You’ve set up your Web analytics tool, and you’re ready to start tracking your business blog’s performance. But what do you track and what do all these terms mean?
Honestly, all of the data you can collect about your business blog’s performance is useful in some way, but you have to start somewhere. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and confused by the volume of data at your fingertips thanks to your new Web analytics tool, start small and focus on the most impactful data:
- How are people finding your business blog?
- Do people stick around once they find your blog?
- What other sites are sending visitors to your business blog?
- How many people are finding your business blog?
- What content on your business blog are people visiting?
Keep track of the statistics below to answer those questions and learn about what is and is not working on your business blog.
1. Visitors and Unique Visitors
There are two statistics you need to understand when it comes to determining how many people visit your business blog in an effort to gauge your blog’s current and growing popularity. First, the number of visitors to your blog includes everyone who viewed a page on your blog, meaning the same person can be counted more than once if he visits your business blog multiple times. On the other hand, unique visitors is the number of unique individuals who visited your blog during a specified time period. While this number gives you a better indication of the number of different people who visit your business blog, it’s not perfect. If people clear their Web browsers’ cookies or visit from different systems, they’ll be counted more than once. Keep these imperfections with both pieces of data in mind as you evaluate your business blog’s performance.
2. Page Views
Page views is an important piece of data because it tells you how many unique pages on your business blog were viewed by all visitors during a specified period of time. Advertisers consider Page Views to be a more accurate representation of a blog’s popularity than visitors or unique visitors. It’s also a useful statistic to trend analysis to gauge your business blog’s overall performance over time.
Referrers is a very important piece of information because it tells you what other sites, blogs, search engines, and so on are sending visitors to your business blog. Over time, you might notice spikes in traffic from specific sites or blogs or a growing trend in traffic from a specific site or blog. Both of these occurrences should raise a flag that something good is going on that you should investigate further in order to capitalize on it.
Aside from referrers, you should also track the keywords that people are typing into their search engines that leads them to your business blog. You can use this data to tailor future content to exploit those keywords or tweak content to better attract the niche audience you’re looking for — depending on the trends you identify and your goals for your business blog.
5. Top Content
By tracking the Top Content data provided by your Web analytics tool, you can find out what content is attracting the most visitors (and track that data against your referrers and keyword data for a more in-depth analysis) so you can create more of that kind of content that your audience seems to want.
You can use your Web analytics tool to track both trends as well as short term traffic spikes or dips to identify opportunities or problems early. The data is there (and most of it is available for free). Use it!
What do you think is the most valuable piece of data to track with a Web analytics tool and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below.