My staff and I spend entirely too much time looking at site analytics. It is not a odd form of self punishment, it is actually a crystal ball into the minds of our audience and a report card of our marketing efforts. Take for example our top 5 sources of referral (links from other websites) traffic for August.
The list tells me a few things: as expected most our our traffic originates from the search engines (google, yahoo, msn) due to our extensive search engine optimization, but interestingly cssdrive.com and cssreboot.com are web design galleries in which we are listed. Neither of these two sites are likely to provide any customer leads as the traffic is mostly other artists, yet there are intangible benefits here as you can imagine in having hundreds of your industry peers seeing your work.
To the list of referrals tells me where my marketing is working. #16 on that list is a local organization called Arizona Chain Reaction which is a “shop local” listing of companies. This is traffic I would like to increase as it is most likely potential prospects.
Another interesting metric that detailed site analytics provide, tells you which keyword phrases people use to find your website on the internet. The list of our top 5 keyword phrases below tells me which search terms drive the most traffic.
- professional web design
- web design
- professional web design company
- web site design
This is very useful to determine which terms we should give additional focus on to increase traffic. This list also breaks down further to tell me which search engine in sending the traffic for each term. 45% of search traffic for “web design” came from Yahoo where we had top 10 rankings for a few months.
These are just some raw numbers and examples of traffic analytics. A decent analytics program will monitor over 50 or areas of your website, from raw traffic, to duration of visit, and everywhere in between. It is recommended to have analytics in place, and to monitor them often to gauge how effective your marketing and website are working.