Tracking website traffic is one of the most important things to do after launching a website. It allows you to assess information about your website visitors such as who they are, where they are and what they do on your site.
As of 2018, the world had almost 1.9 billion websites online. It’s now 1.74 billion and counting. You can almost bet that number includes your competitors’ websites. Hence, the need to constantly monitor your website traffic to know how your site is performing and work on areas that need improvement.
5 Key Metrics to Look Out for
- The Overall Traffic
This is the number one metric most marketers and webmasters look out for. It’s just logic – the higher the traffic, the higher the chances of conversion.
Your website overall traffic says a lot about your business growth and the effect of your marketing and SEO efforts.
Of course, your overall traffic does not always translate to profit for your business.
The goal is to keep your website traffic going up and not declining or stable.
- Traffic Sources
While checking your overall traffic numbers, you should also see where your traffic is coming from. There are tools for checking this and all the other metrics, and we’ll discuss them later.
You can check your traffic source under four categories including:
- Organic Search
Referring to traffic coming from search engine.
Referring to traffic coming from other sites
People who enter your website URL directly in their browsers.
Traffic coming from social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on. You need this information so you know which of social media platforms is performing best and least. This helps you focus on the most productive social media platforms.
- Bounce Rate
This is one of the most famous metrics for website analytics. Your website bounce rate refers to the percentage of single-page visitors i.e they left your site from the first page without interacting with the page.
This is important because of its implication on SEO. Search engines use this metric to determine the relevance of a website to a query. Therefore, a high bounce rate would suggest that your site is not relevant to a search. This would lead to the site dropping further down on the search engine result page.
- Conversion Rate
Why do you even have a website in the first place if not to generate leads and convert prospects to customers? Conversion means different things to different businesses. Your conversion depends on what you have set as your business goal(s).
Conversion to a business may take place when visitors get to the checkout page just after the check out page. To another business, a conversion may be when a visitor signs up to their newsletter.
You can easily calculate your conversion rate thus – Unique Visitors / Conversions = Conversion Rate.
- Top Pages
All your pages won’t perform the same way – some will outperform others. You need this information so you know how to get the less performing pages to do better and take advantage of the ones performing well.
This also allows you to better understand your audience and what they respond to more. This way you know how to create contents for them in subsequent attempts.
Key Website Analytics Tools
Now you know the importance of tracking your website traffic and key metrics to measure, here are the tools you can use to track your website performance. With these tools, you can see your overall traffic, what your visitors do on your site and other relevant statistics.
Some of these tools are completely free. Some have both free and paid versions (completely worth it).
- Google Analytics – Free
This is arguably the most popular analytics tools among marketers and webmasters for obvious reasons (it is owned by the biggest search engine in the world, Google).
Google Analytics allows you to dig into all the stats and data that explain how your site is functioning. You can track your buyer’s journey from the first visit to their conversion, track all the touchpoints and take note of churns and bounce rate.
To use Google Analytics, you can simply sign up here and link your website. Google Analytics has simple interphase and you can easily find your way around. However, you can read the Google Analytics guide here for more insights and how to get the best out of Google Analytics. It is free!
- Clicky – Free/Paid
Clicky also allows you access to free real-time data of your site. This includes Spy View which allows you to observe what your live visitors are doing on your site.
Clicky has an easy-to-use, simple dashboard which displays all the information you want to see. And the website is responsive so you can easily access it via your mobile device.
You can sign up for the free version here.
- Woopra – Free/Paid
Woopra is another tool that gives real-time data. It is a desktop application and it provides such information as your live visitors, their location, current page, other pages visited and even their web browser.
This tool also allows you to chat live with each of your website visitors, making it a highly recommended tool for eCommerce site owners.
You can register for the limited free plan or get the paid unlimited plan.
- Kissmetrics – Paid
Another amazing tool that allows you to monitor the movement of your website visitors. You can also study how individual website visitor’s behaviour change over time, assess patterns and other stats.
Kissmetrics is a paid tool that costs $149 per month, but you can use the service free for the first 30 days.
- Crazy Egg – Paid
This tool capitalizes on the power of heatmap technology to visually display a picture of site visitors activities. Crazy Egg goes as far as showing where your visitors are moving their mouse and clicking.
This helps you understand which parts of your website catch your visitors’ attention most.
Like Kissmetrics, Crazy Egg is also a paid tool that allows free one-month trial before paying the monthly fee of $29 – $189 depending on the plan.
According to the author of Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour A Day, Avinash Kaushik “the quest for a single tool/source to answer all your questions will ensure that your business will end up in a ditch, and additionally ensure that your career (from the Analyst to the web CMO) will be short-lived.”
While Google Analytics is the best tool here, it’s extremely important to try different tools and not focus on just one.