5 Experts Share Tactics for Simplifying Site Analytics
It’s the fantasy of every copywriter and graphic designer to focus exclusively on producing beautiful, creative content and visuals without having to worry about site analytics. But for a business to succeed, you need reliable analytics to gauge your website’s effectiveness and find out what’s working (or not) in order to grow your influence, brand awareness, and ultimately your business. We asked experts for their best tips and tools for quantifying web presence and using the analytics to test and improve your strategy.
1. Quantify your web presence with organic search and linking domains
Sacha Ferrandi, Source Capital Funding, @SourceCapital These days, most companies focus their search presence through paid channels. However, organic search is an exceptionally easy way to quantify your web presence. There is a tool we love called SEMrush that will crawl your website and provide your position for every single term that you rank for on Google. In addition, SEMrush shows you how your rankings have changed over time, month-to-month, and more.
This tool also provides estimated traffic and an estimated paid search savings that you can use to justify any time spent working on your website’s SEO. It is perfect for small businesses that do not have the budget to pay for expensive marketing firms.
Your web presence can easily be quantified by the amount of linking domains that connect with your website. These links can easily be tracked in Google’s Search Console or third party tools such as Ahrefs or Moz.
2. Utilize the Navigation Summary in Google Analytics
Stephanie Grangaard, Blue Compass Interactive, @BlueCompass One the best resources Google Analytics offers is the Navigation Summary, showing where visitors were before and after visiting pages on your site. View the CTR (click-through-rate) to desired pages within your conversion funnel using the Navigation Summary. To find it, click the Navigation Summary tab above the explorer graph on page-specific analytics reports.
The Navigation Summary shows you where users naturally want to click next and helps you form sound hypotheses about moving visitors throughout your website from various landing pages and conversion pages. These site analytics give you action items and tests to run that help quantify the optimization of your campaigns.
3. Use metrics like "time on site", "social shares" and "conversions" to measure user engagement
Sean McCaffrey, PrimePay, @PrimePay For many marketers, outlining and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) is the key to success. One KPI at the top of the list should be user engagement. For those new to the game, if you want to learn how to create high-quality content that your readers will care about, it's very important to know how users have engaged with your content in the past in order to gauge how they may interact with your content in the future.
There are many different ways you're able to measure user engagement, but a few site analytics stand out to be true indicators.
- Time On Site. How much time are your readers spending on your website? If you have a 1000-word blog post and the average time on site for that particular page is 15 seconds, chances are your readers aren't getting too far past the first headline and opening sentence. Be sure you’re writing content that applies to them and leaves them wanting more.
- Social Shares.This is a great way to know readers are engaging with your content. If your audience reads and loves your killer content, they’ll share it. Just like that, you’ve spread your message beyond your audience to include all their friends (and their friends’ friends, too).
- Conversions. There are many different conversion points on websites and social content, but an easy one is getting visitors to subscribe to your blog emails. This is a great way to measure your site analytics and how well your readers are engaging with what you're putting in front of them. If you find you have a really great week and are attracting tons of new subscribers—followed by a very slow week, or even lost subscribers—take a look at the site analytics and the type of content you were putting out between those two time periods and analyze what worked with your audience and what didn't. It's a good way to indicate how your readers are reacting to your hard work.
- Use the tools that work for you. There are many great resources available for measuring the success of your digital marketing efforts, but below are two of my favorites.
Google Analytics tracks and reports virtually every website metric you could think of. It's a great, free way to see how much traffic is coming to your site, where it's coming from and how your visitors are interacting with your pages. Just apply your universal tracking code snippet to your web page and start seeing data that matters.
Sprout Social is an excellent platform for measuring all of your social media efforts. Not only can you track and report on all of your tweets, Facebook posts or Instagram photos, you can also schedule content pushes to automate your social initiatives. While you can use the social insights that each platform offers for free, Sprout Social also offers more ways to effectively measure your efforts with ease for a little bit of a cost.
4. Optimize your content by looking at bounce rate, number of website visits and generated leads
Swapnil Bhagwat, Orchestrate, @SwapnilDigital Content plays a crucial part in customer engagement. The metrics used to analyze its effectiveness play an even more vital role. Some of the important metrics that can be quite useful in measuring the content’s effectiveness include 1) bounce rate 2) number of website visits and 3) generated leads. A few of the preferred web analytics tools that offer effective metrics are: Google Analytics, Raven and Moz. Constantly optimizing your content based on the insights from these metrics is an ideal way to grow your influence.
5. Consider looking at a heat map of your site
Clint Evans, StandOut Authority, @Consultant Few small business owners use Crazy Egg. This tool shows a heat map of where your visitors viewed on a page, if they scrolled to the bottom, and where they exited. Combine that data with how long they stayed on the page using Google Analytics, and you now have a good idea if your content engages and what visitors care about.
Other great resources include Google Webmasters tools to find out if you have any error pages, which will hurt you on Google. Finally, I use Sysomos which tells me what my brand sentiment is online and in social media.