This is a guest post from Google AdWords and Analytics maven Melinda Samson. Take it away Mel:
The recent series, Your Website Sucks, covered ways that you can improve your website which will:
- Help you get more visitors
- Help those visitors stick around reading your website for longer
- Help you generate more leads or sales from your website.
After reading these posts you might be thinking…
I hope my website doesn’t suck…I wonder if my website is one of the ones that suck…. Gaaaah…..How can I find out if everyone thinks my website sucks?
Today we’re going to help you find out. And on a positive note, you don’t actually need to care if everyone thinks your website sucks. You only need to care about what your target audience – your clients, prospects and business contacts – think.
Google Analytics can help you discover if your website sucks
Never heard of Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is Google’s free web analytics tool. Once installed on your website, it provides all kinds of useful information.
Don’t have Google Analytics set up yet?
Go to www.google.com/analytics and follow the steps. If you’re not techie, send the code to your web developer and they should know what to do.
Once you have Google Analytics set up, what next?
Start by going to the Audience Overview screen. You’ll see a graph and some key stats underneath.
Here are some issues to look out for:
Visits and Unique Visitors are similar numbers
The first stat is the total number of people who visited the site. This may be a few people or a lot.
Visits counts the total number of visits, including those who visit more than once. If your website sucks, people won’t come back for a repeat visit, so the number of Visits will be similar to the next stat, which is Unique Visitors.
Average Pages / Visit is low
This is the average number of pages that each visitor looks at.
If this figure is low, it shows people don’t want to read more than one or two pages of your website.
Average Visit Duration is low
This stat measures the average amount of time that a visitor spends on your website.
You want the Average Visit Duration to be as high as possible. I’d aim for at least 1 to 2 minutes.
If this is zero, or close to zero, there’s a definite possibility that your website sucks!
Bounce Rate is high
Bounce Rate measures visitors who leave your website without even clicking on one single thing. That is the percentage of people who visit, click nothing, and then hit the back button.
This stat is a key indicator of how engaged your web visitors are with your content.
If your Bounce Rate is 100% or close to it, seek professional help!
Having said that, it’s always important to view Bounce Rate in conjunction with Average Visit Duration, especially if you have a blog.
For example, as a blogger your aim is to attract visitors back to your site to view your latest piece of content. People might visit your site, read your content and then leave.
Effectively they’ve bounced but yet they’ve done what you wanted and spent time reading your article. In this case, the Bounce wasn’t all bad.
No Goals Tracked
In Google Analytics you can set up “Goals” to track actions that you would like your visitors to take, like confirming an order or submitting a form. You can also set up Goals to track a minimum average visit time or minimum number of pages per visit.
Set your Goals realistically. But, if you don’t achieve them, then you’ll need to make some improvements.
Does your website suck?
If you check these stats and find your website is on the suckier side of the norm, revisit the Your Website Sucks series to see how you can improve it.