The average website conversion rate is just 2.35%, which means that for every 100 visitors that land on your site, only 2 of them will convert. Now, if you want to increase your conversion rate, and boost your revenue, there are a lot of things you need to figure out. Understanding who your visitors are, and where they come from, for example, will help you craft your message to be more relevant to them. Understanding how they interact with your site can help you improve upon your UX and UI, and reduce any friction associated with a conversion.
How do you do this? Using web analytics tools – in a nutshell, these are tools that allow you to assess and analyze your website’s performance. Using the data that web analytics tools provide you, you’ll be able to optimize your website, and get more visitors to take action. Read on to find out more!
Why analytics is important: 5 reasons
Wondering why analytics is important? Simply put, they help business owners do these things:
- Learn how your visitors find you
- Learn who your visitors are
- Understand how visitors interact with your site
- Identify your best performing content
- Track conversions
We’ll talk about how you can achieve these different objectives (using Google Analytics!) in the next section. (PS: We’ve chosen to focus on Google Analytics because it’s one of the most reputable yet user-friendly web analytics tools, but we do elaborate on other tools that you can check out later on in the article).
1. Learn how your visitors find you
Site visitors tend to come from a hodgepodge of different sources. If someone’s written an article featuring your company, you might get readers clicking through from that article to your site. If you’re active on social media, and you’ve got a loyal base of followers who always share and comment on your posts, their friends might get curious, and access your website to see what it’s all about.
It’s important to know the rough breakdown of how these different channels contribute to your traffic — this way, you can identify what to focus your efforts on (guest-blogging? Social media?) and refine your marketing strategy. And that’s where web analytics tools come in!
If you’re using Google Analytics, head over to the “Acquisition” section, and you’ll be able to access information about how your visitors arrived on your site.
“Organic search” refers to the traffic you get from your SEO efforts; there’s also Direct, Social, Referral traffic, and other sources. If you want to get more clarity on whether your SEO efforts are paying off, you can click into the “Organic search” category; this will tell you which keywords are driving visitors to your site.
2. Learn who your visitors are
If you’re running a startup or a new business, you might still be figuring out who your ideal customer as of yet. If that’s the case, learning what type of people visit your site can help you hone in on your target audience.
What if you’re an established brand, and you know exactly who your ideal customer is? Well, it still makes sense to keep an eye on who’s visiting your website. This ensures that there isn’t a disconnect on who you think you’re attracting to your site, and who you’re actually attracting.
Again, you can figure out who your visitors are by utilizing a web analytics tool such as Google Analytics.
You’ll be able to learn about your site visitors’ demographics (age range, gender), geography, as well as their interests and hobbies. On top of that, Google Analytics also tells you what browsers your visitors use, and what devices they log on from. If you see that the majority of your visitors are accessing your website via tablets, for example, you’ll want to make sure that your website can function properly on these devices!
3. Understand how visitors interact with your site
Once you know who your visitors are, and where they come from, the next goal is to figure out how they’re interacting with your site.
To look at how your visitors interact with your site, check out the “Behavior” section in Google Analytics. The flow that you see on the screenshot above illustrates what pages your visitors land on, and what pages they click through to next.
Say you’re an SaaS business, and you notice that the first page that your visitors click through to (after they land!) is your Pricing page. This might indicate that your customers are price-sensitive; bearing this in mind, you might want to offer your visitors a free trial so that you can convert them to a user first, then upsell them further down the road.
4. Identify your best performing content
Pareto’s principle (aka the 80/20 rule!) states that in whatever you do, 20% of your efforts typically bring about 80% of your results. Now, let’s apply this to your content strategy. You probably already do keyword research and ensure that you publish only high quality, well-written blog articles, but this doesn’t change the fact that some of your articles might bomb, and others might inexplicably go on to be a big hit.
How do you identify your best performing content, and figure out which articles are bringing you the bulk of your traffic? If you post your articles on Facebook, you can obviously look at the number of Comments and Shares you get on your articles, but a more accurate way of doing this is to keep track of the numbers via Google Analytics.
After you’ve identified your top performing content, there’s more work to be done. First, analyze these pages or articles and see if you can spot any patterns. Then refine your content strategy, and start producing more of that particular type of content.
On top of that, you’ll want to milk your top performing content for all they’re worth. If you created an article titled “The Ultimate SEO Guide: How To Optimize Your Website For SEO in 2017”, for example, keep updating it every year, and change the title to reflect the new year. You can also repurpose your content into different formats such as eBooks, infographics, etc.
5. Track conversions
The last reason why analytics is important is… they help you track your conversions! At the heart of it all, your website has to be able to successfully convert your visitors. Following in that vein, it’s important to use a web analytics tool to measure your conversions; this allows you to optimize your site and improve your conversion rate.
What are the various web analytics tools out there?
There are plenty of web analytics tools that are available, but as we mentioned earlier, the best option is Google Analytics. Why use Google Analytics? Here are a few reasons:
- It’s 100% free
- It comes with great functionality, and allows you to track all the data you need
- It integrates well with other tools and platforms such as Google AdWords
If you want to start using Google Analytics, here are a few guides to help you:
- Getting started with Analytics [Google]
- Creating a Google Analytics Account [Wix]
- Setting up Google Analytics [Shopify]
- Google Analytics [Weebly]
- Setting up Google Analytics [BigCommerce]
If you’ve already got Google Analytics installed, and you’re looking for more web analytics tools to add to your toolkit, try Crazy Egg and Piwik.
Using web analytics tools: Best practices
To get the most out of your web analytics tools, follow these best practices we’ve listed below!
1. Set concrete goals and objectives
First things first: you need to decide what goal you want to achieve with your website. Once you do this, you’ll be able to set up your web analytics tool such that it captures data that’s specific to your goal.
For instance, say you’re a B2B company, and your main goal is to generate leads via your website. Bearing this in mind, you’ll realize that simply tracking your number of site visitors isn’t enough. You’ll also need to set up your tool to track how many form submissions that you get.
2. Create custom dashboards
If you’re using Google Analytics, you’ll have the ability to create custom dashboards to monitor your key metrics. If you need some inspiration, check out the Solutions Gallery, which consists of many ready-to-use dashboard templates submitted by other users.
3. Make use of filters
Your internal employees (especially your developers or tech team!) probably visit your website frequently. In order to not have their visits kew your data, configure your web analytics tool to exclude the traffic from your office IPs.
A final word on using web analytics tools
Now that you’ve made it to the end of this article, we hope you’re crystal clear on why analytics is important, as well as why you should use Google Analytics (instead of other tools). As management guru Peter Drucker puts it, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Start measuring your key metrics with analytics tools, so that you can improve upon its performance!