Just having a website is not enough. You need to be able to track visitors to your site and monitor what they do when they get there. This will drive up traffic and increase conversions. Monitoring web traffic tools will come in handy.

A large number of companies fail to achieve. This is due to ignoring their objectives when creating a web strategy or not measuring how well their online marketing performs against their targets. Monitoring web traffic is essential if you want your site to meet your objectives with measured key performance indicators.

Started with web analytics

One of the most commonly-used web analytics packages is Google Analytics. It’s popular because it’s free and has inclusive features. There are more advanced, paid-for tools available, but for most small businesses the free tools are sufficient.

Most tools track users in the same way. You have to place a piece of tracking code on each page of your website. This helps your analytics tool to follow visitors as they move through your site. Some website building software allows you to add your tracking code automatically. If not, you may need help from a web developer or IT supplier.

Track with web analytics

There are plenty of important information you can measure with analytics. The first thing most businesses look at is the number of visitors their website receives. Most analytics packages will show two different statistics:

  • Total visitors (also called sessions). Count each visit to your site, even if the same person has returned more than once.
  • Unique visitors (also called users). Filter out repeat visits, so each person is only counted once.

Another common measurement is the number of page views. This counts how many different pages have been viewed on your website.

See where your visitors coming from

You need to know how visitors have found your site. You will be able to see which online marketing activities are most effective. One of the main ways websites receive traffic is from links on other sites. Known as ‘referrers’, their data is very valuable. If a review gets posted about your business and it contains a link to your site, your referrers will show you that the review exists.

A source of website traffic is search engines. You can see which search terms people are typing in to find your website. Also, you can see where search engines rank your business and its competitors. Search analytics can be interesting because visitors may be arriving via keywords and search engines you’re not aware of.

If you are running marketing campaigns or adverts, you can specifically track traffic from them. You should have an objective in mind, and analyse your campaign in order to see how well it meets that objective. Small businesses regularly don’t have the resources to do all types of online marketing, so they need to see where it’s most worthwhile and focus their efforts there.

Web analytics can pinpoint visitor location. This can be useful if you plan to target customers in a particular area like local customers.

Analytics don’t collect any personal information – so you can’t exactly identify who they are. However, most do place small files called cookies on people’s computers, so you may need to notify visitors under the EU cookie law.

Monitor how visitors use your site

Knowing how visitors use your site speaks volumes. It can show you the quality of the website’s content and navigation. Scrutinising this will help you to develop the site and improve your conversion rates. Your objective is to persuade visitors to complete an action. You need to check the number of visitors and if they are actually doing what you want them to do. An action could be:

  • Sharing or ‘Liking’ a post on social media;
  • Contacting you via a form or email;
  • Signing up for your e-newsletter;
  • Making a purchase.

You can create a goal and then track when someone follows your ideal route to the finish. You can also track visitors who fail to complete the action. This will help you identify where problems are with your online order process. If the conversion is low, you can look at the ordering process step by step to determine how you could make it more user-friendly. Normally by simplifying an online form or adding a faster payment gateway, you’ll get a higher conversion rate because people are more likely to complete the process. This can help you discover that parts of your website are ineffective. If your website is content-driven, you will want to improve or update it regularly.