Spot.IM is now known as OpenWeb.
As we’ve previously mentioned, web analytics play a key role in quantifying your website’s success. This post will specifically target analyzing a website’s engagement, which is necessary for both generating a thriving community and landing repeat business.
There’s no magic formula or “one size fits all” approach for tracking and acting upon your statistical findings, given that every site has its own goal in mind, and engagement for one company can mean something totally different to another. (For instance, if a visitor is looking online for something short and sweet like a weather update, he or she will inevitably have lower engagement there than would be logged on a gaming site.) What follows is a basic guideline for our vision of engagement, which includes dynamic communication via tailored and relevant content, fostering enduring relationships, and above all, a human component to our web presence.
Google Analytics is a popular choice and adequate first route in learning how to analyze a website, yet dozens of other tools and apps are on the market that provide competitive analysis of a website’s performance. Once you decide upon the analytic reviewer of your choice, allow at least 10-30 days for data collection. The larger time span you have to work with, the better and more accurate it will be in your assessment.
Be sure to keep in mind the overall theme of engagement when browsing through your data to extract quantifiable results and to act upon these accordingly. The most pertinent measures of engagement include:
Tracking clicks and user flow
Tracking clicks and the user’s flow of action is the most important metric to evaluate in terms of analyzing engagement. The ability to view visitors’ journeys on your site provides key insights into the page’s usability, level of engagement, and points of weakness. One great tool for user tracking with a visually effective component is CrazyEgg. This professional favorite generates heatmaps and confetti reports to show you exactly where visitors click, how far they scroll down the page, and from where these clicks are initially generated. It allows you to track the user experience through the eyes of your customer, a component that can often get lost when optimizing your site from a business perspective. Hotjar takes heatmaps and tracking clicks to an even deeper level by providing a video recording of the user’s on screen activity. These insights take the guessing game out of analyzing engagement by clearly and effectively evaluating your data and presenting it in a trackable visual medium from which to proceed. From here, you can pinpoint the weaknesses on your website and derive conclusions that will guide your plans for revision.
Events on Analytics
Events are measurable user interactions with your website and are divided into four components: category (type of thing you’re tracking, as in a video or download), action (as in a click), label (unique name of what you’re tracking), and value (which you can assign for measurement). Events are used to assess the effectiveness of your CTAs (calls to action), and require only a line of code and configuration to set up. Similar to the statistics derived from tracking clicks, events analytics are a great reference point from which you can tweak your website’s content to incite increased engagement and measurable, valuable goals.
The bounce rate specifies the percentage of visitors who left your site after viewing only their initial landing page. Different analytics tools will have varying time frame cutoffs, usually ranging from 30-60 seconds of viewing before clicking off. You want to keep your bounce rate as low as possible, thus having numerical facts substantiating your faith in the value of your website’s content. A bounce rate of over 40-45% generally indicates that your landing page isn’t providing sufficient content that compels visitors to stay and navigate your site further.
Average time spent on site
This metric is self-explanatory. The more compelling your content is, the more time a visitor will stay on your site. Furthermore, Google will boost your search engine ranking if it leads random visitors to your page with successive low bounce rates. Thus, traffic undoubtedly provides an extra edge for conversion and success. To increase the amount of time users spend on your site, think outside the box to market your service or product in a fresh, unique way. User-generated content will encourage community members to get actively involved with your brand and with each other, while interactive elements like games, video, and live chat will create dynamic sources of interest.
Top content pages
By looking over the content strategy behind your website’s most popular pages, you’ll have a greater chance to pinpoint the reason(s) behind its success, whether it’s textual or visual, and style- or substance-related. Once you uncover the data behind this content, you can try A/B testing on other pages to see if the success transfers over.
Direct traffic will come from loyal repeat visitors who visit your site from their own bookmarks or saved links, rather than being directed by Google, social media, or paid advertising. Track this type of visitor’s journey to see what it is they keep coming back for. Return visitors via direct traffic indicate that your site is offering something of longstanding value to the reader.
Social media shares can help target a wider audience of potential website visitors (though we personally prefer to keep company conversations centralized and personalized on our very own ‘spot’). In any case, it’s not enough to have the social icons alongside your content. More developed CTAs include ClicktoTweet, with which you provide users with a readymade Twitter post introducing the content behind the link. This initiative makes sharing posts easier and more readily available.
Essentially, what engagement all comes down to is conversion, which indicates that a click has actively transitioned into a success for your business. By analyzing clicks, user flow, events, and the other markers of engagement, you’ll be able to see which keywords and campaigns heighten the reach of your business. By analyzing your data in fine detail, you’ll be able to learn which efforts work well and which ones need to be reconsidered, thus providing you with actionable insights into optimizing your website and strengthening your marketing plan. Every element of your site should be tested and compared with one another to maximize both time and money spent on developing the design and content of your website. By doing so, you’ll allow the numbers to do the hard work for you, and thus you’ll be one click closer to increased engagement and website optimization via data-driven insights.