Author: Mark Birkett
Once any website has been completed, you will very soon want to know whether you're getting the traffic results you hoped for. In other words, is your new website generating the new leads, new customers and new business you need...?
Without such data and statistics, it's almost impossible to know whether your website provides a genuine return on investment. The good news is that Web-statistics packages like Google Analytics can really help.
Whilst there are lots of web statistics packages available, by far the best (in our humble view) is Google Analytics. And it's FREE!
To make use of it, apply for a FREE Google Analytics account and simply add a small snippet of code to the <HEAD> area of all your web pages. It will look something like this:
var _gaq = _gaq || ;
ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script'); s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
The user account (UA) number is completely unique to you, shown above in bold grey. This code snippet allows Google Analytics to track visitor activity on every page and then produce a truly astonishing amount of data, including:
You can access this data 24/7/365 via the unique, username and password login we set up for you.
For the purposes of this article, we will assume that:
Your keyphrase research should have uncovered the following vital information:
At this point, with all preparation for 'search engine success' in place and the site published, we need to check that the traffic we planned to attract is actually arriving. But how?
Well, let's assume at least a month has gone by since your site was published. This will give us a reasonable amount of data to begin our analysis.
After logging in, this is what a typical opening page looks like;
|Google Analytics - Example Opening Page|
Using the date selector at the top right of the page, we can choose to see hourly, daily, weekly or monthly data. In this example, we are looking at the statistics from 1st July 2011 to 1st July 2012 - i.e. a year's worth of data - and with the resulting graph reflecting the 'ups and downs' of the daily results.
|Google Analytics - Selecting a Time Period|
Looking more closely at the page, we can see the most important parameters are shown clearly:
|Google Analytics - The Key Parameters|
But what do these all mean? Let's examine each one in turn:
With the raw data above we can already make quite a few useful observations about how well the site is performing as a whole. But what about individual pages? What if we had a an otherwise very 'successful' site but one where there was a glaring flaw buried deep inside? What if that design flaw was discouraging potential customers from actually making contact, even when they really wanted to? How would we know? Could Google Analytics tell us where we were going wrong?
The short answer is "Yes".
One of the key functions contained within the programme is the ability to track how visitors are navigating the site. Using the left-hand menu, you can select Audience > Custom > Visitors Flow. The following screen is typical. From left to right you can track the pages visitors looked at (green with this particular colour scheme) and see where they left or 'dropped off' the site (red with this particular colour scheme).
|Google Analytics - Visitor Flow Page|
Looking more closely (from top left to bottom right on this expanded example below), we can see that of the 84,700 (84.7k) visitors who started at the Home page, 15,700 (15.7k) went on to the Traditional Bridal Wear page. And 10,500 (10.5k) and 8,110 (8.11k) visitors chose other pages of the site. So Traditional Bridal Wear is the most popular page by some margin.
Using the same image below, you can also see that of the 15,700 who looked at the Traditional Bridal Wear page, 1,650 (or 10.6%) left the site altogether (in red here).
As the site owner, you might be alarmed at that dropoff rate, or rather pleased that 89.4% (or 14,000 visitors) stayed to look further into the site.
|Google Analytics - Visitor Flow Page|
Using the same process as described above, and by way of example, it would be perfectly possible to check the drop-off rate on a 'Contact Us' page. But how?
Well, let's suppose you could see that visitors were coming in their thousands to the Home page, then examining your Products and Services pages and then getting to your Contact Us or Checkout page to get in touch with you - or place an order.
Now let's suppose there was a huge drop-off rate right there. That might persuade you to look again at whether the Contact Us page had perhaps been badly designed. Maybe you'd been asking your visitors to fill in too many text fields. Or maybe the Checkout page was simply too complicated to complete.
In short, using the 'drop off' graphics in Google Analytics you can often deduce where a given page might have a significant design or functionality problem.
One of the most important tasks is to make sure that the traffic we planned to attract from our initial keyword research is actually arriving at the site. To do this, we need to use the left menu in Google Analytics and choose Traffic Sources > Overview. The opening page looks like the example below:
|Google Analytics - Traffic Sources Page|
Looking more closely, we see that Analytics has provided us with the phrases that people have actually used to successfully find this particular site.
(NOTE: It should be noted that, by definition, Google Analytics cannot tell us which phrases people unsuccessfully used to try to find this type of website).
|Google Analytics - Top Ten Traffic Generating Phrases|
In this example, you can see that of the 77,461 unique visitors (which we talked about earlier), some 7,692 of them arrived at the site by entering the phrase 'asian wedding dresses' into search engines - representing 9.59% of the total unique visitors the site has had.
That's arguably a pretty good result. But why?
Well, with just this phrase alone, we can see that a large number of visitors per year were actively seeking information on 'Asian Wedding Dresses'. In other words, they were 'pretty hot leads'. And, even if some of them ended up going to competitor websites from the search engine they used, more than seven and a half thousand of them clearly chose to come to this one.
So why does that matter to this particular business? Well, we asked earlier whether a given new site would represent a liability or a good return on investment. So which is it? What do these real figures tell us? Let's do the maths;
If only 1% of them actually ended up buying an Asian wedding dress, that's around 70 wedding dresses sold in a year. If 10% ended up buying one, that's 700 dresses. And so on.
Now let's say, for the sake of argument, that the profit on a bespoke wedding dress is £100.00. If 700 of them are sold, that's £70,000 profit in one year. But let's not get carried away too far. Let's make the more pessimistic - and perhaps more realistic - assumption that only 1 in 100 site visitors (1%) will actually buy a dress. That still means we've made a profit of 70 x £100 = £7,000.
Now let's suppose that this particular website cost, as a reasonable assumption, £2500.00 to build; what was the profit on the entire exercise? Answer...
£7,000 - £2,500 = £4,500.00 Gross Profit
With a profit like this, arguably, the website was well worth doing. And that was for just one of the phrases shown. It may well be that the 'conversion rate' for different phrases differs / improves.
The main points are that Google Analytics can help you:
For this service we charge an unbeatable £FREE! For further details, call us on 01706 345648 today!