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Business Management

Web Analytics 101

Measure Website Performance to Increase ROI

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Website analytics is one of my favorite topics. Not only because I am a tech geek, but also because the value behind the numbers is just so incredible. This is why I’m flabbergasted when I encounter dealers who say they don’t have time to review their stats. To me, ignoring your analytics is flying blind out there in the World Wide Web. There is no point in having a website if you aren’t paying attention to who is visiting it and what they’re doing once they’re there. Without the stats, your site is just an online brochure.

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Statistics can be intimidating, but you need to trust me when I say the core stats provided in analytics programs are somewhat self-explanatory. Once you get in the groove of reviewing your reports, you will spend only about an hour tapping into information that is crucial to your business. The key is to think logically when you review the information and view the data for what it is. Remember, these stats represent actual real, live people — actual individuals who sought out your site, landed there and either found what they were looking for or bailed.

Analytics Programs

Google analytics is free and can be installed in five minutes. Although your website provider likely offers a statistics program, I recommend going with Google Analytics. Google is always launching new features, and the analytics are tied in with all things Google, so if you run Ad Words or use other Google products, your stats will be integrated into your reports.

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1. If you don’t already have a Gmail account, set one up here: google.gmail.com

2. Go to analytics.google.com

3. Grab the code provided and add it to your website. Now, don’t freak out over this part. This is a simple task of cutting and pasting the block of code provided into the HTML of your site. Drop me a line if you need help!

Core Reports

Here are the main statistics I want you to focus on. These reports will provide you with a base of knowledge that is sure to have you looking at your website with a more critical eye:
• In-page analytics
• Total Visitors
• New versus Returning Visitors
• Top 20 Site Pages
• Top 20 Keyword Searches
• Top 20 Traffic Sources
• Top 20 Traffic Referrals
• Top 20 Searches by Title
• Mobile Device Stats

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Since we don’t have the space here to discuss all of these reports, I’m going to highlight a few of the most important. If you want to dig deeper, I’ll be hosting a webinar on Google Analytics to cover all reports. If you’re interested, send me an email at [email protected].

In-Page Analytics

I’ll start with my favorite report of all, in-page analytics. These reports are still in “beta” so you may encounter an error from time to time. If this happens, just reload the page, and you should be set.

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I find it amazing to see the percentage of users who click on each navigation button and/or each graphic on your pages. The other fact I want to draw your attention to is that in this case, less than X percent of users scroll down “below the fold.” So why is it that 90 percent of dealer sites have every piece of content jammed on their homepage? Utilize these stats to determine exactly what should be on your top homepage. Remember, this is your prime real estate!

Keyword Report

This report shows the words users are typing into the search engine to find your website. Here, we generally see many branded keywords or words that include the name of the dealership. This is good to see since it shows users are specifically searching for your business. However, we also want to see non-branded keywords or words that represent your product and surrounding area. For example, “used motorcycles Chicago.” These non-branded terms show us your site is properly optimized because it is pulling in users based on these keywords.

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Top Site Sections

This report tells you exactly what site sections users are going to, which then allows you to optimize those pages to draw even more traffic there. On the flip side, take a look at which site sections are in the dead zone — sections that are not drawing any traffic. Here, you need to think about why these sections aren’t performing. What can you do to enhance the content, usability and design?
 
Referral Report

Finally, the referral report shows which sites are driving traffic or “referring” traffic to your site. Review this closely. You may see sites that you weren’t even aware of and hopefully sites where you have placed an ad. In the case of advertising, compare your statistics with the reports provided by your ad vendor to see if they are in sync (they will never match exactly, but they should be in the same ballpark.)

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I hope I’ve convinced you there is a wealth of knowledge that awaits you in your website analytics. Dig in, have fun, and from here on out, schedule out an hour each month to review your reports to continually improve your site ROI. 


Award-winning blogger and CEO of Duo Web Solutions, Heather Blessington is a web technology veteran and a certified PMP with the Project Management Institute (PMI). Her company provides monthly columns focused on best practices in web marketing for powersports dealers.

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