Website analysis is seriously important if you want to have any success online. Whether you’re looking get your website higher in Google’s search results, or you want to find out which of your marketing efforts are worth investing more into, website analysis will help you save money, find better opportunities and most importantly – help you figure out what works (and what doesn’t) for your business.
You can read a million different articles on the best length in email subject lines, the best type of content to write on your blog, whether video is right for your business, how to use Twitter to draw in leads etc – but the truth is, although these will all be a helpful starter guide, unless you measure your results – you’ll never know if your tactics are working for your business.
After all – what works for one business, may not necessarily work for another.
So how do you find out what’s working for you?
Website Analysis Basics: What does it all mean?
Before we get into the free tools you can use to analyse your website, I thought we should go over some basics so you can make sure you get the most from your statistics.
Basic website statistics
Firstly, there’s some terminology you might come across when you’re performing your website analysis – and I’d love to let you know some basics of what they all mean.
Visits VS Unique Visitors
A common measurement you might see is the number of visits to your website. While it might seem that increasing your visits is key, each visit simply means every time anyone hits your website. So, for example, if the same person visits your website 5 times in one day, this counts as 5 visits. And if you don’t have your own I.P. address filtered, that means every time you visit your website you are skewing the statistics.
While monitoring visits can be interesting data, to see how useful or interested people may be in your content, often what’s more important is the number of unique visitors coming to your website. This simply indicates the number of individual computers (or devices) accessing your website, so is a much clearer indicator of the number of different people who are visiting your website.
Your “bounce rate” is simply the number of times people went to your website and clicked away without looking into another page.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; for example, if someone came to your website and called to make a booking rather than browsing, that ‘bounce’ was actually a lead becoming a customer. What’s important to note though, is if you have a high bounce rate, search engines can frown upon it, thinking your website isn’t as useful as others because people didn’t stick around.
Click Through Rate
Click through rate (aka CTR) is the number of times people clicked a particular link or advert vs how often people have saw that link or ad. For example, if 10 people saw your website appear in Google search results, and 2 of those people clicked on your link, you would have a click through rate of 20%.
The number of “impressions” is the number of times people have seen your advert or link appear. It’s a good indicator of how often your website is showing up in search results, and can also help diagnose bad metadata if no one is clicking through although you have a high number of impressions (see Click Through Rate).
Basic tracking tips
To begin with, I’d encourage you to install some basic tracking to your website (see the tools below) but once you’ve done that, you might like to dig a little deeper and make sure your website data is showing you the true results you’re looking to find out.
A really interesting way to look into your data is to view your traffic by it’s ‘source’. The traffic source is simply where the person who visited your website clicked on your link from – it could be direct, where they’ve typed in your link into their address bar, or anything else from organic search results to a Facebook link. Whether it’s in real-time, or you’re looking at where your customers are coming from last month, looking by source can give you a good idea of which of your marketing efforts are paying off best.
It’s really important to filter your data – if you don’t, your results can be very skewed. Filtering is where you ‘filter out’ the data that is coming from sources you don’t want to track, usually such as your own computer, phone and possibly even other service providers, such as website developers. This is simply so you know the data you’re looking at is showing trends that your customers and website visitors are showing, rather than including all the data from you being on your own website.
Setting up goal tracking is an excellent way to track how well your website is performing and where it needs improvement. You can set up a ‘goal’ as a page or event on your website, for example, the ‘thank you’ page after someone has sent you an enquiry is an excellent goal to track. If you track goals over a period of time, you can later look at the data and clearly see which of your marketing efforts is paying off the most.
5 Free Website Analysis Tools
Below I’ve picked out my favourite website analysis tools – and it gets even better. They’re all free!
Google analytics is a great – and completely free – way to track a whole bunch of interesting data on your website. It includes things like the number of people visiting your website, bounce rate, goals and much, much more. You can easily install it by adding a short piece of code to your website once you sign up to the service. Check it out here.
If you’re working on getting higher in Google, you can also sync it up with Google Search Console, and find out some seriously interesting data, like which keywords you are showing up for and your average position in search.
Google Search Console
Google’s search console (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) is also completely free and can give you some amazing search data, as mentioned above. Not only this, but it can even tell you where there are ‘crawl errors’ on your website that it might be good to fix, and you can easily submit a sitemap there to improve your chances of being indexed on Google quickly.
Another really important factor for SEO (search engine optimisation) is gaining good quality links (more on that here). A great way to track your progress, and even check out where competitors are getting their links, is to use Openlink Profiler. It will give you some pretty accurate data on the links pointing to your website and even how good those links are – because not all links are created equally!
Google PageSpeed Insights
Another way you can improve your website quite quickly, is to improve its usability and speed (also both strong factors affecting your SEO). A really quick way to test out your website is to simply enter in your url to the PageSpeed Insights tool, and it will not only give you a rating out of 100 for your website speed on mobile and desktop, but it will also tell you what you can do to improve it (such as reducing image sizes). More info on improving your page speed here.
When you’re trying to track your website for improvement’s in SEO, a great way to tell how you’re doing is to track the Domain Authority (which is basically the quality of your domain). Google ranks website’s with higher domain authorities more highly than others – it’s basically an indicator of how trustworthy and authoritative that website is in its industry.
A quick way you can tell how you’re doing, and how well your competitors are doing, is to install the Mozbar plugin. Again, it’s completely free, and it can quickly show you in search results who you’re up against.
Website analysis is incredibly important if you want succeed with any marketing campaigns that relate to your website – whether they start offline or on. Proper analysis can help you track what is working, what isn’t and help you improve your efforts so you can spend less and gain more customers from your efforts.
I hope you now feel prepared to take on a lot of website analysis yourself – and at very least, be able to see the true results of any marketing investments, tools or companies you employ.
Are there any website analysis tools you would have loved to see here too? Or any burning questions you still have? Simply leave a comment below and I’d be happy to help!