Monitor Web Traffic Trends with Google Analytics

Your website is an additional marketing tool to help your business gain more visibility and leads. But if your site isn’t performing at its best then it’s not doing its job. Sometimes, as our job keeps us very busy, reviewing website stats to ensure its doing well is just not on the top of the list of priorities. However, it’s essential to be aware of web traffic trends on your site and be able to notice when there is a dip or spike in performance.

Here are some of the elements of the Google Analytics dashboard and what you should look for:

Email Feature – If you find it hard to take some extra time out of your week to visit Google Analytics and check in on your site, you can set up scheduled emails to be sent to you automatically. Not only will this save you time but you’ll also start to get a feel for how your site normally performs so you are more likely to notice any changes in regularity.

Set Date Range to Measure – You can change the date range to look at the data over a week’s period, a month, even over a year. When you change the date you are also given the option to compare with a previous period. This is especially helpful if you notice dips in traffic over the summer months, you can look back and see if that compares similarly in previous years.

Make Annotations – By clicking on the visual graph you can quickly create an annotation. This allows you to make notes about marketing activities that you could eventually correlate with changes in the traffic on your site. For example, you could note each time you send out an email or direct mail. You’ll be able to see if there was an influx in traffic shortly after the release and then be able to see if the traffic was indeed due to the email or direct mail marketing.

Visits & Pageviews – These numbers denote the number of visits your site has gotten and how many pages were viewed in a given period of time. The most important thing to watch with this piece of data is the average number of visits your site is getting. A dip in the normal amount of visits your site receives should alert you to dig deeper and and discover why the change occurred.

Bounce Rate – Your site’s bounce rate is the percentage that visitors come to one page on the site and leave without going to any other pages. A normal bounce rate range is between 40% – 60%.  You should keep in mind that a blog on your site tends to skew the bounce rate a bit higher and so will running paid search campaigns.

Average Time on Site – The time visitors spend on your site can indicate their engagement level. When you are reviewing this statistic you need to take into consideration the size of your site and the content you have available. The time on site you want to see is the amount of time you believe it would take to consume different content you have available on your site. If visitors aren’t staying on your website for very long you may conclude that they aren’t interested in your content or they didn’t find what they were looking for. On the other hand, if you notice that visitors are spending an abnormally long time on your site it could also mean that there is a usability issue, maybe the user is searching and searching for certain content and is having trouble finding it.

Pages per Visit –  You can draw similar conclusions with the pages viewed per visit statistic. If too many pages are viewed, it could mean that the user is looking all around for the content they are seeking and maybe you need to improve the content strategy on your site. On the other hand, if they are only viewing one page then you should also think about your page layout and how you can improve your calls to action to persuade the visitor to visit different pages on your site.

% New Visits – When you’re putting a lot of emphasis on internet marketing or even offline marketing and working to bring new traffic to your site, you should pay attention the percentage of new visits your site is getting. Along with that, there should also be a healthy mix of return visitors coming as well. Since the buying cycle is longer in B2B marketing, if return visitors are coming to your site it could indicate that people are finding helpful information on your site and could eventually lead to possible sales for your business.

Google Analytics also allows you to set up custom dashboards to get to the specific information you need. No matter how you look at the data, the most important thing to keep in mind is the to look at that data regularly. Just like a piece of equipment or an employee that helps your business run better, you should regularly check in to make sure that your website is performing at its best.