The Top 3 Analytics Metrics
Hey, good news Squarespace users! The platform's built-in analytics section gives you excellent insight into how your website is working for you and your business.
If you're not a Squarespace user, don't fret. It's likely that you have access to another form of standard analytics, and the advice here still applies - you may just need to look in a different place. And no matter what you have, I highly recommend installing Google Analytics on any website. But more on that in another post.
Before we dig in, I want to clarify that I don't recommend most solo business owners look at analytics too frequently. Getting too obsessed with the numbers can become a distraction from what really matters (sharing your gifts). But! When you do look at your metrics, you will want to keep it focused to what is most useful.
The goal is always to track trends rather than meet certain volume goals. Trends and changes over time can tell you how well things are doing compared to what you had going on before. While I'm not a fan of over analysis and creating content for the sake of gaining numbers, I am a fan of being informed and putting a strategic spin on inspiration and creativity.
So without further ado... your Top Three Metrics!
1. Unique VISITORS v. visits
The first metric you can find right on your Traffic Overview screen.
Unique Visitors is the count of individual people who have been to your website in the given time period.
Visits tracks the total number of times your website was visited.
So what's the difference? Let's look an example.
If 257 people came to your website, and you had 359 visits, that means 102 people came back more than once. It could also mean that you had 50 people come back a few times. Is your head spinning yet?
As I mentioned above, the key here is not to simply know the number or try to hit some magical ratio. The objective is to know where you stand so you can track changes in the future.
In this example, unique visitors make up about 71% of overall visits. Not bad, not good. Doesn't matter. What matters is now you know your average makeup.
Now let's say you share a new blog post on Facebook. A month later, your metrics look like this:
Great! Your traffic is up! But how do you know if all of these new visitors are one hit wonders or return visitors? Yes, the difference between the metrics tells you that, but even more importantly, the percent of visitors is now 84% uniques. That's a whole lot more people coming for that content!
An increase in the overall makeup of unique visitors tells you that it's likely your Facebook post is driving new visitors who are coming just for that post. Again, not good or bad, but definitely insightful. Based on your business model and your business goals, you can make some smart content choices in the future.
Also on your Traffic Overview tab is the Visitors by Device Type metric. This pie chart is a key piece of information to help give you additional insight into just who is coming to your site, and the context around their experience.
In this example, 70% of all of the website visits are coming from desktop computers. In the general world of websites, this is a fairly large percentage. One thing it tells us it that the people coming to the website are likely in some type of "work mode" when checking out the content. A high mobile percentage, however, would indicate the visitor is in more of a casual or on-the-go mode.
How does that help? Think about what kind of content you're sharing, and even more importantly, how you are asking your visitors to engage. Does your website have a super long or complex form? Not a great idea for a high mobile traffic percentage! Trying to get people to download a file? Also not ideal for mobile users. Checking out your device type can be a super informative nugget of info when making your next move.
3. Traffic Sources
Although available in the Traffic Overview, this metric is a whole lot sweeter when you check it out in its own section. Clicking over to the Traffic Sources tab will summarize your traffic by how users got to your site, and allows you to dig deeper as you'd like to. Let's check out another example.
First here we have a look at all of the site's traffic. You can see by the numbers that the majority of the traffic is coming from people going directly to the site. This means people either had a link, typed it in, or had it bookmarked, etc. The other half or so is broken up between people who came in via social media, search, or referrals (links to the website on other sites).
In the second table we're looking at mobile traffic only. This filter is one reason why this section is super handy! When looking at mobile only, social rises to the top as the highest source of traffic. This is a huge indicator that the content being shared on social media sites is being consumed mainly on mobile devices. It's an important thing to think about when deciding what to share on social, and how your content is being consumed. And that's just one example!
Well there you have it, folks! Your Top Three Metrics are pretty straightforward to find. Understanding their context and how it plays in to your audience is really the key to making the numbers work for you.