by John Eberhard
Now that you have a web site and you are trying to get people to come to it and become leads, or sales, or just to use the site, it is vital to be able to measure how well you are doing each week. By watching your web site statistics, you can gauge how well each new change you make to the site or to your promotional efforts is working. You can reinforce the things that are working well and drop the things that aren't.
Following Your Statistics
It is vital to have a good statistics program to be able to track the statistics of visits to your site. I used to recommend several programs or services for this purpose, but Google Analytics is a free service from Google and is quite good, so I recommend to everyone to set up Analytics on their web sites now. It just takes an hour or two to set it up, although you need to have the right software to do it.
By using Google Analytics you can really see what's happening with your site daily, weekly, monthly, or for even longer periods.
The key statistics you want to be able to track weekly include:
1. User Sessions: This is the number of people that came to your site in a given week. Some statistics programs track the total number of User Sessions, which can include multiple sessions from one person, and others track unique User Sessions, meaning they count each user only once. I personally think total User Sessions is more valuable as a statistic, because theoretically you want people to keep coming back. Analytics can tell you both.
2. Page Views: This is the total number of pages that people looked at on your web site in a given period of time. This of course will always be higher than the User Sessions unless your site only has one page (I would hope it has more). Obviously, the higher the Page Views are in relation to your User Sessions, the better. That shows that people are staying on your site and looking around, not just coming to your home page and then leaving.
3. Referrals: Analytics allows you to see what other web sites people are coming to you from. These could include search engines or other sites where there is a link to your site. This is probably the most important thing to monitor on your web site, because it shows you how successful your online marketing actions are.
4. Page Views by Page: You should check out how many Page Views each individual page on your site is getting. This shows how well people are moving around the site and which pages are attracting the most attention. This is especially important as you put up new features and new pages and you can see how people are responding to them.
Analytics will also show you which pages most people entered the site through, and which pages they exited the site from. This is important because if you see that most people are coming to your home page and also exiting the site from your home page, it shows you are not enticing them to stay. That tells you that you need to make the choices on the home page more interesting or more appealing. You should use market research surveys to tell you what your public wants, and then use that information to get them to stay and move around the site.
5. Keywords: I like to look at what keywords people used to find your site on search engines. This gives you an idea of which keywords you are currently ranking well for on the search engines.
6. Sales or Leads: Some sites are set up to generate leads, i.e. people responding that your salespersons can call, while other sites are set up to generate sales directly online. Which one you have usually depends on the price range of the product or service. For higher prices you usually need a salesperson to bring home the sale, whereas with lower prices you can get people to buy it online.
Whichever one you have from your site: leads or sales, you should track these weekly and see how the various actions you are doing or changes that you are making are contributing to or detracting from your online leads or sales, and manage accordingly.
Tracking statistics from your web site is vital to your overall website marketing success and should be done at least once a week.