Web Analytics for Beginners: 5 Key Points to Master

google analytics for small business

To understand the reach of your website and online marketing endeavors, you need to understand the basics of web analytics. The fundamentals of web traffic data analysis are not too different from the world of marketing at large. You have to target an audience, analyze conversion rates, and see who’s flatly unimpressed. Here are five things to master to help you be successful at website analytics.

1. Identify what you want site visitors to do.
Websites have different objectives, but they all typically share a common goal: get customers to perform an action. Whether that’s reading and commenting on a blog, downloading an album, or signing up for a course in Internet marketing, you want everyone on your site to complete that task. This is an ideal situation, which won’t happen, but the first step in getting close to it is defining what your target action is and then making it easy for visitors to accomplish this.

2. Track conversion.
A conversion rate is a web analytics basic that tells you how many site visitors you had who acted on your call to action (CTA). Your earliest findings determine how your work affects the site moving forward. Increasing traffic is only worthwhile when that same percentage converts. Keep track of your conversion rate so you know if you’re going in the right direction or need to change something. A lot of factors go into a conversion rate, so there is no one clear-cut answer to what is the “ideal” conversion rate. You just want to make sure you’re consistently improving.

3. Understand abandonment rates.
On a business site, there are different stages where a potential customer may enter the site. The goal is to get these users to progress through your site to eventually convert. The page a user enters on is their first page of the conversion process and the abandonment rate is those who don’t make it all the way through the conversion funnel. If you track this on your site, you’ll be able to tell where the dropoff happens the most and where the problems are that you need to address in order to get a higher conversion rate.

4. Identify bounce rates.
In 2012, Google Analytics reported that the average bounce rate for a site is 40 percent. This means that 40 percent of people who land on a site leave it after visiting just one page. This may sound like a frightening statistic, but a high bounce rate isn’t always a bad thing. It may simply mean that your site gave them the information they were looking for, so they didn’t need to search anymore. Or maybe they filled out the form you wanted them to, so you both succeeded in the visit. This is what you need to establish. You can determine if your bounce rate is bad based on conversion. If you’re getting a high bounce rate and no one is converting, this is a problem. Do you research and find out what’s making these people leave your site.

5. Monitor cost per acquisition.
As the manager of your site, you should be keeping track of how much you spend for every sale you make, which is known as cost per acquisition. This type of web analytics will help you see if what you’re spending is adding enough value to your site or if you need to make some changes.

The techniques of online marketing improve constantly, as do the ways we measure their success. Staying on top of changes to search engine rankings and honing your site’s focus with this information, as well as customer data, are great ways to improve your bottom line.


Aaron Gunderson

Related Web Analytics Resources

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