standard reports along with countless custom reports that can be generated, Google Analytics provides more than ample data to help verify traffic in a multitude of perspectives.

Real-Time — six reports
Audience — thirty-one reports
Acquisition — five reports
AdWords (If a Google AdWords Campaign is linked to Google Analytics) — ten reports
Behavior — eighteen reports
Conversion — eighteen reports

What and how you measure depends on your purpose for having a website and what you are expecting to achieve. That said, there are some standard Google Analytics reports that are useful no matter what type of website you have. Those include the number of Users, number of Sessions, Pageviews, and Bounce Rate.

Here is an example of the Audience Overview report that contains the basic statistics related to the website’s audience. Becoming familiar with Sessions, Users, Pageviews, and Bounce Rate is helpful to anyone wanting to know what is happening on their website. You will see those metrics in many reports. Viewing those metrics from different perspectives can be very enlightening.

GA Audience Overview Report

Acquisition — Knowing how Visitors (Users) get to your website is important. That is especially true if you are paying for advertising.

In Google Analytics, under Acquisition > Overview > All Traffic > Channels, you will find the following Channel Groupings.
1. Organic Search
2. Direct
3. Paid Search
4. Referrals
5. Social

Listed for each of those types of acquisition, you will see all of the data for the audience Sessions, Users, Pageviews, Bounce Rate, and more. You will also be able to drill down in each of the acquisition types, to see more detailed statistics.

Behavior — You need to understand which pages Users visit, the number of Pageviews for a given page (and how many of the Pageviews were Unique), how long users stayed on the page, the Bounce Rate, and completion of Goals (if they have been created). The important reports in Behavior, are All Pages, Landing Pages, and of course, Goal Conversions.

Conversions — While the reports in this area are arguably some of the most important reports, they all require configuration, and most require editing the tracking code that goes on the pages. For that reason, we will not discuss them here. Of course, we at WebWise Design & Marketing are always happy to discuss how we can help you measure and increase your website traffic.

Now that you know you have all of this data available, how will you measure the success of your website?

Will it be a specific number of Users (visitors) per month, or number of Pageviews, or Pageviews per Session, Goals completed, contact forms completed (you will see the “thank you” page listed under “All Pages”), sales from products you offer online, or one of many more metrics?

Please remember, if you do not measure the results of your marketing, you are not actually marketing. You are simply spending money hoping for a return.

Do you measure the success of your website? If not, we will help.

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1-800-281-9993 or 608-822-3750

Desktop Browser and Mobile, Tablet Market Share – September 2012

Here are the desktop and mobile/table browsers and versions of those browsers were using to view websites during September.

Desktop Browser Market Share

Desktop Browser Market Share graph

Mobile/Tablet Browser Market Share

Statistics Graphs are from www.netmarketshare.com where you may view the Desktop Browser versions and  Mobile/Tablet Browser vesrions. Please note: You may have to login as a “Guest” to view reports.

Do you know what your visitors are using? If not, we can help!

Is Google Analytics Killing Your Website’s Effectiveness?

The Answer: No, but you are, if you don’t frequently look at what Google Analytics (or another analytics program) is telling you.

When was the last time you looked at your website analytics? Here at WebWise, we matter-of-factly create an account and add Google Analytics code to the pages of nearly all new and redesigned websites we create. We also urge our clients to create a Google Account (most have them already), which we use to grant them access to their analytics. We give them the access info, and tell them that there is a near plethora of metrics to explore. Actually there are so many, and individually, the information from those metrics range from being a time-sucking curiosity, to extremely useful, to nearly critical to the success in reaching goals (You have goals for your website, don’t you?) set for their website, that it can be a bit overwhelming.

We do tell them the metrics we believe are most useful for websites in general, and their type of site specifically. Obviously, which metrics are most important can vary considerably depending on the type of website and the goals to be measured.

So, here is a short list for our clients who don’t remember which reports are important. It is also for the rest of you out there that are interested in the metrics that will likely give you most of what you need/want to know. Keep the list handy and you won’t have to spend hours of time poking around all of the ready-made reports (there are nearly 30 in the “Visitors” section alone), or creating an infinite number of custom reports. Of course, if you have the time to spend, there is a lot of interesting information in some of those reports as well.

The order in which they are listed is not necessarily indicative of their importance.

Dashboard – Site Usage: At the very least, check this report frequently.

Google Analytics - Overview Site Usage

Visitors Overview: This report gives you a quick view of the important totals for the reporting period. The GA reports default date range is the previous thirty days, and is easily changed to whatever you want. In this area, pay specific attention to:

  • Absolute Unique Visitors
  • Average Pageviews
  • Bounce Rate
    • Explanation of this is too lengthy for this article, but important you understand
Google Analytics - Visitors Overview

Traffic Sources

  • All Traffic Sources
    • It is a good thing to know how traffic is getting to your website
  • Referring Sites
    • It is a better thing to know just who really is sending you traffic

Content

  • Top Content
    • By “Title” if you are unfamiliar with file names, and your webmaster did a good job with your page titles
  • Top Landing Pages
    • Visitors don’t all come through your home page
  • Keywords
    • This metric leads some astray. It is a measurement of keywords used while searching that actually brought visitors to your website. It is highly likely you have those keywords on your pages. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best keywords for you. If there are keywords you feel are important, and they are not showing up in this report, you need to look at your pages, and rewrite the relevant pages to include those keywords. That is, if you have researched to see if they are being used in searches, and they are.

    Of course, there is much more to say about Google Analytics, and other analytics offerings. If you regularly look at the reports listed above, and take some action based on what you find, your website will come closer to reaching the goals you have for it.

    You do have goals and expectations for your website, don’t you?

    USE Google Analytics to help measure and reach those goals, and please remember, adding up numbers is not measuring results. Dig to measure.