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Web Analytics Checkup: What to look for

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I generally have a hard time explaining what I do to people outside my business circles.  Many family and friends know I do “computer stuff.”  When I finally make it click for them using simple terms.  I have to tell them “I make your website show up in Google more often” or “I can tell you how many people visited your website with on an AT&T iPhone from the state of Iowa in July of last year.” Once they understand that the requests start pouring in. And that’s perfectly fine because I’m usually first to help a friend in need out. So I figured I’d share with you the reader a few things I check first when looking at a new web analytics account. At Perficient when we do a full study for a client we dig in much deeper but at a high level these are a few things you can look at on your own.

  • Set up Goal reporting – There needs to be a reason for your site. Hopefully that reason can be measured against the numbers it produces and that’s why you need to set up Goal reporting. I mark this as one of the most important steps as many reports can be gauged against how well they are doing concerning your website Goals
  • Segment out your Branded traffic – Unless your company name is “We Make Red Widgets Inc” odds are branded search really doesn’t help you when it comes to finding new customers.  People may know you for your brand but what about the people who don’t know you?  You are going to want to have a strong presence for the goods and services you provide. This is why I’ll filter out any terms related your brand name and see how you stack up if you didn’t have that to rely on.
  • Check for traffic sources ratio – All traffic is not created equal.  If most of your traffic comes from paid sources… that’s bad. You want to have a strong organic presence because obviously you aren’t paying an arm and leg to get those potential customers.  Now don’t give up on paid traffic. You want to work that angle as well but just make sure you aren’t depending on it for the success of your company.
  • Top pages – Rarely do I know how a site is set up and you can only assume that the home page gets the most traffic but by looking at the top trafficked pages, you get a better understanding on which sections of the site are most used. In some cases these may be pages behind a login which often happens in the case of intranets.
  • Audience overview – Understanding the user helps you justify why the reports may look the way they do.  Why is it 95% of the visitors are from one local city? Well that’s because the business is a small local restaurant. Why on earth is there no mobile devices listed accessing the website and the only browser is IE6 (shudders)…welcome to a corporate intranet site.  These things can reveal so much about your site without ever even talking to any real person on the matter.
  • Social presence – If there is no reason not to have a social presence…you should have one.  Some companies websites are smaller than their Facebook page. Seeing 70% of all traffic referred from Facebook is a strong indication of that.  When I see zero’s in these reports and the company has a twitter account or a Facebook page, there is something obviously wrong. Its time to get out there and do something with those dusty social media accounts and start driving new traffic.

There are many other things that you can do to get a good idea on how healthy a website is and the deeper you dive the more interesting things you can find.  This is just a scratch on the surface of what can be learned from your analytics when viewed by professionals.  At Perficient we take a deeper look into your analytics, package our findings up into an easy to read report and then recommend on what next steps you need to take in order to accomplish your goals.

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Andy Scott

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