What is Web analytics and how to Improve Your Website?

Last updated: 2021-02-05 —

What is web analytics?
How do I use website analytics tools?
What are web analytics services?
Do I need web analytics software for my website?

Web analytics is a powerful resource for any business with a website or online presence. By monitoring the way that potential customers interact with your website online, you can tailor their experiences to increase your sales, clicks, and conversions.

While web analytics may seem complicated for someone just starting out, there are useful software and services available online that will make your analytics easy to customize and understand.

What is web analytics?

Web analytics monitor the way that users interact with your website through their behaviours and activities. The reports generated allow web masters and marketers to understand user interactions such as the length of time they were on the site, which pages they visited, and if they clicked on links or filled out forms. In general, you’ll see these types of raw data in your web analytics reports: 

  • Web Traffic: The number of incoming and outgoing website visitors you receive
  • Views: The amount of times a page has been viewed
  • Clicks: The amount of times a link has been clicked
  • Unique visitors: First-time visitors to your website
  • Bounce rate: Seen often in Google Analytics, percentage of visitors that leave site quickly without interacting
  • Conversion rate: A measurement of if a visitor made a purchase or subscribed to a form
  • Organic traffic: Visitors that arrive to your website from a search engine
  • Direct traffic: Visitors that arrive to your website by going to your address directly

Web analytics allow webmasters or marketers to set key performance indicators or benchmarks to determine if elements of the website, like purchases or form sign-ups, are successful.

How do I use website analytics tools?

A web analytics tool lets you to see visualizations of user interactions with your website. At a base level, they report on simple website usage like visits and pages viewed. Beyond this, many of these services offer data analysis tools to better understand and interpret the information. You are able to use the tool as a data manager, where you can analyze numbers from different data sources and date ranges.

Your website normally has goals, such as obtaining email addresses or converting a visitor to a purchaser. You can define key metrics (or key performance indicators) to track interactions that are important to your individual website. Funnels can also be used to watch a customer’s path through a website and see where they may lose interest or stray from the intended course.

Finally, behaviour maps allow you to see a visual representation of where people view and click on individual pages. This can show you which links are successful and which areas are causing trouble or distractions for the user.

What are web analytics services?

A web analytics service is an application or agency that performs data collection, then lets you view and analyze the information. Most services will allow the marketer or webmaster to see detailed charts, graphs, and visualizations of the data about their web users, often in real time.

Web analytics services can also monitor other aspects of your online presence like social media discussions and posts.

Some web analytics services provide a custom analysis of your data to assist with pages that suffer from low conversion rates and create custom visitor profiles.

Finally, a web analytics service can help you monitor ab testing that you implement to improve your site performance, ensuring the changes only become permanent if they work well.

Do I need web analytics software for my website?

If your website is for a business, it’s a good idea to use web analytics software.

It’s essential to understand who is visiting your website, how they use it, and what they are looking for. Analytics allows you to understand customers that you would typically not know existed.  The visitors that come to your site don’t provide information and don’t interact often have an apparent reason they left your website empty-handed.

Just like you would perform market research to understand why customers say no to your business in person or leave your retail store without making a purchase, your web-based customers need to be heard.

Websites that focus primarily on e-commerce or lead generation will see the most benefit from using web analytics software. It will allow them to monitor their customers, change trouble spots on their website, and improve the conversion rate of new customers.

However, even small business websites can benefit from seeing how their customers interact.

Also, if you do not have a form or cart on your website, you still seek out traffic to learn about your business or act on contacting you. These actions can be monitored, and their user experience can be improved using web analytics software.