Have you noticed how stores often change displays, move goods around, and put impulse items beside the checkouts? These changes are often the result of analysing customer traffic and studying behavioral patterns to understand how consumers shop. As a website owner, you need to study your visitor traffic as well in order to increase sales, opt-ins, or whatever your website is designed to achieve.
If the behaviour of your website traffic is to inform you how to improve the site you’ll need an analytics package. There are a number of web analytics packages available. The most famous is Google Analytics, but that is usually underused, often because it is a little complex. StatCounter is an easier, more basic package that I would recommend to an analytics newbie.
Whichever package you use it will follow your visitors’ clicks to and through your web pages and provide you with valuable information on how your customers experience your website. Here are the main things to look out for:
1. Which keywords bring you the most hits. This is important but you should also know which keywords produce the highest conversion rates. Website owners often find generic keywords bring them a great deal of traffic, but that traffic averages a shorter stay on the site. The longer people spend on your site, the more likely they are to convert. Analytics data allows you to see which keywords are effective for you.
2. The average amount of time users spend on your site. If your visitors are taking their time, looking at things carefully, that tells you they’re really interested and may be interested in being kept up to date via a newsletter.
3. Whether your visitors are leaving as soon as they hit your landing page. If they are, you know you have a problem. As soon as users get there, you want to reinforce to them they’re in the right place. Make sure there are no disconnects on your landing page, disconnects being somethign unexpexted that may make your visitor pause and decide to leave. Things like a page that doesn’t fit with your branding or a headline that doesn’t seem connected to what they are looking for.
4. Where visitors are exiting your site. This is especially important when you have customers leaving in the middle of the checkout process. If you see a high rate of users with full shopping carts leaving on a particular page, you can pinpoint what’s costing you sales:
• If they’re exiting on the page where you explain shipping costs, it might be your shipping appears higher than your competitors’.
• If they’re leaving halfway through filling out the buyer’s information, it may be that your buyer questionnaire is too long.
Web analytics is essential for any website. It puts you in a position to see what’s working on your website and what isn’t. It’s a way to see where you need to make changes and then measure how effective those changes are.