Crushing a Rock Star Website Design – Part 4 (Analyzing Your Site Performance)

by Kim Tonkovich; December 14, 2020

Congratulations!  In the first 3 parts of our series, you’ve CRUSHED your Rock Star Website Design, BOOSTED your search engine rank, and have taken the steps to drive traffic to your website!  

BUT NOW HOW DO YOU KNOW IF ALL YOUR HARD WORK ON YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN, SEO & WEBSITE PROMOTIONS IS WORKING? 

Here are some ways to analyze your site performance…

GOOGLE ANALYTICS

Google Analytics is a tool many businesses use to track the performance of their website.  It’s free to use and provides you with the following information.

  • AUDIENCE OVERVIEW

In the Audience Overview section of Google Analytics, you get a snapshot for a specified time period of how many users have visited your website, how many of those visitors were new, and more information including the following :

               1. Sessions

A session is defined by Google as a single period of time that a user spends on your site, regardless of what they do or how many pages they visit.  If a visitor leaves your site, then returns within 30 minutes, that session is counted as part of the original session.  The 30 minutes restarts each time the user interacts with an element on your site (i.e., downloads something, clicks on a page link, etc.) and lengthens the same session. 
But if a visitor is inactive for, or leaves your site for, greater than 30 minutes, then the following activity or new visit is counted as a new session.  A new session will also be counted if a user visits your site through a different campaign.  For example, in one session they click through to your site from an enewsletter, then later click through from your FaceBook page.  In Analytics, you can view how many sessions your site has had within a specified time period, as well as the average number of sessions per user.

               2. PageViews

The 2020 Content Marketing Institute Survey suggests that email newsletters are the highest performing means for nurturing leads.  Your e-newsletters can include snippets of descriptions of the products and services your offer, links to articles/blogs on your website, product or service advertisements, contests, links to social media, surveys, etc.  And by all means should always include a link to your website and your phone number.

               3. Bounce Rate

A “bounce” is when a user visits your website and leaves after only viewing one page.  The bounce rate in Analytics is the number of bounced sessions divided by the total number of all sessions, the percentage of users that exit your site after viewing a single page.
According to Google, a high bounce rate may be a bad thing or may be just fine.  If a high rate of visitors bounce from your home page that is intended to lead to other interactions on your site, then this is obviously problematic and you should examine the design of your home page.  However, if you see a high bounce rate from your blog, where you expect users to read an article you promoted and then leave, then that is perfectly normal.

               4. Demographics

Also in the Audience Overview section, Analytics provides demographics of your site visitors including language spoken, geographic location, browser used, operating system, used, and mobile service information.
  • REAL-TIME REPORT

The Realtime Overview displays activity on your website  “right now”.  This includes pageviews per minute, pageviews per second, your top referrals, and top active pages.  The Locations section shows the number of active users on your site by country.  Traffic Sources shows you the medium from which active users arrived at your site.  Content displays the pages active users are currently viewing.  Events shows you the actions that active users are taking.  And Conversions displays goal hits per minute, per second, and in the last 30 minutes.
  • ACQUISITION REPORT

The Acquisition Overview displays a number of charts and graphs that show you the top channels from which users arrived at your site (direct, email, organic search, social, or referral).  As well as how many users arrived by each channel, and how many of those users were new by channel.  The overview also includes a behavior chart that shows the bounce rate by channel, pages per session, and average session duration.

               1. All Traffic

The All Traffic Channels section provides more detail by a specified time period on users and their behavior by channel.  The Source/Medium section shows you specifically how users, and how many, arrived at your site (i.e., via Google search, Yelp, email link, organic, LinkedIn, FaceBook, etc.). 

               2. Google Ads

If you’re running a current Google ad campaign, the Google Ads reports will provide you with details on what types of devices users are engaging with your ad on, information about your cost of acquisition and the user behavior and conversions, keyword clicks and cost, search queries and cost, and user behavior by hour or day of the week.
  • BEHAVIOR REPORT

The Behavior Overview displays the number of pageviews, by page, within a specified time period.  It also shows you how many of those were unique pageviews, the average time spent on a page, your bounce rate, and exit percentage. 

               1. Behavior Flow

Behavior Flow is a chart that shows you users starting pages when they arrived at your site, the 1st interaction taken after the starting page, the 2nd interaction, and the 3rd or more interaction.  This also displays how many sessions and drop-offs there were by interaction.  The chart can be viewed by landing page, campaign, medium, source, event action, event category, event label, and other criteria.

               2. Site Content

The All Pages of the Site Content section shows you either by page URL or page title, within a specified time period, the number of pageviews, unique pageviews, average time on page, number of entrances by page, bounce rate by page, % exit, and page dollar value.

               3. Site Speed

Site Speed Overview shows you the average page load time in seconds.  This is very important, as the longer it takes your page to load, the higher the chances visitors will just bounce from your site.  In here, there are links provided by page with PageSpeed Suggestions outlining what might be slowing down your site and what you can do to fix it.

               4. Site Search

If you have a site search built into you pages, this section will tell you the number of sessions with searches, the total unique searches, the number of results pageviews per search, the percent of search exits, the % of search refinements, the time spent on your site after a search, and the average search depth.  You can also see the number of site visits without site search, the search terms used, the pages searches started from, and the resulting pageviews per search.
  • CONVERSIONS REPORT

With Conversions, you have the ability to set Goals for specific actions users take on your site like registering for an event, signing up for an e-newsletter, completing a download, completing a specified purchase amount, etc.  Once your goal parameters are set up, you can view reports on your targeted objectives.
More can be learned about Google Analytics through the online Analytics Academy Courses : 
            Google Analytics for Beginners
            Advanced Google Analytics
            Google Analytics for Power Users
            Getting Started with Google Analytics 360
            Introduction to Data Studio
            Google Tag Manager Fundamentals

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE

The Google Search Console provides information about the search performance of your website and site pages.  To get started, visit the Search Console page, enter your domain or subdomain you want to analyze, then click the Continue button.  You will need to verify your site by adding a TXT code to your DNS configuration with your domain provider in order to see results.  Once that is done and your domain is verified, you can see the following information.

  • Overview – The Overview section of the Google Search Console displays your total web search clicks, pages clicked and found with errors, and valid pages clicked.
  • Performance – The Performance Section will show you by Google keyword search during a specified time frame your total clicks, total impressions, average click-through-rate, and average position in rank.
  • URL Inspection – The URL Inspection link enables a search bar where you can inspect the performance of a specific URL or page on your website.
  • Index Coverage – The Coverage section displays some of the results found when Google crawls and indexes your site, including errors, valid pages with warnings, valid pages, and excluded pages. Errors are pages that couldn’t be indexed so won’t appear in Google searches.  If your site has errors, you can click on the row in the table, this will show you more details and how to fix it.
  • Index Sitemaps – The Sitemaps section is the area where your sitemap can be submitted to Google for indexing. Once your site has been crawled, this section will display the status as well as how many URLs were discovered on your website.
  • Index Removals – In the Removals section, you can submit requests to temporarily remove content from Google Search and report outdated content.
  • Enhancements Core Web Vitals – The Core Web Vitals display information based upon searches from Mobile and Desktop.
  • Security and Manual Actions – Here you can find any issues Google detected that need to be addressed as well as any manual actions that Google suggests based upon issues found when crawling your site.
  • Legacy Tools and Reports Links – Here you will find lists of your top linked pages from external links, top linked pages from internal links, top linked pages from other sites, and top linked text directed to your site from other sites.
  • Settings – In the settings section, you can verify your ownership of your site, assign users and permissions, or remove your property from Google Search.

Your professional website designer can help you set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console for your website.  And can also help you with tracking and analyzing the information, as well as suggest what changes might need to be made on your website to improve performance.

Crushing a Rock Star Website Design

< READ PART 1 – Website Design Basics

< READ PART 2 – Boosting Your Search Engine Rank

< READ PART 3 – Promoting Your Website


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References

  • Analytics Help; Google Support; 2020
  • Google Analytics; analytics.google.com; 2020
  • Google Search Console; search.google.com; 2020

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