7 Tips for Effectively Tracking Website Analytics

Do you know the average monthly visitors of your site? How about average monthly revenue?

How has your conversion rate changed over the past year? Compared to the previous year?

Depending on your position within your company, you probably know roughly how much revenue was made last year, but what about the numbers that got you there, like

  • Visits
  • Conversion rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Average order value, etc.

Detailed website analytics are extremely important for the success and improvement of your business. Here are some tips to help you make good use of your data.

Measure Performance & Establish Baselines
Start by identifying your core key performance indicators (KPIs) and pull historical data. A few top KPIs for most sites include visits, bounce rate, transactions, conversions, leads, average order value (AOV) and revenue. If you’re starting from scratch, try to go back at least two years or as much as your data will allow and determine baselines and year over year changes.

Don’t Get Caught up in the “Big Data” Hype
You’ve probably heard a lot about Big Data lately. While it has its advantages, there is some confusion as to what Big Data actually is and how it should be used. Some sources may lead you to believe that you absolutely must use Big Data. However, true Big Data is millions, even billions, of data points. It’s unlikely that you need that level of detail in your reporting.

However, it can be helpful to use Big Data in the form of industry standards or baselines. For example, in the retail industry, an average email open rate of 31% is considered good. However, average email open rates for non-profits are closer to 46%. This is helpful to know when you are wondering how you measure up in your industry.

Dig into the Details
Now that you know last month’s bounce rate increased by 10%, your next question should be why? Did you drive a lot of additional traffic to your site for a special promotion? Did you change your homepage design and now that new design is confusing your visitors? Details will help you make informed decisions.

Annotate Events that Could Affect Your Analytics
If you run a promotion, redesign your website, launch a new product line, start a new ad campaign, etc. make sure to mark the exact dates of that event in your analytics. This way, when you go back and wonder where your surge in visitors and revenue came from, you’ll remember you offered a 25% off sale that drove the increased traffic. Software like Google Analytics will allow you to do this within the program.

Utilize Google UTM Tracking
There’s a good chance you’re using Google Analytics as part of your data analysis. The Google URL Builder is a great tool that feeds into your Google Analytics data using UTM tracking codes. Google UTM tracking codes will not only tell you the source of your visits, conversions, etc. but also which campaign within that source.

For example, Google Analytics will tell you the source of a conversion was email, but adding Google UTM tracking to your email links will allow you to look at Google Analytics and know exactly which email and which link within that email led to the conversion.

Google UTM TrackingUse UTM tracking for:

  • Email Marketing
  • Homepage Content
  • PPC Campaigns
  • Any other marketing efforts you would like to track, like a banner ad on a third party website.

For a step-by-step explanation of how to use UTM Tracking Codes, check out this article.


Customize Your Google Analytics Dashboards
Another Google Analytics tip is to customize your dashboards. You can create dashboards within Google Analytics specific to social media, blogs, specific product categories or whatever else you want to be able to reference quickly and easily.

Once you set up your custom dashboards, you can then email the report to other business leaders within your company (or externally) to share important data.

Social Media Dashboard

Aggregate Your Data
Google Analytics is a popular analytics package, but it’s likely you may be using other programs in place of or in addition to Google Analytics. For example, you may find another tool is better for tracking leads, but Google Analytics is best for tracking visits and traffic. You can often link your analytics packages to get a better idea of the big picture of your performance.

Make sure to aggregate all of your analytics into a spreadsheet. It never hurts to back up your data and if you ever stop using one of your analytics tools, you will still have all of the data in an offline location to reference at any time.

An aggregated spreadsheet is important for comparing data from your different analytics packages. You can then see where you have opportunities and where you are lacking. You can also add projections to see how you are performing compared to your goals.

Detailed Analytics Report

Want More Tips? Download our eBook.

Web Marketing Essentials for 2013 eBook

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