In layman’s terms, it’s critical to know who your visitors are, where they are coming from, what they are doing on your site, and how long they stay.
So the reasons to track website traffic, as well as the benefits, are all there. But what are the best methods of tracking your traffic, and how do you capitalize on what you find?
When tracking traffic, it’s important to remember what you are really trying to find out, rather than merely collecting data. Knowing what the information means, and how to interpret what you have found, is also important. For example, if you’re running an email or social media campaign, it’s important to know its effectiveness and the impact on website traffic.
Here are the best methods of tracking website traffic, and the questions you should be asking:
1. How many visitors are using your website (Hits, visits, unique visitors and page views)?
2. How much time does a visitor devote to your website?
3. Which are the top entry and exit pages?
4. How do the visitors reach you? What were the referrers and keyword searches used?
5. What is the bounce rate of the web pages?
6. What is the average time spent on pages and the website?
7. How are visitors navigating (click paths) through the website? What are the sequences of the web pages, and are they behaving a certain way (conversion)?
No one tool will be able to tell you comprehensively everything you need to know. Using multiple tools simultaneously will give you the most clarity to see the big picture, and there are many different tools in the marketplace available to accomplish what you need.
Here are a few lists to start: Sociable.co.uk has compiled a list of 12 killer analytics tools, while Onextrapixel.com offers a list of the ten best alternatives to Google Analytics, and SearchEngineLand.com put together a list of 25 analytics solutions.