Analytics and Optimization Help You Continuously Improve
What are Analytics?
Quick: Answer these questions:
- How many new visitors came to your website last month?
- Is the visitor trend up or down?
- Does your traffic have a predictable cycle?
- What sources referred the most website traffic?
- Which pages converted the best?
Can’t easily answer any of the above? If that’s true, you probably do not have (or do not use) an analytics package.
With web analytics, you can monitor how well your website is performing.
You can think of these tools as a continuous report card for your website.
The best tools reveal:
- Where your visitors come from (organic search, referring websites, paid ads, etc.)
- What pages they viewed
- How long they stayed
- When they leave your site (which pages are exit pages)
- Which actions they took
You will also want to watch trends over time to pinpoint areas for improvement.
Why should you measure your website’s traffic and performance?
As business guru Peter Drucker famously said, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
By measuring the results, you can see the adjustments you need to make to improve your results.
You can use a variety of tools to analyze your website’s performance. The most commonly used (and free tool) is Google Analytics. We help companies setup and monitor their Google Analytics (GA).
Key Elements of Using Google Analytics
Install and Set Up Your Goals
First you must connect GA to your website. You get code directly from Google and install the code in the header section of each page. If you use a content management system (such as wordpress), you install the code in one place. Your CMS places the code in the appropriate section for each page.
Be sure to exclude your IP. You want to make sure you are viewing visits by potential clients (not your staff). GA allows you to exclude visitors from certain IP addresses.
Establish your goals. What steps do you want visitors on your website to take? Are you promoting downloads, enewsletter signups, webinar attendance? For key goals, setup the tracking to measure completion the goals.
On a schedule that matches your need, view your GA reports. For most B2B clients, we look at the reports weekly or monthly (depending on the client’s activity).
With Goggle Analytics, you can view reports on:
- Overall website statistics —You can see how many visitors you get each month, the average length of time visitors stay on your website, your bounce rate and goal completion.
- Audience (your website’s visitors)—You will want to monitor new versus returning visitors. Are you attracting new visitors? Are they coming from the area of the country (or globe) that is relevant to you? If you have the correct parameters you can also track demographics of your visitors.
- Acquisition (where do your visitors come from?)—You will want to know which resources are referring the most visitors Are you getting new visitors from your e-newsletter, your local newspaper mention, social media, etc? The reports you get from GA helps answer these questions.
- Behavior (what do visitors when they come to your website?)—With analytics, you can track how visitors flow through your website. You can determine which pages get the most views, which pages are the exit pages, how many visitors convert.
What is Optimization?
From a marketing perspective, optimization means you work to continuously improve the marketing efforts to maximize results.
You should optimize your website and marketing channels based on which activities help you meet your goals cost-effectively. All of this is time consuming.
Start simply. Optimize an activity you understand well and can easily manage. For example, signing up for an email newsletter. Then move to the channels, which show the greatest potential and optimize those important channels.
You may need to connect your Website optimization with a lead nurturing system to really get a true picture.