“Metrics You Should Be Tracking (But You’re Not): Visitors”
The last part of this series talked about the importance of tracking the “web form completion” metrics and suggested some useful methods that can prevent web form abandonment. In this part, we’ll explore the metric of website visitors in detail.
Web traffic analytics must be one of the top items in your repertoire of web analytics arsenal. Although this is a crucial web metric to track, many website owners are still unaware of its prominence or inadvertently overlook its importance. If you think you need some serious brainstorming on this metric, this article will be a great place to start!
We’ll analyze a few important points here: starting with the importance of web traffic for your website growth, its direct correlation with your site’s search engine ranking, the reasons why your web visitors are leaving your site, and other vital facts.
So let’s get started.
Why is web traffic crucial to your website?
Website traffic can be defined as the number of visitors viewing your website, the pages they are viewing, and the duration that they are spending on your site. If you have integrated web traffic analytics to your site, it keeps track of a whole bunch of vital data including every visit to your site, the amount of time they spend, links clicked by them, pages viewed, and so on.
Visitors are the lifeblood of your site! Without a steady flow of visitors, your website will surely vanish in the immensity of the internet, and your business will perish. Even though your website is designed to perfection, if it’s unable to attract any visitor, you will never meet your business objectives!
According to Rand Fishkin of Moz “setting yourself up for success involves measuring your traffic metrics the right way, so you can identify areas to work on and implement the right actions.” That’s right; the visitors to your website can reveal a lot about your website’s health, which allows you to take the appropriate remedial steps at the right time!
When you hear the jargons web analytics or web ranking analytics, it simply refers to the elements that influence the web visitors to your website. Almost all measurable factors in web analytics are related to the visitors (or generally known as traffic) to your website. Simply put, your website’s overall worth is directly linked to the amount of traffic that it receives, which makes the website traffic and web traffic analytics the be-all and end-all of your website!
If we break down the web traffic analytics into different parts, some of the crucial elements that you must measure include page views, user sessions, and unique visitors. However, the hits received by your website may not be a reliable indicator of your website’s traffic. Although this attribute is treated as a measurable factor by some bloggers.
How do Visitors Affect your Site’s Search Engine Ranking?
The way your visitors are behaving (after they land) on your site will have a great impact on its search engine rankings.
Search engine ranking is nothing but your website’s position in the search engine results when users search for keywords related to your topic/business. The higher the search engine ranking, the higher will be your website’s position in the search results.
Steady traffic to your website can boost your site’s rankings over a period of time. However, it’s the quality of the traffic (the amount of time spent by the users on your site, and numbers of pages the visit etc.) that really determines the authority of your website in a particular topic. Authentic websites usually get the highest exposure by holding the top positions in the search engine results.
Sometimes, an unprecedented surge in traffic can give a temporary spike to your site’s rankings in the search results, as witnessed by Cognitiveseo.com in early 2015. Intriguingly, the site received over 20k visitors from Reddit.com to one of their posts, which seemingly catapulted their ranking from 74 to 8 in a day in Google for a specific keyword. However, the glory was short-lived and their rankings came back to normal in less than a month. Lesson learned? Always shoot for steady, quality traffic to your site!
To push your site’s pages to the coveted top slots of the search results, you must work on the user experience and user-friendliness of your website. Ok, you have built your content around the most appropriate keywords to get your site’s ranking up, but that’s only half the job done! Yes, users will click through and land on your on your site once your pages rank high, but if the usability is poor, they can quit faster than they arrived. And bam.. your website pages are once again lost in the vastness of internet without a trace!
In order to retain higher search engine rankings keep your site easy-to-use for your users! Ask these questions to yourself and resolve them ASAP if the answer is “No”. Put yourself in your users’ shoes! Can they easily find what they want and accomplish their objectives? Are they able to solve their query or order the product on your site with minimum effort and time? Is my site easy to navigate for the users? Can my users easily re-find my site once they leave?
Studies have shown that repeat traffic can improve your site’s ranking in the search results. Last but not the least is the errors! Is my site error-free? Regularly check your web analytics tool for website errors like “404 – page not found”, incorrect links that land users on a wrong page of your site, invalid links and so on and resolve them immediately. Such errors can significantly hamper the user experience and affect search engine rankings.
Here’s an interesting video on tips to increase targeted traffic
Why do visitors leave your site? Or why is my traffic not converting into sales?
You may have a content-rich website with a decent traffic, but only a handful of your visitors are converting into sales or leads! Sounds familiar? Probably these are the reasons that you must address.
Just having great content is not enough to retain your users for a longer time on your site! It must have a robust design too! You must accept the fact that people judge a book by its cover. In this blog post, Social Triggers blog owner Derek Halpern shares 10 vital design red-flags that every site owner must resolve to bring down bounce rate and improve the user experience.
So, give your site a professional design makeover if it looks outmoded!
Content NOT Easy to Read
If your blogs posts are not easy to read for your users, they will just leave! So make sure the fonts you use, its color, size, and background on your site, all present a pleasant reading experience to your users. Common sense dictates that Comic Sans is one font that you must avoid at all cost. Instead, use serif or sans serif fonts on clean, high-contrast background for offering the best readability on PCs as well as mobile devices.
As far as possible, keep your site free from any plugins that go out-dated every now and then. Website users are time-strapped, busy individuals with short attention span. So in order to keep them occupied (for long) on your site, get rid of any annoying plugins that require users to install updated versions to watch a video or read an article. Never bury your content in Flash files. Instead, make use of HTML5 to display all your videos, text, and animations.
Some of the other crucial reasons for higher bounce rate are overuse of intrusive ads, videos that auto-play, unclear navigation, cumbersome registration process, slow load time, or even worse, a site that is hacked. Resolve these potential causes that are weighing down your site and bringing down sales!
The importance of tracking your website users
The statistics on website traffic and user activity on your site provides a wealth of information that you can leverage to fine-tune and improve your site’s capabilities. Tracking your web users will help you find ways to improve user engagement and enhance sales volume!
Don Reisinger at CNET talks about 12 online apps here that you can utilize to track your website traffic.
Reveals target market
Your website traffic analytics tool will tell you where your users are coming from. If you are targeting a specific region of the world for sales, this data is invaluable to optimize your site for that region.
Can Resolve Compatibility Issues
Web traffic analytics of your site reveals the operating systems and browsers employed by the users while visiting your site. This data can be useful in repairing any compatibility problems that your site will have with the user’s software.
Tracking users visiting your site can give you the details about the keywords that drive traffic to your site. This is an important data that will help optimize your website around new keywords. This data may also reveal those least expected keywords that are bringing in users to your website.
Web traffic analytics will offer valuable insight into the number of unique users visiting your site. The analytics data will also help identify IP addresses and prevent spammers from abusing your site. It can also help you identify which search engine is sending the maximum traffic and work on those search engines that are sending lesser visitors. You can also compare the number of sales that happened in two different time periods with the traffic stats.
Why is it crucial to optimize your site for mobile users?
If your website is not optimized for the mobile devices you are leaving money on the table. Ian Mills, Co-Founder, and CEO, Magicdust claims that 57 percent of the mobile users will just leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30 percent will abort a purchase if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for the mobile devices. Hence it is vital to factor in mobile users while employing website optimization techniques.
Here are some compelling reasons to optimize your website for mobile devices,
- Mobile users want information in quick, easy-to-digest chunks. They are also impulse buyers. Statistics shows that tablet users spend more per purchase than desktop PC users.
- With 25 percent of the world’s population accessing the web through mobile devices, it has become all the more crucial to make sure that your website is optimized to show content correctly across all mobile devices.
- Huffington Post reports that 90 percent of the internet users like switching between devices or use multi-screens to complete a task. So a mobile optimized website can build trust and likeness in users for your brand.
- A website optimized for the mobile devices can significantly improve sales as the Call-To-Action (buy or purchase button or link) will be clear and easy to spot. It will be hard for the users to find the purchase button on a desktop-optimized website loaded in a mobile browser.
- Be prepared to see a higher percentage of bounce rates if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices. No users would like to strain their eyes by pinching and zooming at an unwieldy website on a mobile browser, do they?
Quick Tips to Increase Targeted Traffic to your Website
- Provide highly informative and quality content to your site visitors on a regular basis.
- Try acquiring links to your site (backlinks) from authority sites.
- Employ ethical “Search Engine Optimization” or SEO techniques on your website.
- Leverage social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus to attract visitors to your site.
FoxMetrics offers a suite of intuitive and powerful tools to analyze and increase targeted traffic to your site. You can find more information about the FoxMetrics suite of products here.