Using your Web Analytics to Improve Site Performance

Fernand Fenech - Web Analytics

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Having a great website, carefully written content and an SEO strategy in place is useless if you have no way of gauging your website performance. Nowadays, Google Analytics, together with some other major providers of site statistics give you the possibility to measure your site performance as well as opportunities to improve your website experience to your customers.

To start off with, why are analytics important? The answer is fairly simple. Analytics provide you with (very) detailed statistics of your site performance and allows you to improve certain aspects of it. Web Analytics show you, who is coming to your website and the pages being visited. In addition, you may also see where your traffic is coming from and on which pages your visitors leave your site. There are also numerous other statistics available – but which statistics to use greatly depends on the ultimate goal that you set for your website.

Is it simply having a great number of visitors? Or is it more advanced, such as driving online sales or encouraging newsletter subscriptions? Whichever goal(s) you select, a number of statistics can help you gauge if you are reaching that goal, or if you need to improve and optimise your website further. Below are 2 common goals that I will discuss and which I will reference Google Analytics as an example.

Increasing visitors and Improving usability

This goal is the most common amongst all website owners. After all, who wouldn’t want more visitors to his website? One can measure the number of users visiting the site through the number of ‘sessions’ statistic. One should also note the number of return visitors as these may mean that your site is just being visited by the same set of people every time. It’s great to have repeat visitors, but its even better to have new users and retaining them too.

You may also improve the usability by having a look at the ‘Users Flow‘ statistic. This shows from where your users came from (social media, google search etc.), and which pages they visited, till the page which they left from. This ‘flow’ of visitors can help you decide on what content is popular amongst your visitors. If a particular page is not included in the flow, or has a very low ranking, this may mean that the access to that page is difficult (e.g the button may not be positioned in a way to be visible enough, or the name is not clear or interesting for users to click).

Another important statistic is the ‘Bounce Rate’ (marked with the red arrow in the picture above). This refers to the number of people that visited your website but left immediately, without clicking any link on your site. Having a large ‘bounce rate’ on your website (e.g bigger than 50%) means that at least half your traffic is not interested in your site and left as soon as the page loaded. This may mean you might need to improve your content further or improve site usability, such as on mobile devices.

In either case, increasing visitors and improving site usability can be easily gauged using these 4 simple statistics: Sessions, Repeat Visits, Users Flow and Bounce Rate.

Increasing Conversions

Be it increasing online sales, or more subscribers to your mailing list, web analytics can help you identify areas of improvement.

Fernand Fenech - Mobile Analytics Google AnalyticsTo start off with, how are people accessing your website? In the ‘Mobile’ tab on Google Analytics, one may see the number of users that accessed your website on a mobile device, tablet or a regular desktop. Having a high number of mobile or tablet users may mean you might need to optimise the site even further to improve conversions on these devices. In addition, tracking the current popular pages that convert (once again through the ‘Users Flow’ or ‘Pages’ metric) one may easily identify the content that people like, so you can try to mimic the content or offers to increase your sales or subscriptions.

Using demographics (such as age and gender) and geo-location will also help you target your products, services and content so as to appeal more to your audience. If you notice a large percentage of people accessing the site from a particular country, for  example, you may decide to offer a translation in that particular language.

Lastly, once again, pay attention to bounce rates as they will also indicate the pages that you are losing customers on.

Conclusion

It is clear that web analytics is an invaluable resource to improve your site, search engine visibility as well as improving conversions. However, the difficulty may lie in identifying the reports that are mostly significant to you and your selected goals. This is where we can help you. Should you need any explanation of web analytics or discuss certain website improvements, please get in touch, or leave a comment in the area below.

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