Back

posted on March 23th, 2011

Introduction to Web Analytics Software – Measure Your Business Website Performance

BY Jason Howard in Internet Marketing ,

asrticle1
 

As a result driven web solutions company, we receive website design and redesign requests every day. The obvious question that we ask is – why do you think your website needs a redesign?

The reasons for web redesign vary and your reason may be different too for a website makeover or enhancement to your existing website. However, as most of us understand that web redesign is a significant investment and we better have a strong justification for the time, money and effort that is put in for it by you and your professional design experts.

As internet marketing consultants, we always do a lot of decision making on behalf of our clients when matters are related to their web properties. What makes us choose an option over the other? What data do we analyze that helps us take informed decisions and reducing any risks of loosing traffic or compromising on the usefulness and usability of the client’s website? This article explains in depth the real question: Do you know how your website is performing?

What Tools Tell You About Your Website?

Web Analytics software works in two ways – some of them like AWStats analyze the log files which are generated on your server. The others, like Google Analytics, Crazyegg and SiteCatalyst are javascript based website analytics tools. These software programs give you a small Javascript code that has to be put on all the pages of your website.

Google Analytics is one of the most important, widely used free web analytics tool. If you are running a business blog, Sitemeter and Mint are popular tools that can be used. Get Clicky, Crazyegg, Web Trends and Omniture Site Catalyst are the others which are fee based solutions (apart from Clicky which disables ads on its interface for a fee) and aim to measure much more in a simple, concise yet powerful way.

These tools hold a sea of information in them and form the basis of our decision making. This meaningful information arms a results driven company like ours to make changes and redesigns that work for our clients.

What These Tools Tell?

These tools give you actionable information about your website. From the dashboard and major categories like Visitors, Traffic Sources, Goals and Content, you can get a general idea of how your website is performing in terms of bounce rate, average time on site, exit rate, goal conversion ratios, top referral source, keywords etc. You can drill down in these reports to minutely analyze how each section or each page of your website is performing.

Do these pages get visits from other websites, or only the traffic that flows from other pages of your own site, which keywords bounce the most, from which source most of the goal conversions happen and so on and so forth.

This data can be compared along different timelines and different timeframes. Most of the above mentioned tools help you identify custom metrics and also advance segmentation using which you can analyze multiple data points at a given time.

Since data is just data, you may need to do some bit of reading online to generate meaningful references out of this sea of information. Also, you can take help from professional web analytics experts like us to help solve the mystery before you go in for a big redesign investment.

Let us take an example of lesser conversion to visit ratio. This means that though your website clocks hundreds of visits every day, not many people send you an inquiry or ring you up or write an email. This is equivalent to having many people visiting your storing, trying to figure out something but then leaving without purchasing from you. As with the store, you would start analyzing the root cause for this behavior. The trouble may be with one or more of the many things on your site like the sales copy, the buttons, the navigation or something else which either distracts customers or is broken. The lower conversion rates may also be due to the source of the referral. It is possible that your website is ranking for a keyword which you do not serve, an example would be that we sell insurance policies and do not cover car insurance. Still if we somehow rank high for the term “car insurance”, chances are critical that the visitors won’t find what they were looking for and leave the website empty handed.

It has been not uncommon for us to do a lot of A/B split testing and multivariate testing for your redesigned landing pages with intent to test things like sales copy, call to actions, image and video placements, font color and sizes and what not. Testing (or rather testing the important things) can have a remarkable impact on the conversion rate of your website. For a client we found that most of the conversions that happened included an “industry modifier” in the keyword that users searched for. A quick action that we took was to raise the ranking of our client for such important modifiers and also use terms in the titles and preferably near the call to action. The traffic doubled with our SEO or local internet marketing effort but with the second step, the conversion rate increased by around 70 times!

What we did was simple, but still had a huge impact on our clients’ conversion rate. People wanted to deal with a local service provider who was quality conscious and had a quick turnaround for orders. We said that this is what we do. Simple.

Web analytics tools also tell you how you are performing in search engines, how your paid campaign are performing, how your offline promotions (which lead to the website) are doing and where to buy more advertisements to get the best return for your money.

Remember that people are in a hurry online and there are tens of competitors a click away. Take more than 5 seconds and your visitor may be your web savvy competitor’s new customer. While you spend a lot of money online with SEO, PPC and web advertising, you need to know how these visitors act once on your website. If they are hitting the back button, what is wrong? Visitors may drop out of your “conversion funnel” at any point and fixing this leakage is only possible if you are armed with proper analytics information.

Web analytics will bring all the user interaction data points to your door front and it would be up to you to make most of it for improving visitor experience and getting more return from your website with that design or redesign.

READY TO GET STARTED?

Let’s Talk About Your Project