Using Website Analytics Tools to Guide Website Maintenance
December 10. 2019
Running a website is no easy task. While a lot of work goes into the design and the setup pre-launch, it’s after the website is live that the true challenges begin. Once you’ve had your website up and running for a while, you’ll start to see exactly what works and what doesn’t. Then it’s time to start fixing the bugs, learning from your success and regularly updating your site to ensure it is the best it can be. You may want to hire WP experts to maintain the website for you. Or you may choose to do it yourself instead. But either way, you’ll need to know what your customers like and don’t like in order to make the right changes. So how do you go about acquiring that knowledge? Well, using website analytics tools to guide website maintenance can be one way. Here’s how!
Website analytics tools explained
The best way to know how your website is performing is to ask your users! After all, it’s them that your website is intended for. But how do you ask everyone who visits your website what they thought of it? The answer is – you don’t! You rely on statistics instead. And web analytics tools are an easy way to do so. They are tools that help you understand your userbase and website better by gathering information about your website’s visitors and how they use your site.
What do they do?
Once you install a website analytics tool, it starts to record information about the site’s visitors and their behavior. The type of information varies on the tool you use and specific settings within it. But generally, the information you will get is about:
- how many hits your website has
- where in the world those hits are coming from
- when your website gets most of its traffic
- what percentage of your visitors are new customers vs. how many are returning to your page
- how long visitors stay on your website and how many different pages they view
- where and how your visitors found your website
Your chosen tool will then present this information in the form of statistics and reports that you can easily interpret. Remember, however, to install an analytics tool some time before you need it. It will take a while to gather enough data to be useful!
Why do you need them?
No matter how well-designed and thought out your website is, you won’t really know how it performs until it goes live and you get to see actual users interact with it. And even if everything works perfectly and exactly how you intended, regular maintenance is always necessary and constant improvement is the only way to succeed. So even if you’re relying on professional website maintenance services, tracking how your website performs for your users is crucial to making sure it is constantly the best it can possibly be.
Which website analytics tools should you use for your website?
Now that you know what website analytics tools are and why you need them, you should also know which ones perform best. Of course, every website is different and the right tool will depend on many things such as what your website does and where your users are from, for example. But some of the best tools you can use to maintain and improve your website are:
- Google Analytics – one of the most popular website tools out there which just so happens to also be one of the best and most informative ones too with the added bonus of being free
- Google Webmaster Tools – what little information you won’t find in Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools will provide
- Ahrefs – a paid tool that allows you not only to track your own website but also to compare its performance to that of your competitors
- Kissmetrics – another paid tool that focuses on maintaining and expanding your userbase
- ClickFox – a handy tool to keep track of your visitors’ behavior on your website through interactive maps
How can website analytics tools help inform your website maintenance?
So this all sounds pretty neat, right? But how does it all translate to using website analytics tools to guide website maintenance specifically? Well, it’s actually quite simple. After you create a page, you will still need to regularly update it to make it even better. And knowing what did or did not work for your users is a good place to start when wondering what you should change.
Know your audience
Some of the most basic information you will get from website analytics tools is about your users. Where are they from? When do they access your website? Are they new or returning visitors? How long do they spend on each page? Which pages do they spend the most time on? Are there any pages that they don’t spend a lot of time on or click away from? You can get this information from just about any of the analytics tools we suggested (in fact, it’s the default page you’ll open with Google Analytics – and for good reason). Knowing the answers to these questions can help you modify your website to better suit the majority of your userbase or identify and fix potential problems with specific pages.
Know where your audience comes from
How do your users find your website? Answering this question will be the key to expanding your userbase. If, for example, you largely rely on Google searches, you may want to improve your rankings on Google. If, on the other hand, most of your users find you through Bing, you may want to focus on improving your rankings there. Or you may adopt the strategy of getting more hits from search engines where your website is not as popular. Either way, web analytics can help you find out how your users discover your website and thus what you need to work on with your next update to reach even more visitors.
Find out how different areas of the website perform
Odds are that some parts of your website will be more interesting to your users than others. This could indicate a problem with some of your pages. Or it could be a clue as to what kind of pages and content your users prefer. Whether you want to work on making every aspect of your website equally engaging or focus more on the things your users like, web analytics tools will help you identify the good, the bad and the ugly and in so doing can help inform your future development.
See the keywords associated with your website
Not all tools will help you figure out which keywords your users searched for when they found your website. But those that do can be immensely helpful in improving your SEO rankings. Make sure your next website update takes into account the keywords most associated with your website and you may just see a higher number of clicks follow!
Use the knowledge you get from website analytics tools to update and improve your website
The point of all website maintenance is to improve said website. In order to make your website more appealing to users, you must first know what does and doesn’t work for them. This is where using website analytics tools to guide website maintenance comes in. Install your preferred tool, gather all the information you can and take a good look at it. What do your users like? Where might you have a problem? Answering these questions can help you decide how you can improve your website in the future!