Analytics play such an important role when managing a website or going through a complete website redesign. Without analytics installed, you’ll miss important metrics like site sessions, bounce rate, referrals, and page views. I’ll quickly explain the basics of analytics and draw parallels to their importance to management and redesign of a website.
The following terms and explanations are based on Google Analytics, which is free and easy to install on a website.
Site Sessions: This is when a user is actively engaged with your website. This is the most basic metric for websites. When someone asks, “How do we increase our website traffic?” – they are referring to overall site sessions.
Bounce Rate: Each page on your website has a bounce rate, which is the percentage of users who visit a page and leave that page without clicking on anything. The lower the bounce rate, the better. A 90% bounce rate means that 90% of users who visit that page are leaving without doing anything. If your home page has a 90% bounce rate, something is terribly wrong. This should throw up immediate red flags.
Acquisition and Referrals: This section can get a little complex, but to put it simply – acquisition and referrals shows where and how people are finding your website. For example –which social media platforms, other websites, and specific keywords are visitors using to find your website. This is huge when focusing on a marketing strategy – if you’re spending 75% of your time on a platform generating the least amount of referrals to your site, you need to rethink where you are spending your digital marketing efforts. Understanding which keywords people are using is valuable when crafting content.
Page Views: Found under “behavior -> site content -> all pages”, page views will list the top pages your visitors are viewing. This information is extremely important when understanding which product or services people are most interested in. If you’re highlighting a page in your menu that receives 10% of the traffic, but a link in your footer receives 45% of the traffic, try moving the better performing link to the top menu.
Knowing how these terms relate to each other, you can start to draw some conclusions. For example: “60% of our traffic comes from facebook, which 80% of those visitors then visit the XYZ Service page but 90% bounce from that page”
Conclusion – Facebook is a great traffic source, but something on our XYZ Service page isn’t clicking with them. The interest is there, but something is off.
Again, these are very basic terms. Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool but at least these few terms and tips will get you up and running.