One of the most amazing aspects of online marketing is the availability of statistics to test, adjust and monitor the success of your website in near real-time. In fact, it’s often difficult for old line marketers to accept this analytical reality when historically much of what was decided came from either poor data, the loudest opinion or just plain luck.
If you’re managing a website, virtually every major aggregate number is available from a free analytics program such as Google Analytics. With this type of analytical data, you’ll always be informed about your visitors, landing page conversions and bounce rate. In fact, there’s so much rich content and analysis it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Here are some of my favorite reports in Google Analytics.
Top Landing Pages – This is a quick and easy report that tells you what’s popular with your visitors. It’s often helpful to segment this report by date to look for trends that might indicate content preferences that you can cater towards.
Landing Page Bounce Rate – Sort your landing pages by bounce rate and you’ll see the content that attracts and the content that detracts. This is also a terrific resource to decide which pages you should experiment with to reduce the bounce rate. Google Website Optimizer is a tremendous free tool that makes this type of split testing extremely simple.
Benchmarking – How do you compare your site and page performance? One method is to use the benchmarking segment in Google Analytics, which can be adjusted based on your business category. Click on the “open category” list and you’ll probably find your industry or something comparable. Now you have a benchmark to at least make some basic decisions from. It’s an excellent tool for bounce rate, average time on site, new visits and lots more.