Having a website for your business is one thing, but have you checked if it actually does its job?
Who visits your site? Are they spending anything? Where do they come from? What time of day or night do they visit? Did you get more visitors after advertising in the local newspaper?
What many business owners may not realize is that the answers to these questions are right at your fingertips through analytics packages, some of which are free.
Web analytics software gathers data and presents it in a format that you can use to make business decisions. This gives you access to information such as the number of people who first visited your site, the keywords they searched for when they found you, the links they clicked on, and the “rate. rebound “- how long they were there before they left.
One of the issues that keeps small business owners away from analysis is the word itself. Analytics conjures up a picture of IT people sifting through complex data. And while it’s not uncommon on the sharp end, the basic features of these tools – the ones the everyday user is most likely to need – are easy to use.
The best known and most widely used analysis software package is Google’s, Google Analytics. It’s free, and there’s even an official YouTube channel with easy-to-follow video tutorials.
Dr Aleksej Heinze, co-director of the Center for Digital Business at the University of Salford School of Business, says you should focus on collecting information on the ‘three V’s’ when looking at statistics for your site. These are: volume of visitors – how many people are visiting your site; the value of visitors – what are they spending; and visibility – how visible is your brand to search engines, social media networks and other traffic sources?
Heinze says, “Think strategically about how you use your website and what you would like to know to measure the success of your website performance. “
Liezl Hesketh runs The Room Link, a company that matches rooms in South Africa with potential tenants. She first experimented with Google Analytics on her personal blog, so when the time came to launch her business she was ready.
“We tied the analytics from day one, and it was amazing to see the stats and metrics go from nothing to a pretty busy site,” Hesketh says. “It made us realize that we could change, test and tweak things on the site and then measure them to see what the impact was.
“Initially, we outsourced everything to a small digital agency. I’m very glad we did because there was so much going on at launch, we just didn’t have time to get to grips with learning analytics as well. My husband got involved and took one of the Google courses so he’s more of a genius than me, but the more I use it the more I learn.
Using the data, Hesketh and her husband were able to make crucial business decisions.
She says, “People access the site from different devices at different times of the day. It’s mainly the office during the day, but after hours it switches to mobile and tablet. When we started, around 80% of the traffic was from the desktop, but that number dropped to around 50%, which means we had to improve the mobile user experience on the site as we don’t have a separate app. . “
Another important metric was traffic from social networks. “We quickly realized that we were getting very low click-through rates on Twitter, but very high on Facebook. So we focused on advertising on Facebook rather than advertising on Twitter, ”explains Hesketh.
Katrina Gallagher of web marketing company Digitangle helps clients develop digital marketing strategies. She says, “Analytics tools allow you to be better informed about your business, your customers, your competition and future opportunities, but data is useless if you don’t take action.
Analytics packages could be particularly useful in helping customers understand why their web traffic is taking a dramatic turn, she adds.
“Google Analytics has made it easier to access important information about your business by adding ‘intelligence events’. These highlight anomalies in your data, such as an unusually high or low number of visitors to a certain location, which you can then act on or trace back to your marketing activity.
Jeremy Greenwood, Director of Greenwood Magnetics, uses Google Analytics and LeadForensics, a paid tool that tracks who has visited the site.
“They say it’s hard to tell which half of an advertising budget is working and which half is a waste of money. Analytical tools help reduce unnecessary spending on advertising, ”he says.
But it’s not just about sales and visits. Finding out how people are visiting your site is a crucial step to help develop your future strategy. With the rapid rise of mobile, knowing how many people are visiting your site via mobile devices can provide valuable insight into whether to invest in redeveloping your site to make it mobile-friendly, if not already. made.
Chris Brown, Marketing Manager at WorkMobile, says the use of analytics tools has made a huge difference in the company’s bottom line.
“The use of Google Analytics and the other tools allowed the team to optimize our website and more than double the online conversion rates (from 1.75 to 3.75%), converting a greater part of our paid and organic traffic in new registrations, ”he says. “This has led to an increased number of high value-added accounts, contributing to a six-figure turnover for our bottom line. “
CrazyEgg: Provides easy-to-read “maps” of user activity, such as a heat map showing where people have clicked on your site.
Clicky Analytics: Gives you access to real-time data, allowing you to quickly respond to user activity.
Church Analytics: Also provides real-time analytics and has a user-friendly interface that might be less intimidating for novices than other software.
Kissmetrics: Offers a range of useful tools for commercial websites.
If you don’t have the budget for paid tools, there are free tools, such as:
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