Five website analytics metrics every small business should track
Many small business owners shy away from website analytics. Why? Because it’s not the easiest subject to tackle. Many articles and resources out there are filled with jargon, which makes web analytics intimidating to anyone who is not familiar with it. Also, staring at a sea of statistics and metrics doesn’t sound too appealing, especially if you don’t know what to look for, how to interpret what you’re seeing, and what to do next.
We’re hoping that by reading this article you’ll get a clear understanding of what website analytics is, which metrics to look at in your reports, and how to read and apply them to improve your website.
What website analytics is and why it’s critical to the success of your business
Website analytics allows you to measure, collect, and analyse your site’s performance and your visitors and customers’ behaviour on your site. It helps you understand what’s working and what you can do to improve the effectiveness of your website.
For example, analytics data can show how visitors found your website, which devices they used, which pages they visited, and how long they spent browsing through your site.
Tracking these things is critical to the success of your business because it allows you to make informed decisions about your site based on data rather than assumptions or “gut feeling”.
Website analytics uses metrics to measure quantitative data. There are lots of metrics available that allow you to track and analyse what’s most important to you. So, in this article, we’ll share the five most important metrics that we believe any small business owners should track.
Before you begin
You’ll need to use a tool like Google Analytics to be able to collect and analyse your website analytics data. This is not only free but also very powerful so make sure to create a Google Analytics account and install it on your site, if you haven’t already. Read these help articles to learn more about how to set up your account and get started with Google Analytics.
If you’re a 123 Reg customer and have built your site using our Website Builder, you’ll get access to analytics data which lets you to see how your site is performing, how many people are visiting your site, and where they’re coming from. Although you can still add Google Analytics if you want to go into more detail on things.
Five key web analytics metrics to track for your website
If you’re new to the world of analytics, here are the key metrics you should monitor before anything else.
1. Total traffic
Total traffic represents the total number of people who have visited your website during a period of time you select (eg last month or last month this year compared to the same month last year. In Google Analytics, you can find this information under Acquisition > Overview.
This tells you whether your online marketing strategy is paying off and whether you can do more to attract more visitors to your site. While some factors are out of your control such as search engine algorithms and seasonality, there are lots of things you can do to reach more people and entice them to visit your website.
Read these posts to learn how to boost traffic to your site:
- Six ways to promote your business on a shoestring budget
- How to build your online authority and attract new customers
2. Traffic sources
At a restaurant, customers can arrive by foot, bike, car, tube. And on a website, customers can arrive from Google searches, social media, forums and groups, sites you’re partnering with, customers blogging about your business, and more. In Google Analytics, you can find this information under Acquisition > Source/Medium.
By looking at your traffic sources, meaning where your visitors and customers are coming from, you can determine where you should invest more time and effort to promote your business. For example, if most of your audience comes from Google searches, you can try to use search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices to make your site easier to find at the top the search engine results.
Make sure you’re not focusing your promotion efforts on a single channel or traffic source. Try to promote your business on multiple channels and then analyse the results to see which ones work best for you.
3. Top landing pages
The Landing Pages metric shows you the top pages visitors land on when visiting your site. For example, if someone runs a search on Google for “emergency plumber”, sees one of your pages in the search results and clicks on it to go to your site, then the page they land on is a landing page. In Google Analytics, you can find this information under Behavior > Landing Pages.
As soon as you click on it, you’ll see the top landing pages on your site, along with the number of visitors that have landed on each page. You can also see the average length of time visitors have stayed on each page as well as the bounce rate for each page (more information follows).
So, what can landing pages tell you? They can tell you how your site pages are performing and whether visitors can find what they’re looking for. If someone lands on one of your pages from your email newsletter, it tells you they’re interested in that topic. But if they spend too little time on that page, it may mean that they didn’t find what they were hoping to find.
Read these posts to learn more about landing pages and how to improve yours:
- Landing pages: The key to improving website sales
- Five landing page mistakes that are costing you sales
5. Bounce rate
A bounce is when a visitor lands on a page on your website and leaves before clicking to visit another page. It’s like someone entering your store, taking a quick look around, and walking back out.
Here are a few ways of leaving your site that can constitute a bounce:
- Hitting the back button
- Typing a different URL into their browser
- Closing the window or tab
- Clicking on an external link
In Google Analytics, you can find this information under Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages.
Why do people “bounce”? It can be because visitors aren’t finding what they expected or what they’re looking for. It can also be because your site is confusing, too busy, or is taking too long to load, which is something you need to fix right away. Read this post to learn more about bounce rates and ways to fix yours.
6. Site speed
The site speed metric tells you how long your pages are taking to load for visitors. In Google Analytics, you can find this information under Behaviour > Site Speed > Overview.
Site speed is critical to your business and website success. Why? Because visitors today are impatient. If your site takes more than three seconds to load, you risk losing visitors, potential customers, and revenue.
You also risk losing your visibility in the search engine results because page speed is a Google ranking factor. This means that if your site takes too long to load, your rankings can drop, which can make it more difficult for visitors to find your site on the first page of the search engine results.
Read this post to learn more about how you can speed up your website.
If you want to be successful online and attract more customers, you need to use website analytics. Whether you choose to use Google Analytics or the analytics feature included in your Website Builder package, or both, you need to track and analyse these key metrics. It’s the only way to see how well your site is performing and what else you can do to provide a better experience to anyone visiting your site.