We are always self-analyzing our performance in business, and asking ourselves, “How am I doing?” Well, there is a way to do the same with our websites… and we can get some real concrete answers. If you are using Google Analytics for your site, the initial page of statistics called the Dashboard offers a way to help determine whether or not your site is really working for you.
If you are simply checking how many people came to your site, you are missing out on a ton of other stats that are often even more interesting than simply how many ‘hits’ did I get.
Below are six statistics that are used throughout Google Analytics, which are displayed with a number and a spark line. The spark line is a small line denoting the trend of that particular stat. Generally when the line is going up, it’s a good thing.
Probably the most important stat, Visits (often called a session) are the measure of how many people have come to see your site. Since the object of any website is to get people to it, this stat tells you how many people have come to your site over the specified time (30 days by default). This statistic includes new and returning visitors. A rising spark line is wanted here.
This number represents the total pages viewed by all visitors. As your visitor count goes up, this number logically goes up too, and hopefully, they’ll be visiting more than one page on your site, otherwise your bounce rate goes up as well.
This is the number that tells you how many pages have been viewed per visitor on average. A high average might suggest an easy navigation system; link leads from page to page; and, of course, viewer curiosity.
This is an important number, since it tells you how many users have come to the site and quickly left without even clicking on a single link. If your bounce rate is high, then you need to review your site and analyze what may be causing people to abort. The only spark line you want to see on a downward slide is your Bounce Rate. Review your top pages to make sure they are doing their job and fix them if they are not.
Avg. Time on Site
As the name suggests, this represents the length of time a visitor is on your site. This number is a good indicator of how compelling or relevant your content is. A low average time could also be telling of a poor navigation and menu system.
We always want new visitors to come to our site. How is this accomplished? Making sure your site is optimized for search engines; getting link referrals from relevant sites; engaging in an offline and online marketing campaign are some of the ways to accomplish this. But, with any business, your repeat customer is always your best customer, so make sure that your site stays fresh with new and relevant content to keep your viewers coming back.
If you have access to your Analytics account, log in and review your site as often as you can. You can even have it email your stats to you daily, weekly or monthly if you don’t have the time.