Most businesses and nonprofits these days have websites, but how many utilize analytics to assess the behavior of visitors to their sites? I’ll bet not that many.
Do you know how many visitors come to your website? Whether they are new visitors or returning? What pages they visit? How long they stay on a page?
If you own a brick and mortar store, it’s easy to track how many people enter your store by physically counting each person who comes in. But what about the virtual world? How do we know if anyone is actually visiting our websites? This is important to know because ultimately our goal is to translate visits to our website to actual transactions whether this entails selling products online, having people visit our store and make a purchase, or landing a new client.
Google Analytics, which is free, is one of the most important resources out there, but the amount of information you can collect can be overwhelming. Still, there is no reason to not use Google Analytics to track basic information on your website such as the number of visitors over a certain range of time. Learn more about Google Analytics here.
If your website is built on a content management system platform such as WordPress, basic analytics plug-ins can easily be installed. While not as comprehensive as Google Analytics, these plug-ins can provide you basic information to help to better understand how visitors are interacting with your website.
While it is easy to get overwhelmed with the vast amount of data that can be collected, I suggest keeping it simple to start, particularly if you are a small business owner. You can track how many visitors come to your website each month and then examine the trend line over a period of several months. In many ways, it’s more important to know if the trend is increasing or decreasing over time rather than the actual number of visitors that come to your site.
If you currently have access to analytics, but don’t regularly track the information, you might want to develop a regular protocol such as viewing site visitors each month as collecting some information is better than collecting no information.
You have invested a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money into your business. Use analytics to help your business thrive.