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As a business owner, you put a lot of thought into selecting a website provider, choosing the design, and fine tuning the content. Too often though, the two most important questions are overlooked. What do you actually want that content to accomplish, and how will you measure the results of your efforts?
Most website providers that offer SEO, if they are focused on producing results, will provide you with analytics for your site. But, what do those numbers mean, and what do they really say about the performance of your site?
If you want to measure the success of your site, here is a simple breakdown of what you should be focused on.
The number of visitors is important, but you want to differentiate between unique visitors and repeat visitors. Each unique visitor represents one person, no matter how many times they have visited your site. You could have 200 visitors in a certain period of time, but only 100 unique visitors. The other 100 are people who have already been on your site.
You want people to come back to your site time and time again, this means that your website is effective in providing information and answering their questions. But you also want to measure how many new visitors your marketing efforts are bringing to your site, because ultimately, you want to be attracting new prospects regularly. New prospects can turn into new sales.
Once you know how many people are visiting your site, and how many of them are uniquely new to your site, you’ll want to know how they actually got there. Was it through organic search results, PPC advertising, or a campaign you are running? This is referred to as the traffic source. This is crucial in understanding which of your marketing efforts are successful and which are not. It is important to note that some techniques may take time before seeing results, such as SEO and email marketing campaigns. They don’t produce instant results.
Time Spent on Site
The amount of time spent on your site is going to vary from person to person, but there are a few ways to get some very useful insight using these numbers. If the average time spent on your site is very small, say 30 seconds, you may have a problem.
If visitors are landing on your site, and then backing off after 30 seconds, there is more than likely an issue with some aspect of your site. Some common problems are appearance, usability, slow loading times, confusing layout, or simply that the message is not clear to the viewer. What is it that you want them to do?
If the average time spent on your site is longer, you can safely assume that visitors are able to interact with your site and they are finding the content beneficial and interesting.
Number of Pages per Visit
This number tells you, on average, how many pages each visitor is viewing on your site. If you have pages and pages of content on your site, but the average number of pages visited is 1, there may be a problem. People may be having trouble navigating the site, or maybe there aren’t clear enough directions leading people to your content. Your site should be both engaging and directional. It should lead your prospects through the different pages. Think of the amount of time and resources that went into creating those pages, and if you are not leading people to them, they are not being utilized.
Now that you understand what these analytics mean, and what they actually measure, you can understand why they are so important to monitor. If you want your site to be successful, you need to know what’s working and what’s not, plain and simple. Keep these four measures in mind next time you look at your analytics, and you will be amazed at how much you can learn.
Keep in mind that if the numbers aren’t where you would like them to be, that’s ok. Think of it as a testing method. If you see that the numbers are too low, or they are indicative of a problem, dig deeper. One of the most valuable characteristics of analytics is that they allow us to see exactly what is going on with our site, and then fine tune it to increase performance. Before analytics, it was like throwing darts while blindfolded. You could never be sure that your efforts were working, and there was really no way to measure the results. Now, there is nothing stopping you from being in complete control of the success of your site.