Know your Website Analytics; Have Active Website Visitors Who Keep Coming Back.


As an Australian who has lived overseas and has relatives and friends in a lot places, I get a lot of visitors.  Sound familiar?

People stop by and hang out. Sometimes they stay for a while.  Particularly the visitors that travel from Europe or the UK, who feel they should stay for a long time to make it worth the 20+ hour flight.  The good visitors don’t just sit around doing nothing, they are active and help you when needed.

A high performing website has similar characteristics; a lot of visitors who are active, who stay for a long time and visit regularly.

I recently discussed why you need website monitoring tool. Once you have the monitoring tool up and running, you suddenly have access to a lot of data about how your website is performing.

In this post I’ll explain Bounce Rate, the difference between Visits and Visitors and the importance of keeping your visitors active.

Go to your Analytics account. Click “View Reports” in the middle of the screen and you’ll see a dashboard that looks like the image.

Google will automatically show statistics for the previous month. If you want to review a different date range, you can click on the downward arrow next to the date and select any date range that you like.

Google Analytics Dashboard
Google Analytics Dashboard

Unique visitors: This is the total number of individuals who visited your website during the time period.  Each person is only counted once.

Total Visitors: This is the total number of times your website was visited. This includes people who visited multiple times.

Average Time on Site: This shows how long your visitors stayed for. The longer the better.  If you have  blog, hopefully people stay long enough to read and article or two.

Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of visitors who left your website without clicking on anything to visit other pages. For bounce rates, the lower the better. Note though that if you regularly publish articles on your website (like a blog) people often read and leave, that’s why Average Time on Site should be analysed in conjunction with bounce rate.  Read more about why a low bounce rate means your website is great.

How do you know if your visitor numbers are good or bad?

This is a question I get asked a lot.  Google Analytics does offer access to benchmarking information if you opt in to participate but this can be misleading as each website is different. Visitor numbers depend upon your industry, your target audience, where you are located, how well your brand is known, how many pages your website has, the level of activity in your online marketing program and other factors.  If your product or service is seasonal, traffic can also vary a lot from month to month.

Instead of rating yourself against other websites, once you start tracking data, use the first month as a benchmark. Keep a track of your total visitors, unique visitors, bounce rate and average time on the site.  Over time, aim to continually improve your website and online marketing to increase both your unique and total visits, decrease your bounce rate and increase average time on site.

Why do visitors need to be active?

Visitor numbers is one of the website statistics you can measure, but what your visitors do on your website is equally, if not more, important.

You might have loads of visitors, but if they bounce away without doing anything the real value of having them in the first place is reduced.  What you want is for your visitors to take an action, like signing up for your e-newsletter, downloading an ebook, making an online purchase or contacting you.  People who take an action are called conversions.

If you have a high number of conversions from a low number of visitors, this is far more valuable to you than having low conversions from a high number of visitors.  For example, if you have 10 visitors and 50% of them make a purchase, you’ve made 5 sales.  Whereas if you have 100 visitors and a 1% conversion rate, you’ve made only 1 sale.

Your website’s design, ease of usability and web copy all contribute to how well it converts.