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Analytics can be daunting to a first time user, but with a little practical understanding analytics can enable business owners to track, measure, and collect data and lend a greater understanding of what is and isn’t working as far as a company website, design, ads and promotions are concerned.
Web analytics track web traffic from start to end. A business owner can see how users are utilizing their site, how long they are on the site, and how many visitors are unique versus page views and finally, what pages users are exiting.
Components of web based analytics
After determining specific goals for your company, analytics can effectively show if you’ve grabbed the attention of your customers. Many options are available for analytics including Google analytics or quality PR or marketing firms. Each individual needs to decide which option would work best for them based on personal needs and competency
Bounce rate will show if a user has left a specific site without viewing a second page within the site.
Exit rate determines which pages users are leaving your site from and can show weaknesses in your site or flaws in design.
Unique visits vs. page views a unique visitor is a single user who is accessing your site and they are categorized as a unique visitor based on the IP address used to access the site and the cookie on the browser. If the same user visits a specific site multiple times but from the same IP address and browser they count as a single unique view. However, every time they visit a different page on your site this counts as a page view. For example, if a user clicks the same site 10 times in a single day, this counts as 10 page views.
Which is more important?
What is more important can vary depending on the goals of each individual site and/or business. Let’s look at an example based on two different blog sites. Blog site A is receiving 10,000 page views but only 3,500 unique visits, but time on site averages 8 minutes. Blog site B is receiving 18,000 page views with 16,000 unique views, but time on site averages less than a minute.
What this tells you is Blog A has a devoted and engaged audience whereas Blog B isn’t connecting as well with their audience and can therefore have less influence over them. People who visit Blog B generally only look at a single page and spend very little time on site. Readers of Blog A are more likely to listen to suggestions and be influenced by the author—which can be incredibly valuable for advertisers or brands that partner with the blog site.
In general, time equates engagement. An engaged audience is more likely to buy products, click ads and refer friends and other businesses to your site. A high bounce rate indicates users don’t necessarily like what they’re seeing or that the content on the site is old or tired.
Web design is also pertinent to a websites success. First impressions are important in person and the same goes for on the web. Research your audience and make your website appealing to the people you would like to target. If design is outdated or the site itself is difficult to navigate users will leave and worse, will questions the sites legitimacy. Now days just about anyone can create a website, but not everyone can create a quality website. Depending on the site, the target audience, and your specific needs you might want to consider hiring a marketing and web development firm.
Finally, keep in mind that if your analytics show your unique views are low or bounce rate high, this is a valuable opportunity for improvement. Identify the issues and defects in your own site based on what pages users are exiting or what pages aren’t being accessed. Look for errors in your operating system, browsers and mobile devices to ensure all users can access your site from multiple platforms and remember to consider your free and paid options for analytics and web design.
Jameson Ballinger is a freelance writer for Z Networks Group in Miami, FL who has submerged himself in the world of technology, design and web marketing. He has written extensively about the benefits of web design and marketing, especially for small and niche businesses.