Traffic is great, but unless you analyze it, you won’t be able to squeeze the most juice out of it. You don’t want your visitors to just land on your site – you want them to get value and be happy. Analytics is the key to measuring the success of your website.
When it comes to website analytics, there are so many different platforms and so many metrics you can choose from. This can make it difficult to get a real picture of how your website is doing. So what are the different ways you can check your website analytics? And which one should you choose?
Why look at website analytics?
One of the first things you should do after you launch a website is to set up Google Analytics. It’s free, and it’s the most widely used analytics service. It’s also very powerful and offers a dizzying array of options.
There are many reasons to check your Google Analytics regularly. Here are a few:
- It helps you understand your audience better — what they like, what they don’t like, where they come from, how they use your site, etc.
- It provides insight into what content is working (so it can be replicated) and what isn’t (so it can be improved or eliminated).
- It helps you see which marketing campaigns are working and which ones aren’t (so you can save money by dropping those that aren’t working).
When you have a website, you want to know who is visiting your site, when they are visiting and where they are coming from. How else can you grow your web traffic?
Knowing this information can help you tailor content to meet your visitors’ needs and improve their experience on your site.
How to access your Google Analytics
Once you’ve got Google Analytics installed on your website, you’ll need to log in to see the data. Logging in is as simple as visiting the Google Analytics site and signing with the same account you used to set up your property. Once inside, you’ll find yourself on the home screen, which shows a summary of all of your properties.
The next step for most webmasters will be to go to their property and view the data, but before you do that there are a few things you should know about Google Analytics:
- Not all of your data is available immediately – it can take 24-48 hours for Google Analytics to start displaying data.
- Google Analytics rechecks their data periodically – this means that if you visit the dashboard today, it might not show the same numbers tomorrow. This is because Google rechecks their data occasionally and sometimes they’ll find extra data that wasn’t available when you first looked at it.
- Sometimes Google’s tag isn’t properly implemented and doesn’t send any data. This can happen if someone doesn’t follow instructions when installing the tracking code or if there’s a caching issue on the site where it was installed.
What to look for in your analytics
There are many different types of analytics tools out there, so think about what you want to know. You could start with Google Analytics, which gives you an overview of how many people visit your website and where they come from. Then you might use something like Microsoft Clarity or Hotjar to see exactly how they use your site (or why they don’t).
It’s worth remembering that analytics aren’t just numbers. They should be informing your decisions. If you can answer the question “why?” every time you look at an analytics report, then you’ve understood it correctly and can use it to take action.
First, you need to understand what your site analytics are showing you. Here’s what to look for:
This is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing a single page. If your bounce rate is high, it means that either you’re getting the wrong kind of traffic (not enough people who are interested in what you offer) or you’re not offering enough value once people get to your site. You can also see bounce rates on specific pages or types of pages (such as blog posts), which lets you refine your approach to each type of content.
Pages Per Visit:
This is how many pages a visitor looks at during an average visit. With this metric, higher numbers are better. If this number is low, it can mean one of two things: Either nothing is interesting on your site, and people leave quickly, or something IS interesting on your site, but it’s difficult for users to find other relevant content and keep exploring. In the latter case, improving internal linking and navigation can improve this metric.
Average Time on Site:
The amount of time someone spends on your website is a measure of user engagement — a longer time suggests more involvement, which is usually positive. However, this metric can also be skewed by video views or other content that involves ongoing play without additional clicks.
Understand pageviews vs. unique views.
When you look at your website analytics, you might see two different numbers: pageviews and unique views. Often, they’re not the same.
Most companies count unique views when looking at the overall performance of their website. But sometimes, seeing both numbers can help you understand the popularity of specific pages and how many times they get viewed.
It’s important to understand what those two numbers mean, and how they’re different.
What is a pageview?
A pageview is a simple number. It represents exactly what it sounds like: the number of times a page on your website has been viewed by a visitor. Whether that visitor came to that page once or 100 times, each time counts as one more pageview for that page. Pageviews are sometimes called hits or impressions.
What is a unique view?
A unique view is also pretty simple, though it’s counted differently than a pageview by most analytics tools. A unique view represents one person viewing one piece of content one time (or at least once per session). If you visit one webpage multiple times within the same session, that will only count as one unique view — even if you refresh the page a hundred times.
Gain a general overview of website usage with Heatmap Tools
Heatmaps are the perfect solution for understanding how your website visitors are interacting with your site. Understanding how people are using your website will help you determine what you need to change to optimize it. Heat Mapping tools like Hotjar and Microsoft Clarity provide a general overview of the following:
- Which pages have the highest click rates
- Which parts of a page are getting the most clicks
- How far down a page visitors are scrolling before leaving
- Which links visitors are clicking on (and which ones they aren’t)
Heatmaps are data visualizations that show the density of data points on a web page based on color. The more dense an area is with data points, the warmer the color will be. The less dense an area is with data points, the cooler the color will be. This helps us visualize where users focus their attention most within our website.
Why Use Heatmaps?
Heatmaps let us see what our users see. They show us exactly where users are scrolling, clicking, and even where they hover their mouse over links or buttons. With this information, we can make informed decisions about how to redesign or edit our site or app based on user behavior. For example:
If you see that people are spending a lot of time looking at your testimonials and not your call-to-action button, you might want to add another call-to-action button next to your testimonials.
All of this information is essential in determining how to make your website better for future visitors.
Search Analytics with Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that shows you a lot of useful data about how your site is doing in Google search. There’s a lot of overlap with Google Analytics, but Search Console can help you identify and fix website errors, submit new content for crawling, and build better search engine rankings.
It can be especially helpful for identifying technical problems like broken pages or problems with your sitemap. But it can also help you figure out why traffic is falling or rising, by showing sudden drops in impressions and clicks due to changes in search engine algorithms.
It’s important to know your website’s speed because it plays such a big role in the user experience. For example, did you know that 40% of users will leave if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load?
There are several tools available to check your website speed. At the top of the list is Google Pagespeed Insights. It’s fast, easy to use and it provides you with an overall score.
This video will show you how to check your website speed using Google Pagespeed Insights for both PC and mobile.
How To Check Your Website Speed
You can check your website speed using GTMetrix, Page Speed Insights and Pingdom Tools. These free tools will give you a breakdown of how fast your page loads and what can be done to improve it.
Each tool tests your page speed from different locations around the world to give a more rounded result.
Conclusion: Use data-driven decisions for your site design.
Now you can see that there are lots of different ways you can check your website analytics. It comes down to what you want to measure, and how much time and effort you want to put into analyzing the data.
You can try out different platforms and identify the metrics from each that best meets your needs. But how do you choose? That will come with some trial and error. However, hopefully, this article will help you narrow down your options so it doesn’t seem like such a daunting task.