So, you’ve been able build your own website. Or you decided to have a professional web designer build your website.
And now you may be wondering…what next?
How about website traffic tracking and analytics?
All EarthLink web hosting & ecommerce hosting plans come with integrated Urchin web analytics.
Of course, if your site is brand new, don’t expect there to be much (or any) traffic to track, but it’s a good idea as soon as possible to take a look at your baseline numbers so you can measure your website traffic growth and monitor which marketing efforts are working and which ones aren’t.
To get started, simply log into your EarthLink Control Panel at cc.earthlink.net. Once you are logged in, click on the Manage Site tab, and then click the Urchin icon (shown on the left).
This takes you to the Urchin login screen, which lists your domain names (called profile names). Click on the domain link for the website you want to work on.
Your default view will be the Advertiser dashboard. You can switch to other dashboard views with the drop-down menu.
- The Advertiser dashboard view gives you a Marketing Summary snapshot of your traffic (visits) from your Top 5 Sources (e.g., direct, other websites, search engines), Top 5 Keywords, and Top 5 Campaigns (Campaigns may be the same as Sources for you until you start running campaigns). Use the calendars at the lower left to compare visits over two time periods.
- The Executive dashboard view shows you a Content Summary of the most popular entrance and exit points on your website and which content is most popular. Click Geo Map Overlay to see where, worldwide, your traffic is coming from.
- On the Marketer dashboard view, pay close attention to the Entrance Bounce Rates. There you’ll see the pages on your website that people entered (it won’t always be your homepage) and what the bounce rates for those pages are. Bounce rate is the % of people who landed on one of your pages and then exited the site without doing anything else. A high bounce rate is often, though not always, a sign that the page isn’t offering the content your visitors want or expect. Of course, if you have a one-page website you’ll always have a 100% bounce rate, so you would disregard that.
- Click on the Webmaster dashboard view to get stats on the kinds of web browsers your visitors are using, what platforms they are on, and what connection speeds they are using. This information may be helpful when making some content optimization decisions.
There are dozens of available website traffic reports (too many to detail here) organized into four main categories: Advertising Optimization, Marketing Optimization, Content Optimization, and IT Reports.
I’ll give a brief overview of the types of website reports offered in each area. But I encourage you to click through all of them yourself to see what would be helpful to know about your website. Tip: on any report you don’t fully understand, scroll to the bottom of the page and look for Help Information.
- Advertising Optimization is where you can monitor results of Google Adwords campaigns (with either a campaign view or keyword view), compare CPC vs. organic keyword conversion, and monitor the conversion rates of website traffic coming from various sources (requires setting up conversion parameters).
- Marketing Optimization should give you some good insights on your website traffic right away. Under Unique Visitor Tracking, click the Visits & Pageview Tracking link to see charts showing Visits by day, Pageviews, and Average Pageviews per visit over the date range you specify. Under Visitor Segment Performance, click Referring Source to get more details on which website, search engines, and other sources your visitors are coming from.
- Content Optimization gives you a good overview of how people are using your site. Click Top Content to see the most popular pages on your website. Depth of Visit shows you a graph with the number of people who viewed 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. pages on your website. Click Engagement Metrics for graphs showing the percentages of visitors who spend various amounts of time on your site, as well as time on your site broken down by date.
- IT Reports may be a bit too geeky for some, but you can use this section to find reports on browsers & platforms, robots (to see which search engines have crawled your site), domains, top files and downloads. One important thing to check here is the Referral Errors link. You want to make sure if there are many 404 errors, you figure out what’s broken on your site or why people are looking for content in the wrong place on your site (maybe you misprinted a URL in some marketing?).