I will readily admit that on the first day of every month, I check over my website statistics for the previous month. I use Google Analytics to look at various aspects on the website and I also look at various statistics on other elements of my author platform too i.e. social media. I do this to see if my site is growing (or not), what pages or posts are viewed the most often by visitors and therefore where I might be able to improve.
However, I do not obsess over the figures, nor do I base my whole strategy around what those figures show. I am still in the early stages of blogging and my author platform is very much still in its infancy. Yes, I do want it to grow but no, I am not going to drive myself mad with the figures.
What Website Statistics Should I Be Analysing?
This can be a “it depends” type answer as the type of website you have and the aims of your individual site can be wildly different to someone else’s. However, I always note down the following statistics and record them on an Excel Spreadsheet so I can compare month on month. Here’s my list:
- Number of users and number of sessions – i.e. how many visitors have looked at my site in the previous month. Sessions include a user looking at several pages in one visit but if that user goes away and comes back it is recorded as a new session.
- Number of pageviews and the number of pages per session – pageviews refer to the number of pages viewed or clicked on during a session. The number of page views per session is an average of the number of overall pageviews divided by the number of sessions that have occurred in that time frame.
- Bounce rate – a bounce is a single-page session. The bounce rate is therefore the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page. You want to be aiming for a website bounce rate of under 40% but a rate of between 40% and 55% is acceptable.
- Traffic referral sources – where did the visitors come from? Did they come direct to your site? Via social media (and if so which)? Was it organic traffic? Was it referral traffic from other sites or from your email? It is helpful to know where most of your site visitors come from so you can tweak your strategy for finding visitors.
- New vs Returning visitors and which device they use – do users return to your site on a regular basis or do you only attract new visitors? Whilst getting new people on your site is always your goal, you do also want to retain the traffic you have already gained? Make sure your content is fresh so returning visitors have plenty to come back for regularly. Also find out which device visitors use most and ensure that your site is responsive and always looks great on all devices. It’s no good having a huge number of mobile visitors if your site is not mobile friendly as those users will soon go and look elsewhere.
- Where are your visitors from? I must admit I tend to use this statistic more for nosiness as it doesn’t matter to me so much where in the world visitors are as my content remains relevant. However, if you are a UK only site for example, you want to ensure that the UK is your main visiting country. If it isn’t, then you need to do some tweaking to ensure that it is.
- Social Traffic – I mentioned this briefly above under “traffic referral sources” but I dig deeper into which social media platforms drive the most traffic to my site. It can help you decide which platforms to focus on and which might need your content strategy tweaking.
What Other Statistics Should I Be Checking?
As well as my website statistics, I also look at my social media statistics but not in any great depth. I don’t over analyse every post or Tweet, although I know some people that do. On the whole I only check the number of followers v number I’m following on all platforms to see if there is growth. I am not overly obsessed with numbers though as I am more focused on engagement.
The number of subscribers on your email list is also a good number to check and compare with previous figures. This is especially important if one of your goals (check out my Goal Setting for 2021 post) is to grow your email list. How will you know if it’s growing it you don’t check the numbers on a regular basis?
For some bloggers your DA score (Domain Authority) is vital especially if you are looking to monetise your blog. If this is one of your goals then keeping an eye on your DA is also an important stat to check, but again you don’t need to obsess over it by checking it every few days (you’ll be surprised that people do). You can check your DA for free on Moz.com by using their link explorer tool.
Finally, I also check my Pinterest stats as that is one of the main sources of referral traffic to my site. Pinterest is a whole blog post of its own but for those who don’t know Pinterest is a visual search engine and not a social media platform as people often mistake it for. Working out what pins work and which don’t can give you valuable insight into your Pinterest strategy so again it’s useful to keep a track of the numbers.
Why Should I Not Obsess About My Website Statistics?
To be honest, Google Analytics is often overkill for the small business owner. It gives us far more information than we probably need and it is really easy to get bogged down in the numbers. This can lead to stress, worry and overthinking and we begin to second guess our strategy.
On the whole, we want to drive traffic to our website for people to either buy something, sign up to something or just to engage with our content and with us as people. Therefore the conversion rate is more important than the number of people who visit etc. At the end of the day, you want people to find your site, buy your product and keep coming back for more. To do that, you need to concentrate on the design and ease of use of your site and the flow of the visitor’s journey on your website.
When you begin to overanalyse numbers you also start to compare yourself to other people. Do not do this! We are all individuals and what we have to offer to the world is also very personal and unique. Concentrate more on what you are putting out into the world as that is the important part. Yes, people need to find you and yes, it’s good to track whether numbers are going up or down significantly and where most of your traffic comes from but there is no need to obsess. Relax and work your own magic.
Do you check your website statistics on a regular basis? And those for your social media platforms and other author platform elements? Do you obsess over them or do you use them just for interest and for making small tweaks? Let me know in the comments below how you use your own analytics.