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For just a moment, imagine your company’s website is a vibrant airport, with visitors from all over the world landing on its digital runway. You’ve got the comfiest airplanes, the best liminal restaurants, and a duty-free that would excite anyone.
However, you’re still an airport. That means your biggest job is making sure that people can get where they want to go, which requires a stellar air traffic control team. They track every plane as it comes and goes, keeping things smooth, efficient, and safe.
For your website, that team is made of your website tracking tools. Knowing how many people are visiting, where they’re coming from, and where they’re going is essential to getting your site running at its full potential.
Let’s take a look at how and why you should track website visits, and get you ready to fly your clients exactly where they want to go.
Why Track Website Visits?
Finding out exactly how many people click on your site and what they do there might not sound like useful information, but website traffic metrics are vital to keeping your site cutting edge.
Obviously, my favorite way that website traffic tracking gives you a boost is with marketing. The more information you have about your customers, the easier it will be to give them what they’re looking for.
When you see how users navigate your site, how long they spend on each page, and what information they look for most frequently, you start to get a picture of what they want from your company.
You can fold this information into your branding, and spend more time promoting the aspects of your business that people love.
Another ridiculously helpful aspect of traffic metrics is the ability to see where the traffic is coming from. For example, if the majority of your visitors are coming from referral links, you know you can focus on your referral program and put fewer resources into paid advertising or email marketing.
Taking that a step forward, any time you introduce a new campaign, you can easily see its effectiveness by checking in on overall website visits and where people heard about you.
When you track the pages people check out, how long they stay there, and what they actually do on your site, you can figure out potential pain points, popular pages, and possible patterns.
If most people convert after seeing a particular page or bounce after seeing another, you can structure your site in a way that encourages them to explore the most effective content.
These in-depth analytics also allow you to catch any bugs before they become an issue. Users aren’t the only ones to turn up their noses at technical difficulties, search engines see them too, and point people in the opposite direction.
Website metrics allow you to A/B test pages of your site and see which versions perform better. This lets you use cold hard data to settle any squabbles in your team about what color the landing page should be, and much more.
Maybe you try two different headlines to see which encourages more clicks or experiment with different layouts to see which encourages more engagement. By tracking these changes, you can continually optimize your website to provide the best possible user experience and increase conversions.
Key Data Points
With over 328.77 million terabytes of data being created every day, you must know exactly what you’re looking for when tracking visitors to your site. Of course, your exact data points will depend on what you’re hoping to achieve through visitor tracking, but there are some that should be at the top of your list.
- Unique Visitors - How many people are visiting your website?
- Pageviews - How many of your website’s pages are people exploring?
- Organic Search Traffic - What percentage of people are finding you through a search engine?
- Referred Visitors - How many people are finding you through your referral program?
- Average Visit Duration - How long are people staying on your website?
- Bounce Rate - What percentage of people leave your site after only seeing one page, and without taking any other action?
- Top Traffic Sources - Where are your visitors coming from?
- Device Type - Are visitors accessing your site through a desktop computer, mobile device, or tablet? Is your site optimized for that device?
- Exit Pages - Which pages are people leaving your site from?
- Behavior Flow - How are people navigating through your site? Does it follow your sales funnel?
Having a variety of actionable data points allows you to see the full picture, and shows you what needs your attention.
Tools For Traffic Analytics
An air traffic control team is only as powerful as their radar, and your data and analytics team is only as successful as the tracking tools and software you utilize. Here are a few of the best tools I've found for tracking website traffic.
With search engines being a huge part of website traffic, it makes sense that so many people want to get their data from the source. Google Analytics offers a comprehensive suite of tracking and reporting features that allow you to measure your website’s traffic, engagement, and conversions in real-time.
There’s tons to be learned from Google about your core audience as well, such as demographics, behavior, and interests. This kind of information can help you customize your marketing and get a deeper understanding of your users.
If you’re already using Google Ads for your paid advertising, Google Analytics can show off even more insights into your marketing campaign as a whole.
Another popular real-time website analytics tool, Clicky offers detailed reports on website traffic, engagement, goals, and more. This software offers some unique tools such as
- Spy - Allows you to see visitors’ actions as they take them, following their journey through your site
- Heat Map - Shows where exactly people are clicking, letting you optimize your layout and know what people are excited to learn more about
- Event Alerts - Clicky can let you know when someone is taking a specific action on your website
With its user-friendly interface and easy integrations with WordPress and Shopify, Clicky is a great option for extensive website tracking.
Crazy Egg is a powerful tool for visualizing website traffic and user behavior. It gives you multiple ways to examine how users engage with your site, including
- Scroll Maps - How far down your pages do your users get before zoning out?
- A/B Testing - An easy way to try out different optimizations for your site and see what works best.
- Confetti - A unique feature that shows you where users are clicking on your pages, allowing you to fine-tune your design for maximum engagement.
In addition to these tools, Crazy Egg also offers heatmaps, user recordings, and conversion reports to help you better understand your website traffic and make data-driven decisions.
If you want to track user traffic across both a website and an app, Mixpanel might be just what you’re looking for. It offers features like
- Funnel Analysis - How far along your sales funnel do users get? Where are the sticking points?
- User Segmentation - Is your website more effective with a certain demographic? Do different user segments bounce from different pages or come from different sources?
- Retention Analysis - How many users come back after their first visit, and how often?
What’s more, Mixpanel can track all these metrics across devices, meaning you can understand your users’ journey even when they hop from their phone to their desktop and back again.
In addition to helping you design and run an ultra-successful referral program, ReferralHero is an excellent resource for website traffic analytics. You’re able to view all your data in one place, including key metrics like
- Referred Visitors - How many people have found your site through a referral link?
- Sources - Where are website visits coming from?
- Conversion Rate - How many referred visitors turn into customers?
- Visitor Rate - How many customers generate at least one referred visitor?
ReferralHero displays all this information and more with easy-to-understand graphs so you can spot correlations and see your success grow over time.
The Bottom Line
Tracking your website traffic allows you to identify patterns, discover what continent resonates with your audience, and pinpoint areas for improvement. It’s a vital component in your marketing strategy, as well as the general operations of your business.
This data isn’t just about numbers and metrics, it’s about understanding your customers and their journey. With this level of knowledge, you can personalize their experience with your company and boost conversions and customer loyalty across the board.
As you prepare to take off and fly your customers where they never knew they needed to go, let website traffic analytics be your guide. After all, it’s the companies that track, analyze, and adapt that soar above the competition.
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