Sample 30 day view of web traffic broken down by total local and total non local traffic, local organic traffic and traffic from all sessions. Statistics shown here show some stats for the whole site and for the home page.
click graphic to enlarge
Good Analytical Tools are Critical
Let’s start with tools to use. One of the best tools for understanding your web traffic is Google Analytics. And it’s FREE. It’s also very powerful, very flexible, and can provide you a great deal of valuable information. Unfortunately, in part because it is so powerful and flexible, but also for other reasons, it can also be overwhelmingly complicated, confusing, misleading and hard to learn. But most remodelers only need to use a small subset of its features and data (most of the time) to get 80%+/- of the information most important for them. Another good thing is that while configuring or setting up Google Analytics can be challenging for the untrained, once set up by a Google Certified team which also understands remodeler marketing needs, like Continuum, using Google Analytics for most of what remodelers need to look at is much easier. (Also, if you use the right marketing team they can manage, monitor, give you the highlights and their suggestions on what to do based on the data and then do it for you. But even with this arrangement a good company owner needs to know enough about web traffic to understand what they are being told and to ask the right questions if needed.)
Over the years, we have found that many of the web traffic tools being used by remodelers with DIY websites or provided by hosting companies as part of their basic hosting packages are simple to use. But they almost always lack most of the important features remodelers need to get the most useful information. And they never seem to have the ability to dig deeper in ways sometimes needed. There are other tools with similar functions to Google Analytics but they generally cost money and require training to use, much like Google Analytics. Even with some DIY website systems and with most other hosting situations, a remodeler can add the needed Google Analytics code to their website to use Google Analytics.
Understanding Web Traffic Helps You Better Diagnose Marketing Problems
One of the general principles we believe in about marketing, and that has proven to be valuable again and again , is that before you take action, you should diagnose what the problem is you are dealing with as best you can first. Google Analytics is very helpful for doing this. It can help you diagnose problems with your website, SEO, PPC and many other aspects of your marketing including traditional, non-web based marketing. It can also give you early warning of problems months before other methods would.
For example: Your website is not generating enough leads. What should you do?
By knowing what to look at and how to interpret the data, using Google Analytics you can, among other things, determine:
- If you are getting enough traffic to your website.
- If you are getting the right type of traffic to your website.
- If your website is keeping the people you can sell to involved in your website.
- If the problem with no leads is a lack of traffic, the wrong traffic or the website is not converting the right traffic into leads.
- What pages on your website are working well or poorly.
- If people are getting errors on your website.
- What people are interested in on your website.
- If your marketing is driving people to your website or not.
- If your marketing is driving the right type of people to your website.
- What marketing activities are driving people to your website.
- If a direct mail effort evoked a response within days of the mailing even if you don’t immediately get calls.
- If the traffic is coming from paid online marketing or search engine optimization, other websites or other means.
- What pages people are finding on your website when searching.
- AND MUCH MORE.
Focus On Fixing What Is Not Working
One reason it is so important to diagnose a marketing problem first before jumping into action, is that, depending on what you determine the problem is, different actions may be called for. Identifying the problem before taking action is the best way to cost effectively solve it. Not knowing what the problem is in detail can lead to costly waste of time and money and the loss of sales. In fact you can easily make changes to your marketing that will be counter productive.
For example, why spend more money on SEO or Pay Per Click, if the problem is not a lack of traffic or the wrong type of traffic to your website but rather a problem with your website converting visitors into leads. By understanding how to use web traffic information you can more easily identify the page or pages that are turning people away. You can tell if your photo gallery or “about us” section is not working, your contact form is off-putting, etc.
Only by knowing what is wrong will you know what to fix. And knowing what to fix means you are investing in a solution and not wasting money.