The second group of statistics cover the performance of the website itself. You should have these statistics available as part of your website hosting. If you don’t have access to these numbers you need to stop reading now and install Google Analytics on your website.
Google Analytics is a free product from Google which will give you more numbers on your website’s performance than you will ever need to know. Even if you have some kind of statistics package on your website already you might want to think about adding Google Analytics anyway for a more detailed picture. Go to http://www.google.com.au/analytics to get started.
These are the statistics that we think are the most important:
- Unique Visitors
- Bounce rate
- Pages per visit
- Time on site
- Entry pages
- Exit pages
- Visitor Source
You can fill in your results on the Website performance worksheet available to download.
The above statistics make up the bulk of the statistics available to our clients through the regular Website Performance Review reporting. If you are interested in finding out more read Performance Reporting
A site’s unique visitor count is a good baseline on how well it is performing.
Unique visitors should not be confused with “hits” which is often used as a measure of a website’s popularity. The problem with hits is this: a web page with eight pictures would count as nine hits, one for the actual page and one each for the images. If you doubled the amount of pictures on a site you could double the amount of hits!
A unique visitor is a more honest statistic which tries to get to the number of people actually visiting a site. Unique visitors would only count once even if the person visited the site several times during the month.
A bounce occurs when a visitor leaves the website without viewing a second page. A high bounce rate indicates that there is something wrong with the website’s ability to engage visitors. Or potentially Google has misunderstood what you do and has sent uninterested visitors
Pages per visit
Pages per visit is calculated by the total page views divided by the unique visitors. It is also a good measurement of how interesting the site’s visitors are finding the website. The more pages viewed, the more engaging your site is.
Time on site
Time on site is another indication of how well the site is at capturing the attention of the audience. It is useful mainly as a relative measure. With it you should be able to tell if your site is getting more interesting or less interesting to your site visitors over time. Also understand that a new site or lots of new content would tend to increase time on site.
An entry page is the first page a website visitor sees. Note that it might not necessarily be the site’s homepage. Unless your website is gigantic analysing the top 5-7 entry pages should be plenty.
Like the entry pages but instead they are the last page a website visitor loaded. Exit pages might indicate parts of your website that are turning off your visitors. As above, understanding the top exit 5-7 pages should be enough.
The visitor source statistic tells you where your website traffic came from. Most statistics packages break it into the following categories:
- Direct – people typing your website address directly into their browser.
- Search engines – people who found your site via a search.
- Referrers – people who found your website by clicking on a link elsewhere.
This is another statistic that is best looked at as relative to itself. You’ll get most of your insights by studying how it changes over a period of time.
The keywords statistics tells you what keywords people actually used in search engines to find you. You may get some ideas for additional keyword ideas from this list. If you are finding that you are getting a lot of traffic for certain keywords you may want to consider expanding the relevant part of your website. You should also get a sense of whether keywords you rank well for are actually turning into traffic.
Having some kind of measurable action on your website is one of the best things you can do to make sure your website actually works for your business. If you want people to get in touch with you then you should have a contact form which counts as a conversion if people fill it out.
Most of the above statistics help you with measuring how well your site is doing at getting the visitors in the door. Conversions help you remember that this is only one part of your website’s success.
You may be getting a lot of traffic for certain keywords which never turn into conversions on your website. In this case you might need to consider if those searchers are actually your potential clients at all. You may need to tweak that part of your site to try and get them to respond more positively.
Above all you need to remember your website exists to encourage people to take the next step in buying something from you, or whatever other goals you have established.
Google Analytics can measure these conversions for you automatically. Whatever statistic package you choose you need to work out a way to measure conversions.
Measuring conversions online automatically is unlikely to capture everyone. You will need to develop systems to make sure that you know where everyone found you. Read more and download the ebook by Claude Hopkins, Scientific Advertising, which has some invaluable ideas on how to do this.