A website is a crucial asset to any business, but why shoot in the dark when it comes to optimising and improving things when you don’t have to. There’s no end of website analytics that can give you great insight into how your website is performing and they can give you tangible data to build upon and benchmark against your competitors. In this post we’re going to breakdown the basic web analytics you can use on your site to monitor and boost its performance; what’s more, most of these are completely free to use, just take a little bit of skill to understand and interpret into business decisions.
Let’s kick off with some general all-round tools that can tell you a few things.
Google Search Console
If you want to manage your website and it’s appearance on Google Search, then this is a must-have. Once you have verified and linked your website with Google Search Console (We recommend you verify using Google Analytics) you can then manage your indexation on Google; scrolling through the tabs, you can see data on what visitors have searched to find your website, what websites link to you, and see any errors that Google might’ve encountered while crawling your website.
This gives more in-depth analysis than the Search Console tool, so be aware there’s slightly more jargon involved – but you can use our handy digital marketing glossary to find out what they mean!
Google Analytics gives huge amounts of information, and it can be hard to find what matters and what doesn’t, but if you are less technical, then using the search box at the top will help you find data to questions like “how many users in the last 7 days?” or “how long do users stay on my site for?”.
For most businesses practicing in-house, they probably won’t go any further than these 2 web analytic tools. However, if you are wanting to expand your online presence then try some of the following tools.
For managing your business’s online listings on directories like Yell, Yelp, Foursquare, etc. Moz Local provides a simple service. By entering your business name, your address, and other contact details, Moz will search the major citation and directory websites for your business listing and return quick results on whether they’ve found your listing or not. This makes managing your broader online presence much easier to manage.
Serprobot is a rank tracker and monitoring tool that will keep track of your keywords and where you appear on Google and Bing. Its fairly intuitive design makes it easy to set up for anyone but you will need to input your keywords to track. We recommend this tracker as you have more options to track search rankings based on location, country, and also benchmark against your competitors positioning.
Hotjar lets you visualise how users interact with your site. It uses interactive heatmaps to show users’ clicks and actions, recordings of their browsing sessions, and can compile their words from any survey and feedback polls. This data will help you get a clear idea of what people are using your site for, and how they’re using it.
The free version works well and allows for up to 100 recordings before it needs resetting – so is reusable essentially – though you’ll be missing out on a few features of the paid version. A really great visualisation tool to really see what users are doing.
You can also see any ‘snag’ points on your site that are causing users to leave prematurely.
More and more people want detailed reports about how their site’s doing. GTmetrix is a free tool that analyses your page’s speed performance with tests from Google Page Speed and YSlow, generating scores for your pages and offering recommendations on how to fix any issues it finds.
You get two separate grades for each test. If the YSlow score is lower, it most likely means that your YSlow system isn’t set up properly as they can’t always find your CDN – that’s if you use a CDN. On the other hand with Google, it automatically detects the CDN most times.
In the report breakdown, it will show all the things you need to work on by order of priority.
The best part about this breakdown is the straightforward solutions it gives you, for ‘Optimising Images’ you click the tab and it tells you exactly which image needs to be optimised, and how much you can reduce the size. On top of that, it also allows you to get a preview of the optimised image. GTMetrix is doing the heavy-lifting, you just have to right click on the optimised image, and save it.
Bing webmaster tools
Bing Webmaster Tools is a free service that’s part of bing (obviously) and helps you better manage your site on Bing. There’s some features on here that Google Search Console doesn’t have so it can help you out a little bit more, though the interface does look a bit dated.
Bing’s dashboard gives you more information than Google’s and (in my opinion) is more aesthetically pleasing.
Like the Search Console, you can quickly get an overview of how many clicks you’ve received from search, your crawl errors and sitemaps indexed. However, Bing goes a step further and provides you with an overview of pages crawled, pages indexed, search keywords AND inbound links.
Ubersuggest can make your keyword search easier. Created by Neil Patel a well-known expert in SEO and website analytics, this tool offers a free service that shows how the keywords of your interest are being explored and suggest other words that can contribute to the construction of your content.
In the information provided in Ubersuggest, you will know the amount of research and evolution during the last year of your keyword, the level of difficulty it presents for an SEO strategy and how it all ties into your website.
Web forms are an integral part of using the web and monitoring website conversions. Often enough, this is a primary contact point for visitors to request, enquire, or book your services so monitoring them is absolutely necessary.
Formisimo provides users with actionable data about why people fail to complete web forms. The software analyses real-time data from your site and compiles intuitive reports according to analysis of your forms against 54 individual metrics. This level of insight can tell you which parts of your forms are deterring prospects from converting, among many other things.