Whenever you spent time, energy or money on your online presence, you should make sure you look at the insights and analytics. Why? So that you know that what you are doing is working, or perhaps that the content you are spending time creating is being digested by your visitors. With online technology there is often so much data collected it’s hard to know what to look at.

For this article, I’m going to concentrate on website analytics, but also bear in mind your social media insights and how they might help you understand what your audience engages with.

If you have a website, then ensuring you have analytics set up is a must. We usually recommend using Google Analytics, it’s free and fairly easy to navigate as well. Once you’re all set up, you can even create a scheduled report with the data you want, arriving in your inbox frequently too.

With so much data collected, where do you start? A lot of this will actually come down to your own business goals – what are you trying to achieve on your website? Is it getting more sales of a product? Are you trying to advertise a service and so you want people to land on your pricing page? Are you just raising awareness of a brand? Is there a specific call to action you want people to click?

Pen down the goals, and this will help you decide what data you want to look at within the analytics.

As a general idea, here are the analytics I always look at for any website analytics:

  • Users – how many users visited your website – new, and returning
  • Page Views – how many pages were viewed
  • Bounce rate – % of people who left your website or web-page straight away
  • Acquisition – how people found your website, organic search in a search engine, directly typing the URL into the address bar, or via a referral
  • Referrals – where people clicked links and ended up on your website, especially important to see how your efforts on social media pay off, and also if you are advertising on a website too
  • Behaviour flow – track where people GO on your website, for example, if they land on your home page, what % of people go to your Shop, or Contact page next? You can literally track the journey and see how people use your website
  • Top pages – top 10 popular pages, this one might even surprise you! One of our top pages every month is a very old blog I wrote about using hashtags on LinkedIn, so I know that my website ranks for those keywords – meaning I should do more blogs to help that audience.
  • Conversions – depending on what you use your website for, if you have clear conversions on there (e.g. selling products, call to action buttons like ‘Get In Touch’) you will also be able to track and analyse these too.

You really can learn a lot from the data that Google Analytics collects, and it’ll help inform you on where you should spend time on your website. If a lot of people are landing on your About page, you want to make sure it’s optimised with a call to action, or links to other pages clearly – help your visitors along. Perhaps you notice in the behaviour flow a lot of people leave the About page and don’t carry on elsewhere, and you might ask yourself – why is that?

You might see that you put a lot of effort into Twitter, but not as much into Facebook and yet your referrals tend to come from Facebook. Switch the effort around in that case, it looks like your audience is on Facebook after all!

The bounce rate is a really interesting one, and you can view the rate for each page on Google Analytics. A bounce rate of 30-50% is generally acknowledged as “good”, anything above 50% you need to work on trying to reduce it. It’s worth taking a look to see how people find a page that has a high bounce rate – for example, you might be promoting this page a lot on social media, but it has a high bounce rate. Generally, this would indicate that the page doesn’t immediately answer the customers question when they land on it, they clicked it on social media but the solution to their problem isn’t clear straight away. That gives you something to work on – either the message isn’t quite right on social media, or the content on the page itself needs some work and optimising.

You can look at data on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly view too – so if you know for example you launched a new product and campaign on social media, you could check your analytics to make sure your marketing efforts paid off.

Remember, the most important thing is to pen those goals first and then you can decide on which analytics to use to help you measure.