Do you follow the traffic statistics on your website? Why should you care and how can it help you?
There are many different website tracking programs and the 2 that I like to use are Statcounter and Google Anaytics. On each of these they are free to setup your account and configure. You get a piece of coding that you or your web programmer will add to each page of the website. Once you have this added you can login to the stat site to view the action.
Viewing the traffic
You can get different views of periods of times.
- Visitors – look at numbers of first time and returning visitors. If you have a lot of first time visitor but a low number of return visitors – look at your site and see if you are giving people good reasons to book mark you, add your RSS feed, sign up for something that will bring them back to the site on a regular basis. Does your email newsletter and blog lead people back to your website for more information?
- Pages – what are the most popular pages on the website? Look at the number of hits sorted by frequency. What pages are not visited? Are people getting to your action pages – your sign up forms, contact pages?
- Conversions – on Google Analytics you are able to setup specific GOALS. For example you could set as a goal the reply page from your contact for, or a download of a free report. What is the conversion rate on your website – i.e. how many people that come to the site get to your goal.
- Geographic – Where are your website visitors coming from? You can see the information in a map or as a list of countries, states and cities. This information can be valuable in looking for new business opportunities. You may have a very local service – but if you have an international reach are there some information products or other things that you can consider that would be appropriate for the broader geographic interest?
- Path – How many pages do your visitors look at and what path do they take through the site? You can view specific visitor paths, and statistics on average number of pages per visit. Reviewing this information gives you an idea of how “sticky” your site is and if people stay for a long time and browse or participate in some way.
- Search Engines – What keywords are people using that get them to your site? Which search engines are sending you traffic? Do these give you ideas for additional meta tags or search engine optimization? Are there some major search engines that are not sending you traffic? Check that your site is registered with them to get indexed. Check that your site includes good keywords and descriptions in the meta tags and particularly on the home page of your website that you use text in the body area the describes your key concepts.
- Other sites – What other websites are sending you traffic. This might be from your own blogs or from your related websites or alliance partners. Look at the sites that are sending you traffic – can you help them in some way or are there other sites similar to them that you can build a relationship with?
These are just a few ideas on how to use your website traffic statistics to help you plan and continue to improve and build your website to be an effecitve part of your business or nonprofit.
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