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May 15, 2013

5 Steps To Optimize Your Website Using Analytics

Most website owners like to install analytics so that they can obsess over visitor numbers, but there are so many other data points available through mainstream analytics services like Google Analytics which are also useful to look at. Being able to assess what pages are most popular, look at bounce rates and see what countries your visitors hail from are not just superficial interesting—you can use that data to optimise your website and improve it exponentially.
Analytics basically allow you to assess the strongest and weakest points of your website, allowing you to focus on the former and strengthen the latter.

1. Take In The data

The first step to optimising your website based on your analytics is looking at the headline facts and figures and starting to analyse exactly what they mean. Go through each and every page of your chosen analytics service and figure out what each data point is trying to tell you about your website. As a basic guide, the most important information to look at is the visitor numbers and bounce rate for each of your pages, the geographical location of your visitors, visit lengths and also finding out where your visitors are coming from (usually from referrals or search). 

By looking at all of this information, you can start to assess in order: what pages are popular and what pages need improving, whether you need to focus on pushing your website in certain countries, whether you need to increase user interaction with your website and also how to get more people to your website.

2. Notice Geography

Visitor maps are not just for fun—the geography of your visitors is important and you should be carefully assessing where your visitors come from as a way of anticipating their needs. This is especially important if you run an ecommerce website. If you notice for example that you get a lot of visitors from Spain but not a lot of conversions, then lower your shipping ratings for Spanish customers. Consider showing your prices in euros as well as pounds or dollars. Think about possibly having your site translated so that you can display it in multiple languages. These are just some possibilities of what you can do based on geographical information, and it displays well why that information is important.

3. Take Measurements Over Time

You must wait at least a month after installing analytics to truly be able to make any assessments, because data becomes more reliable and more useful if it covers a larger period of time. You can see if there are fluctuations over the course of a week or month in your visitor numbers, and you can assess what days people are most likely to visit your website—making them days good ones to launch new schemes or sales. If you want to make changes based on your analytics, you should do so only when you have confidence in the numbers you are receiving.

4. Judge What Changes Should Be Made

After you have gathered all information possible on your website, it is time to start making decisions about how to change your website for the better. If you have a high bounce rate, try shorten your front-page load time or improve the look of your homepage. If you get most of your visitors via search engines, think about what you can do to optimise your website for search and push yourself higher for the relevant keywords. Make your data mean something, and translate that data into action.

5. Track The Effects

Once you have implemented changes based on your findings, you need to track your analytics and see if they have had any effect—positive or negative. At that point you need to repeat the cycle: take a report, analyse all the particulars and then come up with a strategy to improve the numbers. Analytics is a long-term game: you need to constantly track your website and always be on top of the information flow. That way, you can make sure your website is doing the best it possibly can.

This a post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a freelance writer and an occasional tech blogger currently working for an internet provider company. Check out this website if you like to find out how she can work where ever she is. When she is not working she likes to read and travel around the World. Image Source: Google

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