Understanding Website Analytics

Most people have probably heard of the term web analytics, but very few actually understand the process and its importance to the success of their website. If you have a business website and ever wondered to yourself, “How many hits is my site getting per day, per month, per year?”, or been confused by the relevance of statements like “Our site gets 80,000 hits per day.”, then the information in this article might go some way to explaining the importance of understanding your analytics.

What Do All the Numbers Mean?

There are 5 basic web analytic metrics relating to web traffic that we will focus on here, and ‘hit’ is not one of them. Why? Well, a hit actually relates to the server the site is on and the number of resources on each web page. For instance, let’s say a page has 79 pieces of assorted media on it. When someone visits the site, a ‘hit’ is generated for each resource, and 1 for the actual visit. Therefore, that one visit generates 80 hits and becomes an unreliable metric, since you may believe your site is doing better than it really is.

The metrics you need to be concerned about are:

Visits – this is the number of visitors to your site in a given time frame. It does not account for visitor types or frequencies of individual visitors. Example: I came to your site 5 times in 30 days. For those 30 days, I will count as 5 visits.

Unique Visitors – This is a unique individual that might have visited your site numerous times but is only counted once as a visitor. Unique visitors are identified using a cookie on their computer. Example: I came to your site 5 times in 30 days. For those 30 days, I will count as 1 unique visitor.

Page Views – This is the number of pages viewed on your site. Example: I came to your site 5 times in 30 days, but each time I came I viewed 10 pages. For those 30 days, I will count as 50 page views. If you want to determine pages per visit (or how many pages does the average visit view) divide the total page views for a given timeframe by total visits for the same timeframe.

Average Duration or Average Time on Site – This is the average time spent on your site during any visit. It is derived by taking the total time on the website for a given timeframe and dividing it by the total number of visits.

New vs. Returning Visitors – This is the difference between people who have been to your site before versus people who are returning to your site. These numbers are determined using cookies. If I have been to your site once I was counted as a new visitor and your analytics placed a cookie on my computer that expires in a predetermined timeframe (frequently 2 years unless customized). If I return to your site before that cookie expires, I will count as a returning visitor now.

So, now you should have a basic understanding of web analytics regarding visitors. This information can mean very little if you don’t understand the sources where those visitors are coming from. So, now let’s look at common sources of web traffic.

Common Traffic Sources

There are four common traffic source groups that may or may not include various subgroups, depending on your analytics platform.

Direct – This is traffic that has come to your site by either typing in your URL in their address bar or clicking a bookmark. There are some other cases that can cause traffic to show up as direct such as untagged links (whether placed by you or someone else), bad redirects, vanity URLs or improperly tagged campaigns.

Referrals – This is traffic that has come from another site to your site. It does not relate to traffic coming from a search engine nor should it reflect any campaign-based links you have tagged for specific tracking purposes.

Search – This is traffic from search engines. Most analytic platforms will break this out into Organic, Natural or Paid. Organic is basic search traffic from sites such as Google. Paid is traffic from sites that such as Google that have clicked a search ad that you paid to show up based on search terms used.

Other – This group typically relates to campaign-based traffic that has been tagged for specific tracking purposes such as social media links, email marketing links or direct marketing.

Making Use of Web Analytics Data

One of the first keys to making use of web analytics data is to determine what data is relevant to you. If you know you aren’t creating marketing campaigns on or offline that utilize custom tagging for tracking purposes, you can probably ignore most data in the “other” traffic sources group. But, if you’re trying to drive traffic to your site via links placed on other sites or on social media, visits from referral traffic might become very important.

The most important thing to remember when determining which analytics metrics are important to you is the goal of what you are trying to achieve. If you have a goal of driving 30% more traffic to your site, but your site is a blog with very short posts, the average duration of time on site might be irrelevant.

Determine Goals and Make Decisions

Determining goals will help you determine which metrics illustrate success or failure in reaching those goals and can help you understand where changes need to occur to ensure you hit those goals next time. Goals should be as specific as possible without being too granular.

Ultimately, the key to understanding basic web analytics comes down to knowing what basic metrics are, understanding what drives those basic metrics and how to use those metrics to determine the success or failure of your website and/or make decisions about your website’s future. At the end of the day, you determine what is important to you and how to use it. If you’re looking for further guidance, or if you need a service that provides easy-to-understand web analytics, consider the Deliver by Linkeo service. Learn more today!

The Basics of Digital Marketing – Part 1

Digital marketing – to most people, this is just one of the new buzzwords business owners use to make them appear smarter than they really are. However, this is not the case! Digital marketing is a real thing, and in the current business world, an essential step to ensuring your business thrives. In this series all about making digital marketing work for you, you’re going to learn all the digital marketing basics you need to know to create successful online marketing campaigns for your business.

Let’s start with the obvious question:

What is Digital Marketing Exactly?

In simplest terms, digital marketing means marketing your products and services using the internet and digital media as the medium. It’s essentially an umbrella term that includes all marketing tactics that involve reaching out to the target customers through the internet and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and such.

Why Does Your Business Need Digital Marketing?

If you’re unsure whether or not your new restaurant needs an online presence, these few points might convince you of the power of digital marketing.

Competition is using it: Did you know that 77.6% of small business owners use social media in their marketing strategy? From solo entrepreneurs and freelancers to companies, everyone is using digital marketing to establish a brand presence today. If you don’t adapt to the changing times, you stand to lose potential customers.

Cast a wider net: Digital marketing allows you to catch the attention of your prospective customers in a variety of ways. For example, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps you attract customers in an organic way. On the other hand, Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing uses paid ads to draw the audience in. By using different approaches, you can reach a wider audience which can have a major impact on your brand recognition.

Track your performance easily: Thanks to the easily available analytics tools online, you can track how your marketing campaigns are performing in real-time. And these are a great improvement on traditional forms of marketing, where you had to wait for weeks to determine what’s working and what’s not!

With digital marketing, you can observe which aspects of your marketing strategy need tweaking and make the required changes in real-time. This gives you enormous control over your marketing campaigns and your budget.

Target your audience effectively: Can you imagine targeting an audience based on gender, language, and location through traditional means of marketing? That’s one of the things you’re sure to love about digital marketing; you can choose who visits your website and who sees your ads. The targeting tools and parameters available today are incredible at helping you target the audience you want. They are easy to use even if you only have a little knowledge of digital marketing basics, and if you ever run into any issues, most social media platforms or web hosting sites have technical support that you can call upon.

And these are just some of the several advantages of digital marketing for your business. Once you know how to handle your marketing campaigns successfully, you will be able to boost your sales and get further ahead of your competition.

Now that we’ve piqued your curiosity, the next part of this series will focus on what makes for an effective digital marketing strategy. If you don’t want to wait for that to come out, why not get in touch with the experts at Linkeo Ltd and ask for a demonstration of their Deliver by Linkeo platform. You’ll be able to witness firsthand how an effective digital marketing strategy can drive small and medium businesses to heights they had never dared dream of before.

The Pros and Cons of Running an Online Business

These days, it seems like everyone and their dog is making money off the internet. Not a day goes by that you don’t hear of some new person making a boatload of cash from their new online store, so it’s quite natural that you might want to get in on the action as well. There are plenty of resources online that can help you get started, but you do need to learn about the pros and cons of the various online business models to see which one is best suited to your ideas and needs. In this article, we will compare and contrast the three most popular options online.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a method by which you, as an affiliate, partner with a producer to promote a product and earn a commission based on the number of units sold that you have directly influenced. If you’ve ever watched a YouTube video in the last few years, or interacted with an Instagram post where you’ve been encouraged to use “Promo Code XXX to get XXX off next purchase”, then you know exactly how affiliate marketing functions.

When done correctly, affiliate marketing is a very lucrative moneymaker that requires very little to no initial investment. You don’t even need your own website, since you can easily use free blog websites or social media to promote your products. Furthermore, you don’t need to dedicate any time or resources to designing a product of your own. All you need to do is simply pick something that you feel consumers will buy and promote it. Affiliate marketing is also very flexible; you can run your business from the beach, your bed – wherever you feel most comfortable.

However, there are a couple of downsides to affiliate marketing. The biggest is that the commissions you can earn vary between products and profit margins are usually slim, meaning that to be successful, one needs to generate large numbers of sales or go for high margin products. Another con is that affiliate marketing requires patience; no one ever gets rich overnight. You need to build up a following, have large numbers of people who regularly see your work, whether it be blog posts, posts on social media etc.

Moving on,

eCommerce / Dropshipping

Running your own eshop is another popular way to make money online, and the method comes with a swathe of benefits over going the traditional route of a brick and mortar shop. If you sell online, through one of the many different eCommerce platforms like Amazon, eBay and the like, you can reach a much larger audience, sometimes even an international one. Anyone, anywhere can click a link and land on your page, see what you are selling and be inspired to buy. Setting up an eshop is also simple and inexpensive. Web companies like Linkeo Ltd, through their Deliver By Linkeo program, will provide you with templates and guidance in creating a store, all one needs to do is pay for a domain name and you are good to go.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own site, there is always dropshipping, where you can promote and sell products without spending anything.

However, there are some cons to this method as well. Setting up an online store is easy. Choosing the right products to sell is not. Competition is high, which makes it difficult for beginners to break into the market. Finding a niche market to corner can be helpful, but even then, there are no guarantees that you will see the sales levels you expect right out the gate, if ever. Another thing to remember, especially if you are relying on an overseas supplier, is that you might not always be able to guarantee the quality of the product. This can result in you ordering numerous amounts of a faulty item, or worse, a customer receiving faulty items and requesting a refund – meaning you would then lose money due to shipping fees.

Fulfillment by Amazon

Have you ever heard of this one? Basically, this is a system that was set up by Amazon, where you can rent out space in their giant warehouses to store your products for a small fee, and once you sell the product, they will take care of shipping it out for you, again for a small fee. The advantages of this system are quite apparent. As the largest worldwide online retailer, Amazon sets the standards for shipping times, as well as having the best warehouses in the world. Your items will be subject to Amazon’s careful storage regulations, ensuring safety and insurance in the unlikely event of product destruction.

However, this method also has some big drawbacks. The first is cost, obviously. For one thing, having lots of physical stock in one place is potentially a great way to lose money. If you purchase 1000 units of something and then are unable to sell, you are not only going to be losing money from the initial purchase but are now also going to be losing money due to Amazon’s storage fees, which whilst being cheap, are going to quickly add up over time. Another is the fact that Amazon tends to store several of the same types of items together. So, if a client orders your item, there is a slight chance that they may receive a different item from the one they ordered.

At the end of the day, each of these systems might have its pros and cons, but they have proven to be extremely effective overall. All you need to do is pick the right strategy for you, make sure it is something you are going to enjoy doing regularly over the weeks and months that it will take you to hopefully be successful.