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How to Analyze Web Analytics

Your website is a huge part of your marketing or business strategy, so you want people to see it, right?  You might now some of the basic tactics for promoting your website, but how do you know whether or not they’re working?  You need to use a web analytics service like Google Analytics or the built-in charts on WordPress sites to track your web traffic.  But what do all the numbers and statistics mean?

Visitors vs. Visits vs. Pageviews

You’ll see a lot of different sets of numbers when you first view your analytics page, and it’s very important that you know what they all mean. Visitors means the number of individuals who have viewed your site on that week/month/day.  Visits means the number of times a person goes to your site.  So one person might go to your site more than once, which would cause your number of visits to be higher than your number of visitors.  Pageviews means the number of times a single page of your site is viewed.  So if each person who visits your site looks at five pages, then your pageviews will be five times higher than your visitors.

Traffic Sources

This can be one of the most useful things you can find out from your analytics.  If you want to get people to your site, then it would be helpful to know how most people are currently finding your site.  The three most common ways people come to your site will be: direct traffic, search engines, and referring sites. If you’re not getting much search engine traffic, it might be time to look at your SEO strategy.  If you’re not getting much traffic from referring sites, you might want to work on building some links or improving your social media strategy.  To go more in depth, you can usually see what keywords people use in search engines that lead them to your site, and which sites are sending visitors your way.  When you see which kind of content is bringing in visitors, you know to use that same type of content in the future.

Top Content

You probably have many different pages on your site, especially if you run a blog.  Your top content section will show you which of your pages receive the most traffic.  You can also see which of your own pages lead them to your most viewed page, so this could help in building links among the pages of your own site.

Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate is the number of people who come to your site and, rather than going on to view more pages on your site, leave and visit a different site.  This can mean they either type in a new URL, click the back button, or close the window or tab.  In short, you want your bounce rate to be fairly low, because you want people to see a lot of your site.

Geography, Time, and Other Factors

Depending on the purpose of your site, you can find out a lot of interesting information from analytics that may help build your site.  You can view a map of your visitors that will tell you which countries and/or states bring you the most visitors.  You can also see how much time the average person spends on your site, what percentage of your visitors are new to your site, and much more.

When you first start using analytics, it might seem a little overwhelming, but whether you’re building a portfolio site, a blog, a freelance site, or a project for a client, your website is very important and knowing how to analyze this information can be very useful.

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