Your web presence is a way of showing prospective clients who you are as a brand, how your business operates, and an introduction to the products and services you have to offer. Today’s consumers are digital savvy, which means your website is probably one of the first interactions that a potential customer will have with your brand.
There are many web analytics tools out there that will give you insight into how visitors are interacting with your website. Each action a visitor takes can help you to determine where your customers are coming from, what they are looking to accomplish, and whether you’re providing them with the information and/or solutions they are looking for. You've heard the term "there's more than meets the eye" right? Well, the same can be said about your website. Taking the time to measure and understand your web traffic, enables you to see how users are interacting with your website. Keeping an eye on these web traffic metrics puts you in the best possible position to continually improve your overall web performance.
5 Web Traffic Analytics to Measure
1. Traffic Sources
Measuring the number of visitors that reach your website each month allows you to determine if there are any patterns that occur, and if your monthly visits are increasing, or decreasing. It’s important to pay attention to significant drops in visitor levels, months where there is no increase or decrease, and months where visits appear to spike.
Once you’ve determined what patterns you want to analyze, you can look deeper into where your visitors are coming from. From there, you can inevitably determine the reason for fluctuations in website visitors, and strategize on how to further influence your analytics results.
For example, if the majority of your visitors are coming from your social media efforts, then you may want to focus more of your efforts in that area. However, if a high number of visitors are coming from search engine results, then you may want to invest in an SEO campaign and/or a PPC campaign in order to attract even more of your target audience.
2. New Vs. Returning Visitors
There's no question that new visitors are great. It means that people are finding your website, which always is a good thing. However, it’s important to determine the rate of your new visitors vs. returning visitors, since returning visitors will have a higher likelihood of conversion.
Plus, according to some estimates, “it costs at least five times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.” That being said, return visitors are costing you less in the long run. You should aim to have a rate of returning visitors (RVR) somewhere between the 25% – 50% range.
3. Average Time on Site
Measuring the length of time visitors spend on your site is an important, but also complex metric. Obviously, the longer they spend on your site, the better. However, there are some tricky aspects of this metric that come into play, particularly when measuring the page your visitors exit from.
According to a recent article on Search Engine Watch, “Google Analytics has difficulty calculating the amount of time users spend on an exit page because there is no next page to help it judge when the user left that page.”
Additionally, time on site is relative to the type of device a person is using to view your site, so that must also be taken into consideration. For example, if a person is using a mobile device to view your site, they will likely spend less time on each page, but they are more likely to be engaged with each page they visit.
4. Bounce Rate VS Exit Rate
First off, it's important to understand the difference between bounce rate and exit rate. Your bounce rate is the percentage of sessions (or how many users came to your website) and left before taking any other action on your website. Not to be confused with an exit rate, which tells you the percentage of sessions (or how many users left your website) that ended on that particular page.
It’s important to keep your industry in mind, as well as the type of page you are measuring when considering bounce rate and exit rates. Having a high bounce rate isn’t always a bad thing. For example, if you have a high bounce rate or exit rate on your contact page, odds are they found the information they were looking for and contacted you.
However, it is important to keep an eye on the amount of people coming to your site and leaving. There are many different things that could be happening. For example, maybe they weren’t able to find what they were looking for, or your solution isn’t right for their problem. Maybe they didn’t like your brand image, or you provided them with a poor user experience.
Regardless of why visitors aren’t staying, you want this rate to be relatively low. Otherwise, you’re spending time and money on marketing and advertising campaigns that are bringing the wrong traffic to your website. If your bounce rate is high, you’ll want to do some additional investigating to find out why, and how you can lower it.
5. Conversion Rate
Last but not least; you’ll need to measure your conversion rate to determine the overall success of your marketing and advertising efforts. All of the other metrics essentially determine how high or low your conversion rate will be. Therefore, when looking at this rate, you should use it as a monitoring tool, from which to work backwards.
For example, if your conversion rate is very low, but your monthly website visits are high, then you need to take a closer look at what your visitors are doing once they reach your site. Are they leaving immediately? Are they spending a long time on your site? Are they mostly new or returning visitors? Are they coming from a referral source, a direct link, or a search result?
The answers to these questions can help you solve the puzzle as to why your website is performing well or poorly, and can help you to determine what steps you can take to improve your conversion rate.
Whether you’re redesigning your website, looking to make improvements, or developing it for the first time, remember to consider the above metrics carefully at each stage of development and design. Your website not only needs to be aesthetically pleasing, it must attract visitors, keep them engaged, and inspire them to convert in order to help you grow your business and turn them into happy customers.