Website analytics has moved on from a simple “visitor counter”. Website Analytics provide a vast array of data from visitors, providing you with a fantastic resource for your optimizing and utilizing your website as effectively as possible. This includes: user retention, conversion rates and even tracking the way individual users have explored your website.
Website Analytics Tools
The wide array of tools available for website analytics can be overwhelming. However, this can be resolved by doing two things: First, sticking to a few key tools, such as Google Analytics and Hotjar. Secondly, making sure that, when using website analytics, you have a specific goal in mind. (Such as improving UX or SEO)
What Can I Do with Google Analytics?
- Monitor the activity of your site – See how many of your users are unique, how long their sessions are and which of your pages are the most popular.
- Observe visitor’s behaviour – The most popular pages, and bounce rates and a more in-depth journey-map.
- See who’s visiting your site – Where they are visiting from, and how they found your website, be it through direct URLs, search engines, social media, email marketing or anything else
- Find out who you can most effectively sell to – Using Predictive Analytics, you can analyse which demographic the most fruitful to your business, and therefore which is the best to target
What Can I Do with Hotjar?
Whereas Google Analytics is based more in statistics, Hotjar is a visual tool.
- View Heatmaps – See the most popular areas of your website, and which areas are neglected.
- Watch Visitor Recordings – Understand how a visitor experiences your website in practice, and see where you can improve user experience.
- Analyse Conversion Funnels – See how far a user makes it through your website, and analyse which stages could use improvement
- Form Analysis – If the call to action on your website is a form, you can optimise its effectiveness by analysing the user experience of the form
How to Utilize the Website Analytics Data
Gathering and analysing the data is only half the story. Once you have understood your website analytics data, you must then figure out what data is relevant to helping you obtain your goals.
Defining Goals – Once you’ve defined your goals, you can track website analytics against other criteria. You can then answer specific questions such as: “How many users who visited this blog post went on to make an enquiry?”, “How many users bought a product as a result from this marketing campaign?” and so on.
Refining and Filtering – You’re going to receive a lot of useless data from your analytics, whether from your own offices, users outside of your target audience, or even data from bots (fake users) which is completely useless. Setting up filters allows you to refine your results to only data that is useful.
Relevancy – While it’s tempting to look at the ‘overview’ analytics pages and make design changes based on this, it’s much more effective to target specific pieces of data that reflect specific parts of your website and specific marketing goals. There is no point in trying to optimise your entire website if you can achieve the same thing by strengthening a weak aspect of your website.
Utilising the Results and Seeing the Bigger Picture
Your analytics data is worth nothing if not utilised. At Formation, analytical data is used in the continuous development of your account, the driving force behind targeted marketing campaigns, user experience amends and SEO optimisation.
It’s also beneficial to view your analytics as part of a larger package of data including usability test results and customer surveys.
Website Analytics Jargon Buster
Page View – As it sounds, this is a simple log of the amount of views this page has had, regardless of who or when it took place.
Sessions – Perhaps a more useful statistic, a ‘session’ is defined by a time-frame on the website of usually 30 minutes. Whilst a page view is going to log one users every visit to a page, they will only have the one ‘session’.
Bounce Rate – A user’s visit to a page is said to have ‘bounced’ if they have not engaged with the page before exiting, what classes as an engagement is up to you, but by default it is simply clicking a link to another page.
Referral – A referral is a visit that originated on another website, these are usually separated from click-throughs relating to social media posts or search engines.
Conversion – In analytics terms a conversion does not need to mean a sale but can relate to the completion of any specific goal. Examples might include ‘enquiry sent’, or ‘newsletter sign-up’.
Journey – When referencing analytics, a user’s journey is their path through the site, where they started, which pages they visited, the related conversions, and where they exited.
Website Analytics at Formation Media
At Formation we utilise website analytics to find the most effective way of improving SEO, UX and sales, bespoke for any business.
To view our portfolio of our digital marketing projects, please visit the case studies section of our website.