A Beginner's Guide To Website Analytics | lolsmg.com
A Beginner's Guide To Website Analytics | lolsmg.com

You have a website, now you want to know how that site is performing.  Here are the key stats that you should be keeping any eye on. Knowing what these stats mean and what they can tell you about your site will start you off on the road to website success.

Terminology:

  • Visit - A visit is a session or period of time where a visitor to your site is active. Visits usually time out after a period of inactivity by the visitor, effectively ending the visit.
  • Pageviews - This is the number of pages viewed on your site by visitors.
  • Pageviews/Visit - This is the number of pages a visitor views on your site per session.  It's your number of page views divided by the number of visits.
  • Bounce Rate - This number is the portion of the visitors to the website that leave or "bounce" after accessing the site, as opposed to those that stay and view other content on the site.
  • Average Time on Site - This is an average measure of how long visitors are spending on your site.
  • % of new visits - This percentage shows you how many of your sites visitors are new to the site.
  • Landing Pages - The page of your site that a visitor first views.
  • Referrals - Sites that have sent traffic or visitors to your site.

What to Look For:

Ideally you want your site traffic to be steady, preferably steadily growing!  Changes in your site traffic can happen for many reasons.  From a change in Google's algorithms to a sudden spike in viral traffic from a social media site, to a problem with your analytics code itself (oops, did you forget to put that code back into your brand new theme?)

Bounce rates should be low. A high bounce rate can indicate that your site needs to do a better job of keeping visitor's attention on the site or that you are drawing in traffic that is uninterested in what your site has to offer.

The landing pages information will help you determine which pages of your site draw the most traffic. This can be useful if you are A/B testing different landing page or to figure out what content visitors prefer on your blog.

Referrals show you where your traffic is coming from. This can help you allocate your time more wisely. Many referrals from social networks can show you how the time spent on those networks is paying off. Referrals from search engines demonstrate good SEO, and referrals from other websites indicate leads that might be worth following. If a site is sending you lots of traffic it may well be worth it to connect with them, if only to say thank you or perhaps partner with them on an affiliate plan.

This only scratches the surface of what analytics can do for you and your site.  Analytics providers like Google Analytics offer a wide array of information from demographics, to time of day information and even where visitors click when they visit your site.  Learning more about your site's traffic will help you make improvements to your site to drive more traffic, and more conversions.