There are certainly stages when it comes to building a successful website. Whether it’s an ecommerce site or a landing page for the promotion of your personal brand, an effective strategy often looks the same. A professional appearance with valuable, specific content is always the first recommendation. Luckily, WordPress takes a lot of the guess work out of that process thanks to the ease and variety of themes available. Let’s say, though, that you feel like business has plateaued. You’re still getting positive results but the needle isn’t moving in the direction you would like. You’re confident in your content so you’re not entirely sure what could be going on.
Have You Checked Your Visitor Data Lately?
If you haven’t, let this be a reminder that it’s critical to do so. While conversions are usually at the forefront of a business owner’s concerns, it’s user behavior that could provide some actionable guidance. The story isn’t just in the sales. Getting a glimpse at who is visiting your site, from where, and how they’re navigating your site can give you the answers you’re looking for when it comes to increasing sales. Take, for example, the realization that a high percentage of visitors are leaving your site during the checkout process. With that knowledge, you could make the decision to simplify your shopping cart and develop a one-page solution. This has a proven track record of success. It’s these kinds of solutions that taking an analytical approach can bring.
Google is Your Friend
If you’ve never seriously taken a dive into your site’s visitor data, it can seem daunting. While we’ll get to plugins and such that will help you conduct your research, nearly everyone can agree the place to begin is with Google Analytics. While there is a bit of a learning curve involved when becoming acquainted with Google Analytics, the most useful features aren’t terribly complicated to get a hang of. Your basic WordPress dashboard will show how many visitors came to your site on what days and a few other basic things, but Google Analytics provides you with the answers to so many more queries. Nearly any combination of queries can be formed. If you want to see how many visitors made it to your site last week from that blog post you wrote for Medium, you can find that. Looking to expand in Asia? Funnel your data down to visitors from that region of the world. You can even make more informed decisions about where to put more of your resources. Based upon visitor habits, maybe that Facebook ad campaign you’ve been debating launching would be best focused in western Europe where you’re seeing more engagement. In the long run, having access to all this information can actually save you money. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without Google Analytics.
Expand Your Toolset
Now that you’re comfortable searching around in Google Analytics, you may want to dive into some other useful tools. Jetpack, which has been recommended before for its wide variety of features, offers some great data aggregation. You’ll also have the added benefit of regulating spam, avoiding malicious code, and better social integration which opens up more data aggregation channels.
W3 Counter is a free statistics plugin which might be a good tool to start with. However, the “free” part may be why you find it limiting. Nonetheless, it can provide some useful insights such as page views categorized by time, top countries and top languages, IP addresses/browser/OS information for visitors, and what search terms are leading visitors to your site. You can also check bounce rate, which is the percentage of visitors that leave your site shortly after arriving.
WP Power Stats has many similar features to other stats plugins including visitor devices, reference sites, browser/OS, country of origin and more. What sets it apart is it is lightweight so it won’t bog down your site and there is an emphasis on privacy. Any data collected by WP Power Stats will only be kept in your host and can’t be accessed by third parties without your permission.
Act on Your Findings
With all these tools at your disposal you’ll be able to make more informed decisions. Be sure to work with your web hosting company to discuss scaling solutions. You may see an increased need for bandwidth as you add more trackers and see more visitors. Hey, needing more horsepower to ensure all your new visitors have a smooth experience isn’t a bad problem to have! You may be surprised by the information now at your fingertips. You never know when a new market for you to move into will present itself.