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Website Traffic Analysis: 10 Ways to Simplify your Website Statistics

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Website traffic analysis should happen periodically to fully understand if your most important online marketing tool is bringing you new and repeat business. Website traffic analysis can certainly be like drinking from a fire hose with all the bells, whistles, graphs, and data pouring out at you. With these ten ways to simplify your website statistics, we can transform your fire hose into a nice, refreshing drinking fountain.

Ready to quench your thirst?

1. Your website traffic analysis should take place, at absolute minimum, every twelve months.
Quarterly is a much better practice, and monthly is a great practice so you can react to trends quickly.

2. Trends should be your measuring sticks, not necessarily the numbers themselves.
It is irrelevant to attempt to define what your visitor traffic “should be” by comparing yourself to other websites. If you’re really curious, go to www.similarweb.com and get an idea of how you’re matching up with your competitors.

3. Your data is more statistically relevant and accurate over longer periods of time.
That’s why comparing year over year is the most valuable approach to eliminate seasonal variances. For example, comparing July 2013 to July 2014 will give you the most accurate data about your website’s performance. Additionally, looking at trends from the past 365 days is more insightful than the past 30 for general metrics.

4. Returning visitors are just as important as new visitors.
If you start to see your percentage of returning visitors go down over time, you may want to start thinking about steps to improve your website. Perhaps the wrong people are finding you because your site does not target the right keywords. Maybe they’re just not impressed because your site still looks the way it did ten years ago.

5. Monitor your bounce rate.
It’s natural to have bounces, but if you start to see the rate go up gradually, it’s time to look closely at your website content, design, and navigation. A bounce generally means that your visitor landed on your initial page and then left your website without looking at another. If you are a Firespring client, a bounce would be defined as someone leaving the site in 30 seconds or less.

6. Take note of your most visited pages.
You can quickly discover what people are looking for and you may want to further enhance and expand your content to accommodate them. Whatever you do, make sure those most visited pages have a natural bridge to the content you want them to visit next. It could be a related topic, a similar product, or a conversion form. Also, look at your popular landing pages—the first page a person reaches on your website.

7. Watch your most popular exit pages over time.
Ask yourself if it would be a natural place to leave. If the answer is “no”, you may want to invest some time making that page better, more relevant and a better bridge to your next page. If you see that your entrance pages and exit pages are the same, then it’s definitely a red flag and you have an opportunity to make a better first impression. It means people may be finding you and then leaving you right away, increasing your bounce rate.

8. Learn about your traffic sources.
Glance at the geographical data and make sure most of your traffic is local if you are a brick and mortar business that serves local clientele. Look at links and social media sources to see what’s funneling traffic and what’s not. I also recommend downloading the “keywords” (sometimes called “search”) report to see what people are typing in search engines to find you. This will help you better understand how you can further exploit your niche keywords and pursue keyword phrases you think should be more prevalent in the report.

9. Is your average time per visit holding steady or increasing?
If it’s not, it might be time to improve your website. If it’s increasing, there’s a good chance that people are appreciating your content even more and you’re doing something right, so keep doing it! Again, don’t dwell on the number itself, but rather your overall trend.

10. Don’t get caught up in the minutia.
Sure, there are all sorts of cool filters and meters, but at the end of the day, my recommendation is to keep things simple and use common sense about what truly is important. Look at these same simple things every time. Pay attention to visitors, visitor loyalty (new vs. returning), traffic sources, bounce rates, most visited pages, landing pages, exit pages, and average time per visit.