So many statistics are available on a site that it can be
bewildering and confusing to work out what to measure, what each
statistic means and what to do with the data you have.
As Disraeli said, there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
Here we look at useful statistics to use, and how to analyse
your traffic reports most effectively:
User Journeys User journeys is one of the most useful
reports about your site. Here you can track every individual
site user and see which pages they visited, the journey they
took through the site, and how long they stayed at each page.
You can examine any common or surprising trends and patterns,
and seek ways to help people navigate their way through the site
- for instance if many people use a roundabout route to reach
something linked to from the homepage, what can you do to make
that content more prominent?
Top Referrers This is a list of the websites that are
driving traffic to you. Typically you will see search engines
towards the top of this list; but you might be surprised at who
else is referring traffic to you.
If you have paid for listings elsewhere or have link
partnerships, you can use this report to see if you are actually
gaining traffic from your referral schemes – therefore this can
be an important report.
Searches You may have an internal search engine, in which
case see what searches people are performing and how you can
best route them to the relevant content, or indeed to identify
content gaps in the existing site that can be plugged.
Look at search engine queries that are reaching your site – are
they on terms you would like or a little more surprising or
obscure? Take measures to ensure that you give yourself the best
possible chance of getting traffic for searches relevant to your
Top Pages One of the most standard but useful reports,
this shows you how much traffic each page is getting. If pages
near the bottom of the hierarchy are getting a lot of traffic,
this suggests they may be more important to site visitors than
you initially anticipated, and should therefore consider raising
their profile on the site.
Similarly if there are top level pages getting little traffic,
why is this? They might not be that important or at least not
often viewed, but it could be the text is poorly written and
turns visitors away.
Countries If you have the data available, seeing the
countries that people visit your site from can be very
interesting – there might be a few surprises. If you find a
large percentage of your audience comes from overseas then
consider if you can do things to help them with your site – for
instance displaying prices in more than one currency could be a
good measure to take.
Sales Pages / eCommerce With any sales process, it is
critical that you map and track the most common paths to
purchases on your site. Imagine you have a four step sales
process, and note that the drop off between step two and step
three is 90%.
You need to ask why this is – have customers just had a surprise
like seen the price for the first time? Or, more likely, that
step is confusing, too long or the call to action is not clear.
Any sharp drop off should be investigated and steps taken to try
Monitor the drop off after the changes and you should see an
improvement in overall conversion. Sales and ecommerce processes
should definitely be checked in this manner as you may be losing
sales just through poor design, despite an excellent product
that the customer really wants.