Sometimes, it’s easy to feel lost on what to do with your site. Do you make new pages, improve current pages, try new tactics, or simply continue what you are doing? It’s common to turn to online articles for help. It’s probably why you’re reading this one here.
Advice is helpful and can give clues on what to do, like general strategies to implement and guidance on a general audience. Better than advice, though, is hard data. Utilizing data with business decisions, especially with marketing strategies, leads to success and more customers.
Bounce Rate + General Traffic
General traffic is the easiest analytic to look at, and it is important in a general sense. Total traffic can give a vague picture of the health of your site and whether you are growing or shrinking. Alone though, it’s not valuable and can easily mislead about the strengths of the site.
Coupling general traffic with other analytics can increase your understanding and show what might not be working. One especially important one is bounce rate. If you are unfamiliar with bounce rate analytic, the simple explanation is it records when people enter a page and leave the site without clicking on another page, and typically leave within a set amount of time. (Typically 30 minutes)
Bounce rate with general traffic can tell how well your site is performing at both attracting and keeping visitors. A high bounce rate with similarly high traffic means you are doing great at bringing people in from outside sources, but doing poorly at keeping them around. A low bounce rate and low traffic signals you aren’t piquing that initial interest, but your page captures their attention.
Lowering your bounce rate should be a priority, as it means you are keeping visitors on your site longer and hopefully continuing down your marketing funnel. Best tactics include things like enticing call to actions, powerful images accompanying easy to read text and providing content visitors are actually interested in.
Where are people going and doing after they enter your site? In a perfect world, they would flow easily through your marketing funnel page by page and become a customer, but humans are fickle creatures. They are curious, distractible and uncooperative.
Analyzing the flow of your users shows you the reality of what your visitors are doing. One way this can guide your strategies is when to remove potential distractions. For example, if you have a lead gen form and notice a lot of people clicking a link to a different page (like your homepage or about us pages) consider removing those links so they can’t leave. Instead, you could include some of the info they would find on those pages to help them feel satisfied and comfortable.
User flow is extremely useful if you are maintaining multiple marketing funnels on the same site. There is inevitably some bleed through in these funnels, but it can indicate what might be leading people outside of their funnel and confusing their experience.
Eventually, people will leave your site. It’s sad to see them go, but you can’t keep a visitor forever in the wide expanses of the internet. Where they are leaving can clue you into why they leave. If specific pages have much higher exit rates than they should, look for elements that might push them away.
A/B testing on those type of pages can help you better determine what pushes people away and what keeps them around. From those tests, you can apply your findings to all of your pages.
One major reason a page might have a higher than necessary exit rate is not giving people a reason to stick around. This is especially relevant with blog content that provides helpful information. A strong call to action to more relevant information can ensure people continue browsing your site, raising your chances they’ll purchase from you.
Average Session Duration
How long somebody spends on a specific page can be very indicative of its effectiveness. The average page view in general is less than a minute and the typical pattern is for visitors to skim the content looking for what they want.
The average session can influence your strategies in two different ways. You can try to improve your session times, meaning people stay on your page longer, or you can adapt your content to better match your average session time.
Incoming Traffic Sources
Where are people finding your site and specific pages? Knowing where they are coming from lets you better analyze what attracts them to your site. Common sources include search engines, social media, direct traffic, and emails.
Most of your traffic is going to come from Google, and that’s good. It means when people are searching relevant topics, they are finding you. Knowing which keywords are your highest performers can help improve that traffic and your SEO in general.
Search engines aren’t the only way people can find your site. One powerful traffic source can be social media, if done correctly. If you get more social shares, and in turn more traffic from a specific social media site, it should become a heavier focus.
Being on all relevant social media channels is important to engage with variations in your target market, but going hard on a specific site can grow that audience. A good sign you should do that is you get a high amount of shares (which you can check on the platform itself) and a lot of incoming traffic from the platform.
You can even break it down further to find which types of content perform the best. Tracking each link you put on social media and following how many shares it gets can guide what performs the best.
Keeping Data A Part Of Your Marketing
It’s a common practice to only consult analytics occasionally. Marketers usually consult their data during specific times, like developing a marketing strategy for the business, and to provide end of the campaign data to prove ROI.
This is a decent start, but analyzing your data needs to become a regular habit. It will give insight on how to improve your campaigns and prevent wasting effort. Having a close eye on your data also gives you the ability and flexibility to capitalize on emerging trends as they happen and not try to recreate it afterward.
How are you using your site’s analytics? Is there a data set not mentioned above that you find essential to improving your site? Let us know in the comments below.