Why does your website exist and how do you measure if it’s meeting that goal?
If your site is selling something, the answer seems simple. You measure success by the revenue generated.
The average online retailer expects roughly a 2% conversion rate. So for every 100 visitors, 2 will buy. What if you have a much higher conversion rate because you’re not really a typical retailer. Maybe you’re seeing 20% conversion because you offer something special, or strange, and when people go to the trouble of searching you out, they’re ready to buy. Should you be content?
Many sites are just informational, or entertainment. How are they measuring success? Is it just page views?
Obviously you should never be content with your website. Especially if your using it as a sales tool. Most of us can do better.
After a few days, log into your Google Analytics account and look at the first page. It will show you “visits” at the top. Looking at site visits is like when the doctor listens to your heart. Not very technical, but a good indication of overall health. More important than the actual number are the trends you can see.
This is a site I do some work with and have access to their analytics data. As you can see, the lose a lot of visitors each weekend. Interesting, but not much you can really do about that. Other data on there is also interesting, like an overall bounce rate of 56%. That means roughly half the people who get to the site, bounce away within a few seconds. Believe it or not, 56% isn’t bad. For a site wide bounce rate, you only have to worry once you get up around 70%. There is even some speculation that a very high bounce rate can effect how Google views your site and how you rank and show up in the search results.
Another interesting number is the Avg Time on Site. Two minutes isn’t great, and I would love to double that number. Between the bounce rate and average time on site, you start to get a better feel for what your visitors are doing.
Now to get to one of most important parts of your data; where your visitors are coming from.
In the screenshot above you can see how Google Analytics starts breaking things down for you.
You can see that roughly 60% of the traffic is finding the site through the search engines. Let’s keep digging into that search engine data. Which search engines are we talking about here?
Well, not surprisingly, Google sent a ton of traffic. Having roughly 70% of the search market will do that.
Now this is where your stats often start to get more interesting. I click on the google/organic link and look at just the Google traffic. Since it’s half the traffic, I’m not surprised that it is “average”.
But what about the traffic from warnuts.com? It’s not actually a search engine, it’s an online gaming forum, but it sent a considerable amount of traffic. The interesting part is how different the warnuts traffic acted.
Look at those numbers! Mostly return visits, looked at a lot of pages and stayed an average of 12 minutes. Keep in mind, it’s only 1% of the traffic, but it is a subset that any site would be foolish not to cultivate. These are true fans.
In stark contrast to the warnuts guys are the visitors that Google’s Image Search sent.
Blah. Crappy traffic. This is a case of transient traffic that was looking for an image or photo. Don’t expect to get much from this traffic, but there’s always a change you will hook someone.
The moral of the story is “keep drilling down”. The interesting statistics are not on the dashboard, they’re at least 2 or 3 clicks in.
Come back for part 2, I’ll get into how to put together custom data sets that can really change how you think about your visitors.