If you want to improve your online results and to know if your efforts are working, you need to keep track of the results you’re getting. Your website hosting provider may offer some reporting features for monitoring traffic. Whether they do or not, Google offers a fantastic free tool with tons of great information: http://analytics.google.com.
Google Analytics provides you with a small piece of HTML code to insert in your website. This allows Google to gather statistics and report your traffic data. Metrics include:
- Number of visitors to your site
- Number of page views
- Average time spent on site
- Average number of page views
- Traffic sources (where your traffic is coming from: search engines, links from other sites, direct)
- Most popular pages
- Entrance sources (links from other sites leading to your pages)
- Entrance keywords (keywords used to locate your pages)
- Percentage change from previous month for various statistics
- And a whole lot more
The amount of data available here can be overwhelming, but it is quite useful. In particular, you will want to pay attention to the trends over time. If you are consistent in implementing search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing strategies, your traffic should show an increase over time. Make a point of reviewing your traffic data each month, and monitor which pages are getting the most traffic. Factor in the links you’ve shared via social media and other exposure your business has received online.
If for any reason your traffic is not improving within a few months—or worse, it is declining—then something is amiss. Consider hiring an expert to help improve the situation. New competition or other factors can affect your position in the search engines, so it’s important to monitor your progress.
It’s also difficult to measure the amount of revenue directly generated from your online efforts unless you incorporate special landing pages and methods to track online sales. Ideally, you should see an increase in your overall numbers as time goes on, and in alignment with your increase in website traffic and social media participation.