Let Your Site Visitors Tell You How You’re Doing: A Crash Course in Analytics

crash course in analytics

You have a wealth of information about your website, your visitors, and how the two interact right at your fingertips.

The analytics data that you collect through Google Analytics, Facebook pixels and any other click trackers you have on your site can give you excellent insight into how well your website works for your visitors. The key is paying attention to it.

Here are 9 metrics you can use to evaluate your site and improve your overall performance.

What Platform Are Your Visitors Using?

One of the most important pieces of information to know is what platform you visitors are using most often. For example, if most of your visitors are viewing your pages on smartphones and tablets, then it’s imperative that you optimize your site for mobile viewing.

Given that the majority of web traffic does come from mobile devices these days, if you’re still optimizing for desktop viewing, you are going to lose a lot of visitors because they will not come back to your site a second time if they can’t read your content on their phones.

This is an easy problem to fix once you know which platforms you should be optimizing for. Most WordPress themes and page builders now allow you to view your site on smartphone, tablet, and computer screens while you’re building. Paying attention to things like font size and white space can go a long way toward winning over your mobile audience.

What Country Do Your Visitors Come From?

You might be very surprised to realize that much of your traffic comes from countries other than your own. It’s easy to be North-American centric because for many people much of their traffic does come from the U.S. and Canada, as well as the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.

If those are the countries you’re targeting, though, and your traffic is coming from everywhere but there, it’s important to figure out why and how this is happening.

Use your analytics data to figure out what links they’re clicking on and what actions they’re taking. You’ll most likely end up finding out one of two things: your content is not a match for your intended audience, or if they’re responsive to your calls to action, you’ve found yourself a new audience.

What Type of Visitors Are You Getting?

The next two metrics are important because they tell you how well your content is at attracting and engaging your visitors.

Unique Visitors are first time visitors who have either never been to your site before, or have never visited a particular page on your site before. This is an especially useful metric to know when you are doing paid advertising because you want to reach a large number of first time visitors to your site.

The bounce rate for unique visitors is particularly useful to tell you how well your on-page content matches the advertising content that got them to your site. If they hit and leave, then you know you have work to do on your message. But, if they stay and have a look around and sign up to your list, then you know your marketing and your message are a match and are doing their job successfully.

Repeat Visitors tell you how sticky your site is, and how well people like your site after their first visit. If the number of repeat visitors is low, then you’ll want to optimize your site to help it become stickier and more engaging. While unique visitors will tell you how well your initial advertising does to get new people in the door, the number of repeat visitors will tell you how well you’re doing once you get them there.

In both cases it’s important to pay attention to the demographics of your visitors. Do you get more men than women? What age group? Knowing who you’re writing for can go a long way to determining how you write for them. Each demographic will have a different way of looking at your content, and if you get that wrong, you will not keep visitors on your site.

Gender is a good case in point. I think it’s fair to admit that men and women do see and experience the world in different ways. Color schemes and trigger words are just two areas where how you structure your website and content will determine whether or not it appeals more to men or women.

Where Does Your Traffic Come From?

The traffic that comes to your site will make you or break you. So you need to know where your traffic is coming from. Who sends you the most traffic? Who sends the least? Where do your best customers come from? It’s especially important to know how well your paid advertising is doing so that you can focus on the traffic streams that bring you the best results.

Another traffic source that people often don’t think a lot about is Referral Traffic, also referred to as “inbound links.” This is an important metric to pay attention to because you need to know if these links are sending you targeted and qualified traffic, or if they’re sending you the wrong type of traffic.

Know how well people respond based on where they came from can give you ideas for optimizing your landing pages, or even creating new landing pages geared toward specific traffic sources.

What Content Do Your Visitors Like Best?

This is the fun part of paying attention to your analytics. You can determine which pieces of content on your site your readers like best, and by extension which they don’t like much at all.

Knowing which pages are your most popular pages will tell you which pages you should optimize with better calls to action in order to grow your list or increase your sales. These are the pages you should be adding content upgrades to in order to convert more visitors to subscribers.

By the same token, knowing which pages are the least popular can give you an insight into what your visitors are not connecting with. Once you know this, you can try to determine what it is about that page that makes it unattractive to your audience. It might just be that you haven’t promoted it enough, so no one really knows that it’s there.

You can always try optimizing an unpopular page for different keywords, or updating the content to make it more relevant and see if that makes a difference. And after you do make the changes, don’t forget to promote and let people know that you’ve updated and refreshed the content.

Closing Thoughts

So, you can see that by using the data your analytics program collects for you, you really do have a wealth of information at your fingertips. Using this information to improve your website should result in improved conversions – both for your list building efforts and in sales of your products and services.

Don’t be afraid to start small. Get to know your audience, and then pick one thing to focus on improving until you see results. Then go on to the next. Soon you will be an expert at using analytics to give your site visitors exactly what they are telling you they want.

What do you think? Do you pay attention to your analytics?


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