Getting to know exactly how popular your website is is good business practice.
After a long planning period, designs flying backwards and forwards, and plenty of SEO research and implementation, your website is live and ready for business. But how do you monitor the success of your site? The most popular tool out there, Google Analytics, will be your best friend.
Options for initially encouraging traffic to your website include sending out promotional emails, posting on your social media pages to entice your friends to have a look, and maybe even running some ads and PPC campaigns to get that kickstart of traffic. But once it’s going, how do you analyze website traffic? Knowing where your traffic comes from is one of the most important things to identify, as this enables you to focus on your traffic sources.
Enter Google Analytics.
The summary page of Google Analytics shows you how to check website traffic. It displays the number of sessions, users, pageviews, session duration and the all important bounce rate.
It also specifies the countries of your audience, language and what system users are coming from (browser, operating system and service provider).
So how can these metrics help you monitor the success of your website?
The average session duration gives you an idea of how engaged users are with your site. If they don’t spend much time on there, this is an indication that they are not really interested in what you’re providing, or that your content might be overwhelmingly long and unreadable. The longer users spend on your site, the more likely it is that users are having an enjoyable experience and that your content matches what they are searching for.
The bounce rate indicates what percentage of traffic that comes to your site has found something interesting to their search or not. If the bounce rate is high, that usually means your website is not providing what theses users were searching for, so they leave the site quickly. This does not necessarily mean that your content is bad, however it does indicate that there might be a problem with the keywords and who they are targeting.
For example, if your website is about cats, and your keywords include cat, users searching for “cat” and clicking on your links might be expecting the brand “Caterpillar” construction and mining. These users will of course instantly leave your website. But this is not a reflection on your site.
By reconsidering search phrases and shifting the content targets on your site you can lower your bounce rate and attract more relevant traffic.
The channels feature on Analytics breaks the traffic down into organic search, referral, social and direct. Here you can identify which search terms are organically leading users to your website through Google. To have a better understanding of keywords you need to use Google Search Console, the king of keywords and searches.
Referrals are websites which point to your site. By monitoring these you can also become aware of spam sites.
What does website success look like?
Not all traffic is good traffic. You can have lots of visitors, but if the bounce rate remains high and the engagement of your users is low, what does that mean for you? You want your users to spend time on your pages, and enjoy the easy navigation and interesting features. This user base is a great foundation to start with. These users will then be happy to spread the word and bring you more targeted interests. Using social media can help bring the right users too, as only someone who is genuinely interested in your site’s content will click on a link. Soon your fans will grow and the more traffic you bring to your site, the more Google will reward you in your rankings.
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