Why is tracking your website visitors so important?

Marni Weinberg - March 9, 2011

I still get clients every now and again who clearly do not understand the importance of tracking their website activity. I will say that it happens much less frequently (than it used to) which is likely a sign of the times. Given the current state of the economy, every dollar spent is being scrutinized more than ever and being able to show what you got for that dollar has become increasingly important. Nevertheless, I find it baffling when a client clearly does not recognize how mission critical it is to track website activity.

Let’s go back to the basics! What will an analytics tool tell you? For starters:

  • The number of visitors that are reaching your website.
  • How they got there – for instance — through a paid ad, finding you organically, from referring traffic, through an affiliate program, etc.
  • How long your visitors are staying on your site once they get there.
  • The Bounce Rate, which represents the percentage of visitors who “bounce” off your site after viewing only one page.
  • How many pages they are viewing per visit.
  • How many page views your site has overall.
  • Where your visitors are located (based on IP Addresses). This metric can get as granular as city.
  • Which percentage of your visitors have already been to your site or are first time visitors?
  • Whether or not they have completed an actionable item, such as filling out a form, downloading a webinar, newsletter signups, completing a transaction, etc.

The above list essentially covers the basic information that any analytics tool will provide. Furthermore, the accuracy of all of these metrics will depend on whether or not the site has been coded properly and with the correct parameters. In other words, bad coding = bad data.

If you are not already utilizing an analytics platform to track visitor activity, you are definitely behind the curve, however, don’t let that defer you from getting on the right track now. The first step is deciding which analytics tool to utilize, as there are many to choose from. As mentioned in previous posts, we use Google Analytics internally, as do many of our clients.

Posted in: Analytics

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