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.
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
3. Paid Search
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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