Tracking Site Traffic

There are many great advantages for online businesses over other businesses.  The greatest is that you can measure almost everything about your customers such as where they came form, how long they spend on your site, how they got there, when they showed up and from where.  Once you have this information you can use it to grow your businesses as well as increase conversions and troubleshoot under performing pages.

All that customer information is automatically kept in a record from your web log.  You can access the date from your web host, or a better option is to use one of the many good, cost efficient analytics programs out there.  One of the best options for small to medium sized businesses is GoogleAnalytics, it’s free.  The only drawback is that it runs on a 24 hour delay.  Getting started with GoogleAnalytics is pretty easy.  Just sign up and link your subscription to your AdWords pay per click campaign, assuming you have one.  Once you are signed up you are given a little HTML code to add to the very end of the <body> part of your web page.  So, it goes right before the </body> tag.  That’s all there is to it.

Once it’s run for a while and you have some numbers to work with you will discover patterns in your traffic and strengths and weaknesses in your strategies.  Here are the statistics you need to be looking at:

Unique visitors: How many different people are visiting your site? This number will provide a starting point to measure the success of your future efforts.
If you aren’t getting many visitors consider implementing a pay per click advertising campaign with targeted landing pages.  Or maybe you just need better keywords?  Grab your keyword research tool of choice and start digging.

Page views: Every single viewing of a page on your site counts as a page view.  If I were to visit your home page and refresh it once I’ve just visited the page twice.  Pages with high page view are great for directing your traffic.  Encourage other websites to link to them, then create a clear path from them to your sales page.  Do not forget to include an enticing opt in offer on the popular pages so you can build your email list.

Referrers: Finding out which sites and search engine are referring the most visitors to your site is golden information.  If you notice that Wikipedia is bringing you 500 visitors per month and you investigate, discovering your spider resource site is listed in the Tarantula Wikipedia entry, perhaps other encyclopedia or educational resource sites would also link to you.  They could make great linking partners.  Maybe you could even offer them some custom content with keyword rich text in the body of the article, or perhaps a video?

Search terms:  These are the words that visitors typed into a search engine to find your website.  They are your keywords.  See which ones bring you the most traffic, and use them to build up your pay per click advertising campaign.  Keeping an eye on your search terms might help you stay on top of the current trends, and it can show you potential markets you have not considered yet.
Entry pages: An entry page is the place where a first time visitor lands, not necessarily the home page.  The pages that are obviously well optimized and working over time bring in more traffic.  There may be page that you expected to see in this list that are not there.  Try working on each page’s search engine optimization, as well as directing traffic via other methods, such as pay per click ads.

Exit pages: The exit page is the last page a visitor land before leaving your site.  Is there something about this page that is turning people off?  This is something you will want to track over a longer period of time.

Bounce rate: How fast are they leaving?  What percentage of the visitors to your site leave after less than 10 seconds?  Is there poor content on those pages?  It may be time to get back to keyword research, or you might try linking a page with high bounce rate to a popular page that will get traffic closer to a sale.

Visits by hour: Do you see any trends in your “visitor trending” statistics update?  Look for patterns.  If visitors are coming to your site during particular hours try a “daypating” pay per click campaign, your ads will then only show up at your visitor’s most active times.  That may improve your conversions.

Visits by country:  If it turns out that you are getting quite a few visitors from another country it is a very good idea to try geo-targeting your pay per click ads to your top referring countries.  Create international landing pages that reflect any cultural differences.  You may even consider adding another country domain extension.

One of the best advantages to doing business online is the incredible tracking in every movement, every ad campaign, and every keyword.  You have all the information you just need to use it.