In the following post Heidi Richards Mooney, Founder of Women in Ecommerce™ discusses What Your Website Traffic Can Tell You. You can read the article below or click on the Audio Link and listen while you are doing other things:
Did you know you can analyze your website traffic to find “clues” as to how people find your site, where they come from and what they do when they reach you? And its as simple and being able to read and understand your web traffic statistics.
Your web hosting company should be able to provide you with basic traffic information. The most important thing is for you to be able to interpret that information so you know the steps to take to either correct any negative patterns or maximize the traffic that stays. Although the numbers can be overwhelming, once you understand them and learn how to apply the information to your particular website, you are on your way to achieving higher rankings, better traffic and most importantly better conversion rates.
Your website analytics can reveal vital information about the effectiveness of individual pages, as well as visitor habits and motivation. Knowing this information is essential information to any successful Internet marketing campaign. Let’s start by examining the most basic data – the average visitors to your site on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
These figures are the most accurate measure of your website’s activity. While you would think that the more traffic you see recorded, the better you can assume your website is doing, that is not the total picture. It is important to look at the behavior of your visitors once they come to your website to accurately gauge the effectiveness of your site.
HITS ~ There is often a great misconception about what is commonly known as “hits” and what is really effective, quality traffic to your site. Hits simply means the number of information requests received by the server. Once you understand that a hit can simply equate to the number of graphics per page, you begin to understand how exaggerated the concept of hits can be. For example, if your homepage has 15 graphics on it, the server records this as 15 hits, when in reality we are talking about a single visitor checking out a single page on your site. As you can see, hits are not really useful in analyzing your website traffic.
The more visitors that come to your website, the more accurately you can interpret the data. The greater the traffic is to your website, the more precise your analysis will be of overall trends in visitor behavior. Conversely, the smaller the number of visitors, the more a few anomalous visitors can distort the analysis.
TIME ~ The aim is to use the web traffic statistics to figure out how well or how poorly your site is working for your visitors. One way to determine this is to find out how long on average your visitors spend on your site. If the time spent is relatively brief, it usually indicates an underlying problem. Then the challenge is to figure out what that problem is. If visitors are clicking off 30 seconds or less after they land on your site, there could be other problems such as misleading keywords, poor webpage descriptions, or not enough information to engage your visitors.
It could be that your keywords are directing the wrong type of visitors to your website, or that your graphics are confusing or intimidating, causing the visitor to exit rapidly. Use the knowledge of how much time visitors are spending on your site to pinpoint specific problems,. Once you correct those problems, continue to use time spent as a gauge of how effective your fix has been.
PAGES ~ Additionally, web traffic stats can help you determine effective and ineffective areas of your website. If you have a page that you consider important, but visitors are quickly leaving, that page needs attention. You can fix these by a) improving the link to this page by making the link more noticeable and enticing; b) improving the look of the page; c) improving the ease with which your visitors can access the necessary information on that page.
If you find visitors spending more time on pages that you consider important, then try moving some of your sales copy and marketing focus to that particular page.
EXIT ~ Your exit pages are generally your final order or contact form. This is a page you can expect your visitor to quickly leave once they have completed their task on your site. Since every visitor to your site will not find exactly what he or she is looking for, your statistics may show you a number of different exit pages. This is normal unless you notice a exit trend on a particular page that is not intended as an exit page. If you find a significant percentage of visitors are exiting your website on a page not designed for that purpose, examine that particular page to find out why they are leaving. Once you pinpoint potential weaknesses on that page, minor adjustments to the content or graphics may have a significant impact on the keeping visitors moving through your site instead of exiting at the wrong page.
KEYWORDS ~ After you have analyzed your visitor statistics, it’s time to analyze your keywords and phrases. Notice if particular keywords are directing a specific type of visitor to your site. The more targeted the visitor – meaning that they find what they are looking for on your site, and take some sort of action such as filling out your contact form or making a purchase – the more valuable that keyword is.
However, if you find a large number of non-qualified visitors (those that would never take some sort of action) are finding your site by a particular keyword or phrase, that keyword demands adjustment. Keywords are vital to bringing quality visitors to your site, those who are ready to do business with you. Close analysis of the keywords your visitors are using to find your site will give you important information that will help you understand your visitor’s needs and motivations.
Finally, if you notice that users are finding your website by typing in your company name, its time to celebrate! That means you have achieved a significant level of brand recognition, and this is a sure sign of burgeoning success.
Note: Did you know that when you join Women in Ecommerce™ as a Platinum Member we will do a brief analysis of your website for you? This analysis gives you your web ranking and how your ranking was achieved as well as a few tips to improve your website rankings. When you JOIN Women in Ecommerce™ you also receive access to several of our “packaged” summit programs as well as access to our latest interviews with experts on topics of interest to women entrepreneurs, webpreneurs, online retailers and more.