What Your Website Statistics Are Telling You
How to know what’s working—and what’s not—for your visitors
As technology continues to develop, there seems to be no end in sight to the amount of data we can download and analyze. This is not a bad thing.
In fact, this can be a very good thing if you are a business, company, or organization with a website you want to track. Whether you are using your website to promote cases being sent in or primarily as a means to promote your brand and communicate information, it is important to see how your website is working for you. In other words, you need to be reviewing your website statistics.
Here are a few terms you should familiarize yourself with when you are talking about website statistics:
Number of Visitors: Simply put, these are the total number of visits to your site by day, week, or month. Once you have an accurate record of the number of visitors, you will want to look closely at the unique visitors. Acquiring a baseline is important so that you will have a number to compare with other records and help identify traffic trends, which would be particularly important if you were thinking about implementing a multi-channel marketing campaign.
Unique Visitors: These are first-time visitors to your website. In regards to web analytics, this term is used to refer to a person who has visited your website once within a specific reporting period. According to LunaMetrics.com, depending on how your reporting period is set up, the same visitor could be counted as unique once per day, once per week, once per month, and so forth.
Bounce Rate: This term is defined by Kayden Kelly with Blast Analytics and Marketing as “the percentage of people who arrive on your site and leave without visiting a second page.” While not always a negative, a high bounce rate potentially could be cause for concern. Typically, a bounce rate of 40 percent or lower is considered good. Google Analytics cites that for a content-based website like a dental laboratory, any bounce rate between 40-60 percent could be considered good. Kelly did add that the four most common bounce rate scenarios are the following: 1. Clicks the back button, 2. Closes the browser, 3. Types in a new URL, 4. Does nothing (session times out after 30 minutes).
Exit Rate: While a bounce rate refers to a visitor's leaving your website without visiting a second page, exit rate refers to the page a visitor exits the site from. In other words, think of it as the jumping off point. This is particularly important to understand how users are engaging/disengaging with your website.
Number of Pages Viewed: The ultimate goal of practically every website is to initiate action. For a dental laboratory, that might come in the form of downloading an Rx form, filling out a shipping label, or picking up the phone and making the call to discuss a case consultation or to set up a local pick-up. You stand a much better chance of this taking place when people stay on your site for an extended amount of time. The more pages you can attract a visitor to view, the better chance you have of action being taken. After a six-month study, NewFangled.com reported that the average number of page views was 4.6 per session.
Average Session Duration: You want to keep your visitors engaged with your website and have them dig deep into your site’s content. By having an attractive website with clear pathways and concise information, you can keep visitors on your site longer and in turn enhance the level of interaction your visitors have with your laboratory. The term “stickiness” applies here—anything about a website that inspires a visitor to stay longer. Things that might cause a visitor to “stick” around include: a special promotion (take $25 off your next case), new product information, and content on the latest company news or continuing education events.
Visitor Path: Several statistics packages will allow you to track where visitors go once they land on your website. This tool allows you to see what is catching their attention, as in which pages are being viewed and which are not. Some of the most commonly viewed pages are the homepage, products page, “send a case” page, and “about us” page.
With Search Engine Optimization (SEO) continuing to be an important metric for how a company’s website is being found, it would be a wise idea to utilize a program such as Google Analytics, which can provide precise statistics about a website’s traffic. The best part about Google Analytics is that it is free.
Google Analytics also can recommend keywords and phrases that are likely to draw visitors to your website from search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Top keywords and phrases is another component that you will want to factor in when evaluating website statistics. Furthermore, this allows you to better gauge the type of content you will want to place on your website and other communication channels such as blogs and social media sites.
It would be an understatement to say that having a professionally designed website is important. Quality images and content are all needed for an attractive website, as are features that benefit visitors. For a dental laboratory, think landing pages that allow you to download prep guides, Rx forms, and shipping labels. You may also want to think about incorporating video, such as how to take a digital impression or how to prep for a full-contour Zirconia crown or bridge.
Though not the end-all, be-all when properly evaluated, website statistics can provide you with a wealth of information that can help better assess what is working and what is not on your website. Your website is important. After all, it’s open 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
Terry Fine is the president of AMG Creative in Fort Collins, CO.