- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On August 27, 2012
Creating a website is one thing. Making it popular is another. You can’t gauge whether your site is becoming more popular without keeping an eye on its statistics.
A free way to measure what is happening with your website is with Google Analytics. Google Analytics includes a broad array of robust tools that make it easy to assess the performance of your website. In this post, we’ll briefly touch upon a handful of key metrics you can learn from Google Analytics.
How much traffic is flowing to your site every month? A simple metric that shows you is “visits”. The “visits” number for your site is simply how many times your site was visited during the specified time period – by default Google Analytics sets the time period as one month.
You’ll find this number on Google Analytics’s dashboard panel so you can find out at a glance. The total number of visits to your site is prominently displayed. Data from the previous month is included too, so you can immediately see whether your traffic is going up or down.
The metric “unique visitors” is similar to “visits” but only counts the number of people that visited your site during the measured time period. Number of people is different to number of visits as someone that visits twice is counted as two “visits” but only one unique visitor. The “unique Visitors” metric tries to report how many individual humans came to your site this month.
How many pages on your site are people actually viewing? “Pageviews” are sometimes called “impressions”, especially when talking about advertising. If a person lands on your main page and then clicks a link to visit another page, his visit consists of two pageviews. If he then clicks around and visits three more pages, his visit consists of five pageviews. Pageviews is gives you as sense of how many visits to your site and how much content each visitor is looking at.
How are people finding your site? By getting a handle on that, you can determine where your marketing efforts are paying off and where they’re not. In Google Analytics traffic sources are first broken down into three broad categories: people who find your site through search engines, people who directly enter the URL of your site or get there through bookmarks and people who are referred to your site through links from other websites.
This data can give you the first clues as to how much impact any search engine optimization efforts are having; what might be coming from word-of-mouth or email or print marketing – where people are typing in your website address; or from social media or content marketing where people are clicking through from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
What content on your site is most popular? What works and what doesn’t? Google Analytics “Top Content” section ranks your site’s content according to how many times the pages were viewed (i.e. by ‘Pageviews’). By reviewing this data over time you can get a feel for the type of content your customers value. You can then produce more of what works and cut back on the content that is not popular.
Google Analytics offers a wide range of statistics that give you visibility into how your website is performing. By using it regularly a local business can tune its website to achieve better business results.