Your Website Metrics – What Are They Telling You?

So you are checking your website metrics on a regular basis, right?

At the very least, you should have Google Analytics set up to collect your site activity, and you should be looking at your progress on a monthly basis.

“Back in the day” the best we could do was look at server statistics. The webserver knows exactly what pages have been requested from browsers, as well as whatever other information (like keywords searched on, what type of device and platform – desktop, mobile, PC, Mac, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) that is sent along with those requests. The problem with server stats is that there have never been great applications to analyze all that data collected by the webserver. Any good applications have always come with a hefty price tag, rather than “free” as most of us prefer.

Now we have Google Analytics, which can give us very sophisticated reports about how our websites are performing. The two biggest problems with Google Analytics compared with the old server statistics (which are still available) is that
1) Because Google Analytics works by placing a piece of code on the web page itself, there is a possibility that views of that page might not be counted (for example, if the code is missing from that page, or if the visitor clicks away before the code can be run)
2) There is so much data available that site owners are overwhelmed with it, and don’t know how to interpret it.

The most basic use of your website metrics is to tell you which pages are the most popular. How can you use that information? Since you know what people are coming to your site to learn about, why not give them more of it? Expand that information to draw more traffic. Add another page to your site about that topic, maybe from a different angle or in more detail. Create a video (or two) on that topic and upload it to YouTube and other video sites. It’s possible to dominate the top 10 in Google for a particular keyword niche if you have great pages on your main website, as well as videos and articles on other domains.

There is another problem with Google Analytics: they are continuing to change and refine and add new functionality all the time! So don’t be surprised if there are new things to see and learn about the next time you go there.

What’s your favorite metric on Google Analytics, and what does it tell you?