Tracking internet traffic is a topic I’ve covered here on Eventective before, but it’s one worth revisiting. Having a website is a fantastic way to promote your business to potential customers, but it’s also an opportunity to learn about yourself and your customers. The more you know about your visitors, the better you can focus your marketing efforts.
Google Analytics is the best free tool for website monitoring. It’s easy to set up an account, and once you (or your web guy) install the tracking code on all your pages, the tracking begins. Over time, you’ll develop a profile of who is visiting your website, where they are coming from and what they like about your site.
There is no doubt that the information you will receive can be confusing, but learning something new is what makes life interesting. Set aside some time to watch an Analytics Tutorial for Beginners, or sit down with that web guy and pick his big brain. That’s what you pay him/her for right?
What to look for:
- Number of Visits/Unique Visitors/New Visitors – These three related but distinct figures tell you lots about your site. They indicate the frequency your site is being viewed, how many individuals are visiting and how often they come back.
- Bounce Rate/Duration of Stay – These numbers are an indication of the effectiveness of your site and your marketing. If you have a high bounce rate, a measure of users who quickly leave the site, then your site is not what the user was looking for. Duration of stay is a measure of how much time they spend on your site, the longer the better.
- Traffic Sources/Referrers – This is a great measure of marketing efforts. If you are paying for traffic, you better see results here. Focus your marketing dollars where you get results.
The longer you have Analytics running against your site, the better you will understand your users. What time of year, and even what time of day folks are seeking you out can drive how and when you spend your marketing budget.
Google Analytics is not the only tool out there, but it is probably the most widely used. It’s easy to install, but not terribly intuitive to interpret the information provided by it. It might help to read up a bit after you get some data logged on your traffic.