Web analytics is an area of our business that we know is important.
Yet at the same time, many of us find that checking our analytics data tends to be the last thing that gets done. We blame this on the bustle of our business and how the quick pace of our society has been ingrained into our work ethos.
In web analytics, there are many metrics that can be measured, tracked and compared. However, for a busy person, like you, you may find that you do not have the time to look through all of these metrics.
Here are three web analytic metrics that you should pay attention to even if you lack the time.
Every visit comes from a source.
A referral refers to traffic that comes from a source besides the search engine this happens when a visitor arrives onto your page by clicking on the hyperlink found on another website. This is not to be mistaken with traffic that arrives from the search engine which can either be organic or paid.
By understanding this aspect of your traffic, it helps form a better perspective of your business and allows you to plan appropriate steps of action.
There is no right or wrong ratio of how much referral traffic you should be getting. However, referrals are highly encouraged, especially if you are interested to optimise your website for organic search. In order for there to be referral traffic, you would first need to have somebody backlinking to you.
Backlinking, also known as link building, is a common technique used in SEO and is known to be effective in improving the site’s general performance on the Search Engine Results Page and expanding your reach to audience that you previously would have no access to.
Referral traffic is more than securing a better placement on Google search result page, it also highlights who trusts your content. Just like how you would only make a purchase from a brand you trust, webmasters too would only link out to those they trust and view as credible.
Therefore, if you find that are receiving tons of referral traffic from a particular website, it may be worth reaching out to them to forge a relationship.
In an ideal situation, people would back link to you for free. However, if you are a budding business with small reach, organic backlinks may rarely occur. In order to build this network of backlinks, you would have to push your content out to influencers and fellow blogs.
As long as the content you are promoting has the quality aspect nailed, most blogs are willing to offer you a backlink. However, depending on the nature of the post as well as the individual blogs, some may offer a backlink for free while others may ask for a small fee.
Personally, we are impartial towards both types of treatment. However, if you have to pay a fee for a backlink, we would recommend that you monitor the referrals that are coming from said website. This is to ensure that the money you have paid to secure the backlink is well spent and effective in achieving your link building objectives.
It is important to establish that exit rates and bounce rates are not synonymous and referring to different things.
While bounce rates measures the number of users who have left the site without proceeding to another page or making an interaction, exit rates refer to the number of users who have left the site through that particular page.
Unlike conversion rate where a high figure is conclusively good regardless of context, the page’s context has to be taken into consideration when reviewing exit rate.
To do that, we must first try to understand what it means when a visitor leaves the site at a particular page. For example, when a visitor leaves at a registration page, it means that the visitor did not complete the registration form. Hence, if your registration page is sporting a high exit rate you would want to look deeper into it and try to identify the cause. We call this kind of exits unnatural.
However, not all pages with a high exit rate are unnatural and spell trouble. An example of such a page would be the thank you page, the page that your visitors see when they complete a conversion. As a visitor would naturally land on the page due to a conversion, a high exit rate for that page should not be worrying you. This is referred to a natural exit.
This explains why it is important to investigate the nature and purpose of a page before coming to conclusions of its performance.
But what does exit rate mean to you and why is it important to monitor it?
Well, it is important because it allows you, the user, to see how effective your content is. For instance, if you have a content that is relating with information about product X, the purpose of this content would most likely be persuasive and encouraging the purchase of said product. Hence, you would be expecting to see a low exit rate for this page. Anything otherwise should hint to you that something is wrong and you should probably investigate.
All pages are built with a purpose in mind.
Whether it is to raise brand awareness, increase your subscriber list or gain new customers. When a visitor takes an action that is in line with the purpose, it is called a conversion.
Measuring your conversion rate and being aware of it is crucial as it helps you to identify how your site is performing.
By comparing it against data from previous time periods or projects, you will be able to get a feel of how your business is performing.
Intuitively, you will be able to tell that your business is performing better when the conversion rate rises. Seeing an increase in the figure means that the number of conversions during that period has increased as conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of clicks.
However, knowing how your business behave is equally as important. In contrast to a high conversion rate, a low conversion rate is not necessarily always a bad thing. This can be due to the fact that visitors generally visit your site to gather more information while the conversions occur offline.
Hence taking into consideration how your customers behave is also important in analysing conversion rate.
Besides comparing current data with historical data, another way that you can measure your business’ progress is by putting it against the industry’s standard. By doing so, it helps create a more realistic expectation of what you can expect and also how you are doing in relation to the industry.
Although comparing your data against industry data is good in theory, it is difficult to execute in reality due to the lack of data. Thus, while advisable to use the industry standards as a way to measure your performance, it is more realistic to use your business’ historical data as a yardstick of comparison instead.
In any form of analytics, the data is only as good as the interpretation. And the truth is, we all wish that there was a standard way to interpret the numbers we see and measure our progress. Unfortunately, such a way does not exist.
In web analytics, knowing how your business works is as important as knowing what each metric mean. It is impossible to prescribe a one-size fits all kind of statement since every business operates differently and are restricted by different types of constraints.
Hence, it is more useful to know the fundamentals of each metrics and then apply them to the conditions of your business.
In this post, we covered the three metrics that we feel are important. Did we miss out any? Let us know in the comments. Also, if you think we did a good job with this post, why not share it with your friends!
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