No matter who hosts your website, you have access to website analytics data, whether through your host or a service like Google Analytics. Facebook even offers you analytics information for your business page. These numbers and data can be confusing, and too often that leads small business owners to ignore them – you’ve got a business to run after all!
But taking the time to understand what your website analytics are telling you can help you improve your website and the experience of the customers who visit it. Here are a few key terms you need to know as you browse through your analytics data.
Let’s start at the top. Website analytics measure the traffic to your website. They can tell you how visitors got there, what they did while visiting your site, and where they’re from. Use the information to assess your website and its effectiveness.
Your website’s bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits to your website – users who came to your site, saw one page, and then left. The bounce rate measures the quality of the visits to your website. Are you providing information that makes users want to stay?
Conversion and Conversion Rate
If you want users to take an action while at your website, keep an eye on your conversion rate. A conversion occurs when a website user takes a specific action that you want them to take – in most cases, that’s a sale, but it also includes completing a form and signing up for your newsletter. The conversion rate is the percentage of people who saw the call to action and took it.
Users get to your website many ways, and direct traffic refers to traffic that didn’t come from anywhere else (see referrer, below). Maybe they had your website bookmarked or perhaps they typed it in from your marketing materials or business cards.
Entry and Exit Pages
An entry page is the first page a visitor to your website sees – and it’s not always your homepage. If you’re running an ad or special promotion, the website you publicized through your advertising might be the entry page. Knowing what users see first at your website helps you see your most popular content.
And, an exit page is the last page a visitor sees before leaving your website.
An event is an action that a user takes on a website. Events include page views, clicks, and form submissions.
A “hit” is a request for a file -- it could be a page, an image, a bit of code. Each page on your website, in fact, likely includes several files, so one visit to a page generates several hits. Because of this, the number of hits your website gets is not a terribly useful bit of information.
You’ll run into impressions when you start tracking your online advertising. An impression is an instance of an ad appearing on a viewed webpage. Keep in mind that this includes web ads appearing “below the fold” and out of sight unless a user scrolls down – your ad will notch an impression whether the reader actually scrolls down to see it or not.
If users got to our website via a search engine, looking at your keyword referrals helps you see what search terms are directing them to you. Keeping track of keywords helps you know how people are finding you.
A page view is a single person viewing a single page on your website. We like this explanation from web producer Andy Hayes’ blog: If 100 people visit your website and view 4 pages, that equals 400 page views. You’ll find this number more useful than hits.
A referrer is a website URL that sent a user to your website. If you do a lot of social media for your small business, you’ll see Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest listed here.
Visit or Session
A visit is the series of pages viewed by a user while they’re at your website.
Still not sure what your website analytics mean? Let PNSolutions help you sort through the information! Contact us today.