I love Google Analytics – not only is it free (and there is not much in the world that you can say that about!) but it provides a wide range of information about your website – far more than just: “How many people visited my site today?” (although this can be very interesting).
I regularly monitor the number of visitors to my site and recognise spikes that coincide with additional marketing activity, such as blog posts, e-newsletter, radio appearances etc. This helps me determine which activities work and which didn’t work as well. But this is not enough for me and Google Analytics helps in far more ways.
For example, I can track:
- sources of traffic, i.e. how many visits were generated from Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc;
- what keywords entered into the search engines actually drove traffic to my site;
- the top landing pages, i.e. the pages that traffic arrived at from links on other sites – it is important to remember that not all traffic arrives on your home page;
- the top exit pages, i.e. which pages visitors last saw before clicking away from my site;
- the bounce rate – think of a trampoline and the visitor viewing one page and then bouncing off your site again.
- the most popular pages visited.
It is not enough to just have the stats to hand, you need to do something with that information and analyse what your data is telling you.
If you have a page that is popular, but that same page is also one of the top exit pages then this is telling you that visitors want to know what you have to say on that page but that it did not hook them in as a large proportion of these visitors left once they read the page – you need to rewrite the copy and make it more enticing. If you have a sales page that is high on the list of entrance and exit pages, with minimum sales, then you need to amend the copy to convince them to buy. Conversely, if one of the top exit pages is your confirmed order page then that is a good thing. If you have a sales page on your site that is not visited very often then you need to consider what else you can do to drive traffic to that page.
If you are spending a lot of time on LinkedIn and not much time on Facebook, but your stats tell you that Facebook generates more links – how will you interpret this data? Do you decide to spend more time on Facebook to attract even more people to your website, or do you change what you have been doing on LinkedIn to try and encourage more people from that source?
What web stats package do you use? I have tried quite a few others over the years – BraveNet, HitsLog, StatsCounter – and whereas they all have their good points, I always find myself returning to Google Analytics. What about you? Do you use a stats package? if so, leave a comment below and tell readers which one and why you like it.