Site Performance Analysis

People often ask why they need to analyze results instead of just using actual search engine results as the basis for success. The answer is very simple. Our goal is NOT just making it to the top of the search engine results, nor is it ONLY to increase traffic.

We need to bring TARGETED traffic to our sites.

Once we attract the targeted traffic, we need those visitors to make a purchase. 

By using the proper stats, we can help determine what is and isn't working for us. We can also effectively analyze what may need improvement, or simply minor tweaks. 

Each business will have different areas that they need to track and analyze. The following are some of the things that I watch on my sites.

  • Visit Duration

    The first thing I like to track is how long people are remaining on my site. If I am having a ton of traffic, but they are not staying very long, it is a good indication that I am using a key phrase that may be too general. People are arriving at my site and quickly deciding that it was not what they were looking for. This indicates a possible need for an adjustment in the phrases I have selected. If however they are spending time on my site but still not making a purchase, it is a very good indication that my marketing techniques need improvement.

  • Key Phrases

    I also carefully track which key phrases are bringing people to the site. This is essential to carefully track because their are times you may not see your exact phrase being used in large numbers, but yet a very large volume of variations of that phrase are bringing them to your site. Keep an eye on how many page views each specific page is receiving rather than ONLY the exact phrase used.

  • Page Tracking

    I like to watch which pages people are entering my site on and which they are leaving on. This can help me understand if my site (each page) is written in such a way that encourages my visitors to keep looking. 

  • Contact & Confirmation Pages

    I tend to pay special attention to contact pages and confirmation pages. This can help quickly find a problem. Do the number of contact confirmation page views come very closes to matching the number of contacts you are receiving? If not, you may need to check the filters being used with your mail servers. You definitely do not want to miss customer emails. 

  • Search Engine Spider Stats

    I also watch the search engine spider stats carefully so that I can quickly spot a problem. I like to know how many times each spider has requested my robots.txt file. Since the reputable spiders will request this file with every single visit, it helps me determine frequency. 

  • Web Stats Error Reports

    I also keep a close eye on error pages reported. Every single error report is not an issue, as some spiders will frequently go on “fishing expeditions", looking for common pages that do not actually exist on my server. I also may have moved some images causing error pages when folks are searching Google images. Most importantly, I can quickly find problems on my site, as good stats will tell you exactly which page is creating the error. This alone has saved me some serious mistakes.

  • Visitor Operating Systems and Browsers

    A few times a month I like to carefully check the trends occurring in stats concerning which operating system and which browser folks are using. Different companies will attract different types of users.

    • I need to know what users MY business is attracting. I want my site to work well with all visitors, but it makes sense to know the actual percentages of my users so that I know areas that need a special focus.

    • Over time, trends will vary. For example, most recently I have watched a steady increase of visitors who are using the Firefox browser. This of course has run hand in hand with news reports of security issues with internet explorer. It has been enough of a growth that I need to make an attempt to verify that my site does not have major issues in that browser. 

  • Referral Stats

    I always keep an eye on my referral stats. If people have arrived from another site, I like to know which sites. If I have an unusually high number suddenly showing up, it is a very good indication that someone has “hotlinked” to one of my images. I do not want to lose a ton of time obsessing over this, but it is something I watch.

If I were to cover every single issue that I watch in my stats, we could fill an entire book. Although I certainly don't want to obsess over my stats, tracking trends and issues just makes good business sense. It is not the day to day results that will have the most impact on your success, but rather what happens over time.

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