how to make sense of website analytics

Analytics are great for anyone looking to grow an audience. Knowing where you’re at and if you’re going up or down is very helpful and can help you with your ongoing efforts to propagate your website. You can adjust your content and find new ways to share it to more people.

However, if you’ve only been looking at them for a short time, you may not be able to make sense of all the numbers yet. For all you know, it may all be simply gibberish and gobbledygook.

If you’re finding it hard to read analytics, then here are a few steps to learning how.

Keep Your Goals in Mind

You don’t need to memorize and understand every single metric. That comes with experience as you look at and analyze your analytics more over time. But when you’re just starting out with it with little to no outside help, the best you can do is to simply look at metrics that directly affect your goals.

Learn to know what you’re looking for at each stage of the funnel. At the top of the funnel, you’re looking for traffic from new visitors. At the middle, it’s about lead generation and returning visitors. At the bottom, it’s all about conversions and sales.

The more you look at your analytics over time, the more you learn about the other metrics that affect the primary metrics you focus on for each stage of the funnel. But even as you learn more about then, stay focused on what leads you to your goals.

Find Out What’s Working

Once you’ve figured out what metrics to look at based on your goals, you must then learn what kinds of actions affect those numbers. Watch how your primary metrics go up or down, paying close attention to spikes.

When one of them shows a drastic upward or downward trend in a short period of time, that means something you’ve done recently caused it. You may have posted something that went viral or made a guest post on a reputable blog that brought new visitors to your website that caused an upward spike.

Take note of what causes those upward spikes and build a strategy around those actions and types of content. You can then turn what may seem like a happy accident into a reliable source of traffic, thus maintaining that momentum and taking advantage of what works for you.

On the other hand, a downward spike may happen due to posting content that doesn’t interest your audience or not posting at all for a good while. When it happens, keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world, but you’ll have to work twice as hard to bring those numbers back up.

Use the Numbers to Plan Your Strategy

Now that you’re able to paint the bigger picture for yourself by looking at the numbers, knowing what metrics affect your website’s overall performance, it’s time to use all of that for improvement.

As mentioned, upward trends indicate something being done right, which can then dictate your strategy going forward. On the other hand, downward trends show things you should stop doing. All of this is about understanding your audience and what they’re looking for in a business like yours.

These numbers can tell you what topics, keywords, content formats, and so on resonate with your audience. Focus your strategy on what works best for you, and you can learn what works by looking at your analytics.

Have Realistic Goals

Having a dream is not a bad thing at all. After all, that’s why people go the extra mile to establish businesses and work for themselves as entrepreneurs. It’s the reason why they would build websites to further their business goals. But if you only end up continuing to dream, perhaps it’s because your goals are too far up to reach.

It’s not to say you can’t have lofty goals, like having a million page views per month or such, but you have to see numbers like that as a long-term goal instead of something you have to get right away, even when you don’t have the foundation or resources to get it at the moment.

Having realistic goals that you can reach within a reasonable amount of time lets you maintain your optimism. Each short and mid-term goal reached is a reward for your hard work, which will then motivate you to go for higher goals. Every milestone you achieve is one step closer to that long-term goal.

Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity, and it’s that consistency that will bring you real success. Apply that to your analytics and you will go far.

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