You put a lot of time and effort into your company website.
But do you have any idea how effective your website is in connecting your customers with your products and services? If you're like most small business owners, you probably don't. But that could all change with a little tool called web analytics.
The principle behind web analytics is simply that as a business owner, you want to know everything you possibly can about the behavior of people who access your website. Think about this way: A website is a business investment. You wouldn't continue to invest in a stock without monitoring its performance, so why should you blindly pour cash into a website without some way of tracking its effectiveness?
The irony of web analytics is that you'll need to acquire another piece of technology to monitor the technology you already have in place on your website. Although there is a broad range of web analytics solutions on the market, they are all software-based. The more complex the software, the more options you have in dissecting the success of your site. Some of the tools you to look for in a quality web analytics solution include the following:
Site Content Popularity
Even the most basic website is a complex creature because each page represents a different array of content that is presented to the site's visitors. However, not all pages are created equal. Visitors will linger on some pages and ignore other pages altogether. A web analytics package that knows the difference is worth its weight in gold because it tells you what catches your customers eyes and where to focus your efforts.
Click density analysis is similar to site content popularity analysis except for the fact that click density lets you view site popularity in segmented clusters. For example, with click density analysis you could compare the areas of the site visited by people who actually purchase your products to the areas visited by people who don't. Armed with this information, you should be able to modify the non-producing areas to reflect the areas frequented by paying customers.
The bounce rate of your site is determined by the percentage of visitors who stay on your site for 10 seconds or less. A low bounce rate probably indicates that you've done something right - your website attracts and retains visitors' attention. However, a high bounce rate usually indicates that your site design has fallen short of its purpose and it's time to go back to the drawing board. If you are heavily invested in your site a high bounce rate can be demoralizing, but even so it's information you can't afford to live without.
It's not enough to know what visitors do once they have accessed your website. You also need to know how they got there in the first place. Many web analytics solutions give you the ability to view the URLs from which visitors found, which in turn gives you the ability to nurture partnerships with other sites or even seek out new partnerships based on the types of URLs that are productive.