Sometimes the secret to improving website traffic is not in the complicated search engine optimization (SEO) tasks.
Sounds ridiculous, right?
We’re going to look at the fundamental strategies that can boost your traffic statistics when you implement them.
Many people don’t monitor the performance of their websites to find out what is working and what is not working. Some people may have an inkling of what is happening on their site, maybe from the information they get from a particular tool.
A number of people don’t know how to take this information and convert it into actionable steps that can improve their site metrics. Implementing the things that you learnt about your fundamental site traffic data is the only way you will be able to improve your site traffic and get the kind of results you want.
Can you imagine for a second flying an airplane without looking at the dashboard indicators? You need to know your flying altitude, cabin pressure, fuel level, flight direction (compass), etc.?
How about driving your car without paying attention to the speedometer, fuel gauge, oil gauge, engine fault indicator? You won’t get very far, right?
It is the same thing when you have a website and don’t pay attention to the indicators that show its performance.
It is not unusual to hear someone say “I don’t know what all of this data and graphs mean for my site; or “I don’t even know what Google Analytics is”. I’ve heard it countless times.
If you are in this category of people, this blog post is for you.
So where do you get to see all of this website performance data?
There are website performance applications known as Website Analytics programs that you can use to monitor the overall status and performance of your site. These applications collect all the information and present them in a manner that is easy to read and understand.
The programs or applications help you to measure the outputs and outcomes of your efforts on your website. You can also get meaningful knowledge and insights about what is happening on your site with these applications.
These insights will then be the basis of whatever action you may need to take to bring about improvement on your website.
Most of the analytic applications use brilliant graphical interface to make these presentations more impressive. One of the commonly used analytics programs is Google Analytics (GA). GA is largely a free service with a premium version for large organizations. Most of our discussion will be based on this tool.
In case you don’t have a web analytics tool installed for your website yet, I’ll advise you to do that. It is very simple to install. Some web hosting services allow you to do this automatically and effortlessly from your C-Panel.
All you have to do is to provide your Google Analytics account ID information. If your web hosting provider does not have this feature, see how you can install it here or watch it here.
There are fundamental indicators for improving traffic that should be monitored all the time. These indicators can improve the overall website traffic when the information or data they provide is used effectively. These include -:
How do Visitors find or get to your Website
How does your website acquire visitors, where do they come from to visit your site? These are critical questions that have a lot of implications on the quality and quantity of traffic your website receives.
All the information about the sources of traffic to your site can be found under the Acquisition tab of the Google Analytics dashboard. A drill down of this tab will provide more accurate information about traffic from each channel.
There are several ways that visitors can get to your website and it is important to have a good understanding of these channels that bring visitors to your site.
It will go a long way in helping you to make critical decisions and take actions that will improve your results.
For instance, if you have put in a lot of efforts to attract traffic from a particular source, you can see from this tool if your efforts are yielding desired results or not.
Also, if you are getting most of your traffic from a particular source, you will know that you need to prioritize that channel and guard it jealously.
Many visitors find your website from search engine results; this is known as organic traffic. Some come from commercial campaigns like Google Adwords (if you have any running). Others could come from email marketing campaigns as well as from social media networks.
Website Traffic Referrals
This is another important data set about your website traffic that must be taken seriously and evaluated carefully. It provides insights into where visitors are coming from and the magnitude of these visitors. It helps you to check and see the websites that are sending you visitors.
Another feature of referrals is that it tells you the quality of the kind of visitors you are getting. This will help you to decide whether you should consider nurturing the relationship with the referring site or not.
For example, am sure you don’t want spam sites with dubious content to link to you isn’t it?
Nobody wants to attract Google’s wrath.
It could also help you to find out if your site is mentioned somewhere or if another site is linking to you and the quality of such links.
Many of the web analytics programs usually provide information about how many of these visitors are arriving at your site for the first time, the duration of their visits, and the actions they took when they visited.
This information can be used to make adjustments and review search engine optimization efforts for your website to improve traffic and website user experience.
For instance,the bounce rate from a particular traffic source could be high or average duration of time spent on the site very small. This could imply that the content on the landing page for this source of traffic is not engaging enough.
This should prompt you to make necessary changes to fully maximize the opportunities with your site traffic. You can find this information under the Acquisition tab in your G.A account.
The image below shows a summary of all the direct visitors (that typed in the website URL without referral) and the visitors that were referred i.e. Referral channel.
Organic search are visitors that found your site from search engines and social refers to visitors from social media traffic.
If you click on the referral tab and drill down the link, you will see a list of all the referring sites and the corresponding metrics. You can click on each of the channels to get more details about the traffic from each channel.
The implications are almost endless depending on the characteristic of the links and the figures that you find.
Website Traffic Bounce Rate
This can be referred to as the percentage of single-page sessions where the visitor arrives at your website and leaves without getting or interacting with another page on your site.
It’s just like somebody going to your doorstep, the person knocks on your door, and when the door is opened; they peep inside the house, turn around and leave.
This indicator can be seen easily under the overview dashboard in your Google Analytics account.
This indicator has serious implications for the overall performance of your site, and that is why Google uses it as one of the factors to determine search engine rankings for search results.
If the percentage is high (indicating a lot of people are leaving your site), it may affect your search rankings negatively. On the other hand, if the percentage is low (indicating few people are leaving your site) it will have a positive effect on your search engine rankings.
Many other factors determine the bounce rates of a website. People may leave your site quickly when they realize that they are in the wrong place. They could also leave because of website content that does not meet their needs, or a website design that is unappealing.
Also, a site that has poor navigation links especially where the links are hidden or not easily seen can contribute to high bounce rates.
It is important to find out the reasons why people are leaving your site so that you can make the necessary corrections to stop it.
One way of doing this could be carrying out content experiments or A/B testing with content and website design to see what works best and to implement it on your site.
Email Traffic Unsubscribe Rate
Unsubscribe rate applies mostly to email marketing and list building campaigns for online business owners. This indicator is very crucial to the success of your business because, your mailing list is your only guaranteed source of traffic to your website.
If you have a mailing list that is large and healthy, your business may still do quite well without traffic from search engines.
So it cannot be emphasized enough that every business and indeed every website should have its mailing list. So what does unsubscribe rate mean? It refers to the number of people that opt-out of a mailing list.
They indicate that they are no longer interested in receiving emails from you, and their email should be deleted from your list. Yes, they have the right to do this; your emails can be considered as spam if you keep sending it to them.
Depending on the size of your niche, unsubscription rates that are below 0.5% of your list are considered to be good. But rates that are above 0.5% should be seen as a red flag and this should trigger a response or corrective action.
You can find out why people are leaving your list by carrying out exit surveys (usually most email marketing software have this functionality). The survey results will give you an idea of why they are leaving and what you can do to forestall more exits from your list.
Don’t worry about calculating unsubscribe rate for your list. Most email marketing software services always provide this analytics data-set in your account dashboard to enable you make informed decisions.
Top Social Website Traffic
This indicator shows the amount of website traffic that your site is receiving from the various social media networks. It also shows which of the network platforms is contributing the highest amount of traffic.
It is essential to track this parameter because social media is growing very fast and accounting for a sizable percentage of traffic to websites.
You can find this information on the social channel of the Acquisition tab in your GA account. (Note data for this metric is not populated in the image below. The image is for illustration purposes only)
If your site is not getting any traffic from these sources, you may be losing out on huge opportunities for your business. Social media is also strategic for many companies and websites that are built with a strategy around it.
You should be monitoring how well your website is doing with attracting traffic from this source.
Any business can also develop a social media strategy for their website traffic. The strategy should have detailed plans and activities that will leverage traffic from social media networks and platforms to achieve set business goals.
Top Website Traffic Keywords
These are the keywords that people are using to find your site with when they search for that term or word in search engines.
It means that when somebody searches a particular word or phrase in a search engine, your website appears on the results page of the search.
The amount of traffic that any site receives is dependent on the position of the website on the search engine results page for particular keywords. This indicator provides a snapshot of the keywords that are delivering the most traffic to your site from search engines.
This feature can also be used to boost or improve traffic from search engines to your site. For instance, you may observe that some keywords that are sending traffic to your site have the capacity to bring more traffic.
You can confirm the traffic potential of these keywords using Google Keyword Planner tool.
GA does not provide the specific keywords anymore, but this information can be obtained from Google Webmaster Tools (GWT).
GWT is another tool that helps webmasters to track the activities on their website. The information on GWT can be integrated with GA for best results.
Hence, you can make some changes or improve and optimize your website content for these keywords so that your site can rank higher and ultimately receive more traffic from it.
There are several other adjustments that can be made from top website traffic keywords to improve your site traffic.
Top Website Traffic Locations
This indicator shows you the geographical location from where most of the website visitors are coming. Top locations are very critical in terms of business strategy, market segmentation, and targeting.
If you are implementing a marketing campaign that targets a particular market in a particular geographical location; you will be able to know if the right people are responding to your campaign or not.
Information about locations can be found in the overview section of Audience tab, and you can drill down the Geo page to get more detailed information including maps.
You can also drill down by country or by city to see from where your visitors are coming. The tool can also present this information using maps.
This information can help you to develop a product that is highly targeted for a specific set of people in a particular geographical location. When this is used with demographic data, it can be very invaluable in product developments or describing buyer personas.
The days when people sit behind big desktop computers to surf the internet are disappearing fast! How people browse the internet is rapidly changing. More people are now using mobile devices to browse the internet than desktop computers.
These numbers are expected to increase in the years ahead as mobile technology evolves with more capabilities.
To further underscore the importance of this parameter, Google recently released a new update that will affect search rankings. The new algorithm gives preference to sites that are optimized for mobile devices.
Hence, it is essential to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices. This will prevent it from being affected by this update.
Information about devices and technologies used can also be found in the overview section of Audience tab. Each of the items can be drilled down to reveal more detailed information about the use of that device on the website.
This indicator is imperative because it tells you the kind of devices (and the numbers and percentages) that people are using to visit your site.
This information can be as detailed as the type of device, the operating system, screen resolution, type of browsers used, etc.
You can then use this information to optimize your site to provide maximum satisfaction to anybody that visits it irrespective of the device they use. For instance, some websites appear better in specific browsers than others.
To forestall any loss of website traffic, you can work on your website by testing your content in various formats to ensure that it performs excellently well with any browser that is used.
What is a problem you have with your website in the process of starting a business?