People often get caught up trying to make their WordPress sites better by optimizing the design, increasing the speed and usability, and strategically creating content with SEO in mind. These are all absolutely necessary and good to focus on; however, how do you evaluate if your efforts are working? The answer is in all of the data of your WordPress site’s performance, all of which can be mined through the use of data analytics tools.
Some Basics of Data Analytics
First, before you can evaluate anything, you will need a tool that allows you to sort through your data and make sense of it. Of course the most obvious and well known is Google Analytics – being incredibly effective and free – but if for some reason you don’t want this software, there are also WordPress plugins that record data, like Piwik, as well as many other analytics tools, including tools designed specifically for social media.
Once you have chosen the tool, you then need to narrow down the scope of the data that you will be focusing on. The most useful aspects that will help you evaluate the success of your website are:
1. How Many People are Visiting?
One of the most important aspects to evaluate on your website is the web traffic that it accrues. It is best to focus on unique visitors instead of website visits as a whole. This shows you individuals visiting your website and doesn’t calculate repeat visits from the same individuals. This is particularly useful to identify how large your audience is, and if this is consistently growing, you will clearly see the impact of your web marketing efforts. If this isn’t growing, then you know that you may need to make some changes in promoting your website.
2. Where is Your Traffic Coming From?
Of course in order to improve your web marketing efforts, you need to not only know who has visited your site, but how they got there in the first place. Knowing whether they are clicking on the link to your site through organic search results or through social media platforms, helps you to narrow down where the audience is and how to better engage with them – in other words, where it makes the most sense to focus your marketing efforts.
3. What’s the Activity of Your Traffic?
Once you see how big your audience is and where it is coming from, it is important to analyze exactly what they are doing on your site. Bounce rate shows visitors that have clicked on your website and have immediately left. If you have a high bounce rate, it may be because of several reasons. Visitors may lose trust if they are presented with a poorly designed website, be overwhelmed by a poor layout and navigation, or become annoyed by slow loading times.
Additionally, if your website has ranked for general keywords that are quite irrelevant to what your website actually offers, visitors will likely click and then abandon the site immediately because it doesn’t suit their needs. Exit pages are slightly different, this is when a visitor visits multiple pages on your site before leaving. This indicates that it was more relevant to their search and held the visitor’s interest.
However, you should analyze why certain pages have a high exit rate. Is there a performance issue? A problem with the content? Figuring out why visitors are leaving and fixing it will lead to higher conversion.
Conversion means that the visitor has achieved the end goal for your site, whatever that may be. For e-commerce this would be making a purchase, whereas for a blog this may be signing up for the mailing list. This is the biggest measure of how successful your site actually is, because these visitors are completely engaged and haven’t landed there by mistake. If your conversion rate is low, then you really have to analyze whether you are targeting the right audience and whether your site is actually meeting the needs of that audience.