Are you using data to figure out what’s working on your website? Or are you like so many people I know who build a gorgeous website, and then forget about paying attention to whether it’s actually doing the job they intended it to do?
Checking your web stats is definitely not the fun part of the job, especially if you’re seeing less than stellar results in terms of things like traffic, new and returning visitors, and conversions.
The good news is that for most of the core statistics you need to be keeping track of, your website host usually includes that in your back end. Used in conjunction with Google Analytics, both sets of stats will give you enough data to determine what’s working and what’s not.
Before we dive into what data you should be using to, I think it’s helpful to understand the difference between statistics and analytics.
Website statistics are the data collected about the user and user experience on your site.
Analytics are the insights the data provides, which are key to your success.
Here are the key areas you should be using data to review:
There are several key areas on your site that you should be using a combination of data and analytics to review. At the very least you want to know:
- which posts are getting great engagement
- what key words you are ranking for
- what products are services are selling well
You’ll also want to check key traffic statistics on your site such as:
- page views (this tracks the total number of times a page was viewed on your site)
- unique/new users (this tracks the number of first-time visits to your site)
- returning users (this tracks the users who have visited before)
- traffic sources/referring sites (these track where your site visits originate from)
- bounce rate (this tracks how quickly users leave after landing on your site)
Develop strategies to do more of what works
Once you have a clear picture of what’s working on your site, you can start to develop strategies to do more of that.
At the same time, you don’t want to ignore data that indicates something’s not working well. Finding ways to make improvements where needed can help improve your overall site’s success.
Know where your traffic comes from
Knowing where your traffic comes from can help you make strategic decisions about engagement and marketing.
For example, if you see a spike in traffic from referrals, it makes sense to increase your collaborations and joint ventures. If you see an uptake in traffic from email marketing, it makes sense to spend more time building your list and emailing them
Here are the main sources of traffic you should be paying attention to:
- direct traffic
- organic searches
- paid advertising
- social media
- email marketing
This is one area where you definitely want to be doing more of what’s working. Don’t try and stick your fingers in all the traffic pies at once. Focus on one or two (my favorites are email marketing and organic search) and get those optimized before diving into the others.
Paying attention to and using data from your website stats can help you do more of what’s working. The trick is to not get overwhelmed by the data, but to pay attention to the stats that make the most sense for your business and will help you achieve your current goals.
This is Part 2 of a 5-part series on Doing More of What Works. Other posts in this series include:
- 4 Ways to Use Data to Determine What’s Working Now
- Using Data to Determine What’s Working on Your Website (This article)
- Do More of What Works by Optimizing Keywords
- 3 Ways to Expand on Content That Works
- 4 Tips for Doing More with Social Media Content that Works