What many business owners may not realize is that the answers to these questions are at their fingertips using analytics packages, some of which are free.
Web analytics software gathers data and presents it in a format you can use to make business decisions. This gives you access to information such as how many people viewed your site for the first time, the keywords they searched for when they found you, what links they clicked on and the “bounce rate” – how long they stayed before leaving.
One of the issues that put small business owners off analytics is the word itself. Analytics conjures up an image of IT boffins sifting through complex data. And while that’s not uncommon at the sharp end, the basic features of these tools – those the everyday user is most likely to need– are easy to use.
The most well known and widely used analytics package is Google’s own, Google analytics. It’s free, and there is even an official YouTube channel with easy-to-follow video tutorials.
People access the site from different devices at different times of the day. It’s the main desktop during the day, but after hours, it switches to mobile and tablet.
Google Analytics has made it easier to cut through to the important information about your business by adding ‘intelligence events’. These highlight anomalies in your data, for example, an unusually high or low number of visitors from a certain location, which you can then act on or trace back to your marketing activity.
But it’s not all about sales and visits. A crucial metric in helping develop your future strategy is finding out how people visit your site. With the rapid rise of mobile, knowing how many people come to your site via mobile devices can provide valuable insight into whether you should invest in redeveloping your site to make it mobile-friendly if it isn’t already.