This basic guide to web analytics for SMEs and freelancers explains how to use visitor activity data to understand customer expectations and see if your offer meets those needs.
At a time when user data helps companies with websites meet their objectives, web analytics tools can be very useful.
If you are an entrepreneur or freelancer who wants to expand your business on the Internet, having a website is a good way to start.
A website will take care of informing customers and potential customers about your offers and will help your business gain credibility and visibility online.
But how can you check if your website is getting the expected results? Web analytics is the answer. Website analytics analyzes web traffic and helps find ways to improve it. To achieve this, it must be part of your online business strategy.
If you are wondering if web analytics is right for your company, this article is for you. This essential guide contains everything you need to know about web analytics, from the definition to the steps to achieve an effective web analytics strategy in a digital company.
What Is Web Analytics?
Web analytics is the method of analyzing the behavior of website visitors. It consists of tracking, reviewing, and communicating the information of the visits to measure the performance of the website.
Thanks to web analytics, there is a lot of data about the users that you can collect on your website, such as how they interact with it, the pages they visit, and the time they spend on a particular page.
If applied correctly, the analysis of web pages can help to understand the expectations of consumers and thus know if the offer meets their needs.
How Does Web Analytics Work?
Web analytics measures the performance of your website based on three parameters:
- Marketing metrics. Data science in marketing analytics helps measure whether your website has all the relevant information to attract and convert visitors. Factors such as page views, returning and new visitors, average time spent on a web page, and the number of bounces are all measured in digital marketing metrics.
- Conversion metrics. These metrics help measure whether your website is converting visitors into customers. Adding relevant product information that addresses consumer concerns can help increase the number of unique visitors and trigger product purchases.
- Business metrics. These metrics help analyze your sales figures to see if you are making a profit. Business metrics measure factors such as returning customers and multiple purchases. They help to understand to what extent your offer meets the needs of customers and what is room for improvement.
Optimizing your website for digital marketing, conversion, and business metrics charts a seamless path for your visitors, from awareness to conversion.
However, it is necessary to support the process with the appropriate information and tools.
What Are Web Analytics Tools?
The manual task of extracting data from your website can be slow and inefficient, sometimes even overwhelming. Website analytics tools can do it for you.
A digital analytics tool provides HTML code that is inserted into the source code of your website. Onetime successfully added the code helps drag data from the website (user conduct and movement) established on the metrics you like to follow.
Here’s how a website analytics tool optimizes your website’s interpretation and improves visitor knowledge:
- Real-time monitoring of user activity on your website (traffic from desktop and mobile devices)
- Real-time tracking of the main metrics and sources of website traffic
- Obtaining relevant information through a customizable dashboard
- Recording of visit sessions and live performance tests to detect possible gaps
Steps For An Effective Web Analytics Strategy
Whether it’s to increase website conversion, improve user experience, or drive more sales, web analytics is crucial to making sure website optimization is being done with the data and data to back it up. Below are the 5 most important steps to implement an effective web analytics strategy.
Step 1. Define Your Objectives
Start by defining the goals you want to achieve with your website. It can be about increasing sales, improving brand awareness, or getting visitors to the website.
The objectives can be both qualitative and quantitative, depending on your business model. To ensure effective follow-up, make sure your goals:
- Are achievable and clearly defined
- Contribute to the global development of the business
- Establish short- and long-term growth strategies for your company
Step 2. Analyze Your Website Based On The Objectives Set
Once your goals are set, determine how your website can help you achieve them. This will allow you to measure the current performance of your website along with areas you need to improve to achieve your goals.
For example, if your goal is to build awareness of your brand, your website should contain detailed information that describes your products or services and how they can meet customer needs. This will make visitors aware of your offers and their advantages.
Some ways to identify the shortcomings of your website concerning the objectives set are:
- Map out the buyer’s journey. Document all the actions buyers take before purchasing your product. Customer journey mapping tools allow you to analyze the customer experience during their buying process.
- Do market research. Understand the pain points, needs, goals, and motivations of your visitors. There are tools for market research that can facilitate this task.
- Evaluate your website. Check if your website addresses all the concerns you identified during your market research.
- Analyze the competitors. Take stock of what other companies in your market are doing and compare it to your website initiatives to identify areas that are missing. Competitive intelligence software allows companies to research details about their competitors.
Step 3. Turn Your Analysis Into Practical Information
Document the gaps detected during the analysis and look for solutions to overcome them. These solutions will allow you to optimize the traffic and performance of your website.
Some gaps may be just minor tweaks, such as a color change, while others may require significant changes to the look and feel of your website.
We suggest preparing two separate lists of small and major changes to optimize efforts.
Some suggestions to effectively understand potential gaps:
- Analyze what are the shortcomings of your website and what should be
- Determine how each improvement area contributes to today’s business challenges. Some examples of these areas for improvement are low traffic due to lack of information and reduced online sales due to lack of payment information.
Step 4. Develop A Strategy That Aligns Your Website With The Objectives
Gather all the information collected in the previous steps to prepare a website analytics strategy.
Your strategy should include the challenges and the right solutions to improve the user experience and the performance of your website.
Use the analysis of weaknesses, threats, strengths, and opportunities (SWOT) to develop an effective strategy.
SWOT analysis organizes problem areas, as well as recommendations, using a visual representation to effectively locate the root cause of problems. Here is an example of a SWOT analysis for your website.
SWOT Analysis Example For A Website
- Strengths. Relevant and unique content, easy-to-find information, fast registration, and payment process.
- Weaknesses. Slow page load, low-quality content, and images, and long and confusing login process.
- Opportunities. Use of new technologies, software integrations, simple payment gateways, and innovative online marketing tactics.
- Threats. New competitor website, poor security compliance.
Once the strategy is prepared, the next step is to start applying the identified solutions and monitor their effectiveness.
The process of creating an action plan is complex, but software solutions such as project management and project planning tools can make the job easier. These solutions help streamline the process and ensure that deadlines are met.
Step Number 5. Measure The Success Of Your Strategy
Now that you’ve created a strategy, measure its effectiveness to make sure it stays on track. According to the 2022 SME Report: Digitization and sustainable development in SMEs in Spain carried out by the General Council of Economists of Spain, only 30% of Spanish SMEs have adopted data analysis software.
Data is very valuable for companies that want to improve their business strategy, and there are currently free tools available to companies with tighter budgets.
In web analytics, KPIs are quantifiable metrics to monitor and analyze user behavior on your website.
Bounce rate, page views or sessions, and on-site search queries are some examples of KPIs to follow to measure your website’s performance.
Additionally, you can use digital marketing A/B tests to learn how visitors react to different elements of your website, such as design, content, and ads.
In online marketing A/B tests, two different versions of your website are created in terms of content and design to identify which version generates more interaction among visitors.
Measuring success will help you improvise and devise a better online strategy in the future.
- Maintain the relevance of the objectives set
- Offer a solution for each objective
- Include relevant and recent data
Bonus Tip: Transform Your Website With Data And Analytics (D&A) Technology
You might consider investing in data and analytics (D&A) technology to help your team interpret raw website user data and turn it into actionable insights.
Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are the top areas of technology innovation for companies investing in D&A, according to the Gartner 2021 Emerging report.
Technology Product Leaders Survey (Gartner survey of emerging technology product leaders 2021, available in English). Half of those surveyed invested in D&A to expand their customer base, and more than 40% did so to improve their existing products and services.
Next Steps: Use Software Solutions To Effectively Analyze Your Website
Thanks to digital transformation, analyzing the data your website collects helps you gain insight into future growth opportunities, discover new market trends, build a strong customer base, and much more. All you need is a solid web analytics strategy and supporting tools.
Web analytics tools effectively track and analyze website data to help you identify whether your website is successfully converting visitors into leads.
As you expand your business online, web analytics data helps you allocate more resources for effective website creation and prepare an optimization strategy.