Now that a quality free web analytics solution is available in Google Analytics (when it works), bloggers and web site owners who previously didn’t want to spend the money are now taking a good look at analytics and what it can do for them.
It’s neat to see some data, but how do you actually make that data work to improve your website or blog? The following are some top tips on how to use web analytics to improve your website or blog:
- Increase Page Views Per Visit
Whether your site is an ecommerce site or a blog making revenue from advertising, you most likely will benefit from visitors viewing a higher number of pages on your site. With every statistic you aim to improve, get a baseline number and shoot to make it better. For this statistic, think about what you can do to your site to increase the number of pageviews.
For a blog: Do you have prominent links to your most popular posts? Do you link to your own posts within other relevant posts?
For an ecommerce site: Are you cross-promoting relevant products people might be interested in? Are you providing any useful content to go along with the products?
- Expand Your Geographic Reach
Look at your geographic location statistics and see what areas of the world you receive the most traffic and what areas you are weak in. What can you do to strengthen your traffic in areas where you’re strong, and what can you do to improve traffic for places that you’re weak?
For a blog: Are your posts aimed at only one geographic region? Brainstorm what you can post that will be interesting to bloggers in other areas. Find some blogs in those regions and comment and link to good posts. This will provide some trackbacks from your sites, and help you form some good relationships with bloggers in those regions.
For an ecommerce site: Are you marketing to your weak regions? Can you buy PPC ads or optimize for searches people in those regions might be making? Do you support multiple currencies in your stores? Can your site be translated? Perhaps even mirror sites for each country with the correct domain ltd for those countries would be worthwhile.
- Mine Your Referring Links
Take a close look at what sites are referring traffic to you through normal links. Why are they doing so? Can you strengthen your relationships with those sites to get even more traffic from them? Are there more sites like their’s that you could get links from that you haven’t approached? Are there any types of sites you think you should be getting links from but aren’t? Why not?
For a blog: If you’re getting a lot of trackback links, strengthen relationships with those sites. Are you on their blogrolls? Would they add you if you asked? Try getting more trackbacks on similar sites. Are you getting any traffic from directories or blog directories? If not, submit to some of them and see what happens.
For an ecommerce site: Are any sites naturally linking to you? If not, maybe you should create some good content to go along with your products. If so, are there more links you could get on those sites, or other sites like them?
- Mine Your Search Terms
Just like referring links, what can you learn from your organic search terms? Can you get more traffic and better rankings for the terms that are doing well? Are there terms you’re not ranking well for? Can you create more content for those?
For a blog: You probably are ranking well for some keywords you might not expect, that’s one thing great about blogs. You make a random post, and start getting traffic for some keywords you mentioned. Use that power to your advantage, post about your keyword topics and use those keywords in the titles and body of the post. Expand what you post about and how you normally name your titles, you’ll probably see good results.
For an ecommerce site: Most likely you’ll need to make sure your site is structured well to rank well in searches, and that you have good link popularity. Also try creating some content for specific keyword phrases.
- Grow Your Top Content
Look at your most heavily visited content and analyze why. Is it the most visited because of the way your site is structured? Because it has the most links to it? Or because it’s the most useful or helpful content to visitors? Once you know why, expand that top content.
For a blog: Most likely your top content will be some popular blog posts you’ve made. Why do people keep reading those posts? Can you make more posts in that format or about that topic? Did lots of other bloggers link to it? That should be a clue it has value and you can grow your traffic by hitting that subject more often.
For an ecommerce site: Your top content may be a certain product or category. Can you add more products of that type or category? Or is the top content because of the way your list your categories or products? Is it working out how you want it? Is the top content really the products you want to have the most traffic?
- What Is Your Bounce Rate?
After you’ve found your top content, this is most likely also your top entry pages to the site. This is because either links or search terms are taking people to your top content first. Most analytics tools have a “bounce” or “exit” rate. This tells you the percentage of visitors that exited on the same page they arrived on. A large percentage means that most of the people who landed on that page just viewed it and left. A low percentage means they clicked on to other parts of your site before leaving. Obviously you’d like to lower the percentage to get people to view other aspects of your site.
For a blog: Are you letting people know about other good posts or sections of your site in obvious ways from the entry pages people are arriving on?
For an ecommerce site: Think about the path you want a visitor to take from that entrance page to reach the product you’d like to sell them. Are there prominent links? Are you telling the user what they want to know and
trickingpersuading them to move on in your buying process?
- Set Up Goals
With Google Analytics and most other good analytics applications you can set up conversion goals of some type. This doesn’t necessarily mean a sale, a blogger or normal site may set a goal of having someone sign up for a newsletter, view a certain number of pages, or view a particular page. Once you have these goals set, track them and improve your site to hit your goals.
For a blog: If you’ve got nothing to buy or for anyone to sign up for, set a goal to have visitors reach a certain number of page views, and improve your site to hit that goal. Otherwise, have subscribing to an email newsletter, downloading an ebook, or taking some sort of action to be a goal.
For an ecommerce site: Obviously making a sale is the top conversion goal you should focus on. There are a ton of analytics and analysis that can go into this and it’s fodder for a whole set of posts on the topics. But basically track your conversion rate, set up a funnel, and improve the statistics from your baseline average.
- Check Your Web Design Parameters
For a blog: Most blog templates are fairly well-tested, but you can’t be too careful. Check out your data and try to test out your site in multiple browsers and systems.
For an ecommerce site: You should perform some rigorous cross-browser and cross-platform testing to make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table by providing a bad user experience.
Start taking a good look at your analytics, you’d be surprised what kinds of improvements you can make with that data.