I’ve always been a stat junky.
I love checking my RSS feed subscriber numbers, my AWeber subscriber stats, Google Analytics account, etc. multiple times per day.
I’ll admit, I might need therapy. 🙂
However, if you really take some time analyze your traffic stats and even stats from other sites (I’ll explain that part in a bit), it can really help you improve your site and increase your traffic.
Here are some ideas…
Bounce Rates from Referring Sites
If you don’t have a Google Analytics account by now, I’d sure like to know why.
It’s the most comprehensive stat package you can get for free, and the information it provides is incredibly useful.
One report I like to keep an eye on is the Bounce Rate for Referring Sites.
By Google’s definition, a Bounce Rate is the percentage of people who left your site after viewing a single page (i.e. the page they entered on.)
So this is a percentage you want to keep low. If your Bounce Rate is 90% that means 90% of the people who entered your site, left after only viewing the page they entered on. You can view your Bounce Rate for your entire site or break it down by page.
Google also lets you take it a step further by viewing your Bounce Rate based on referring sites. For example, I discovered that traffic from EzineArticles.com returns the lowest bounce rate.
So it definitely makes sense why visitors coming from there would be more inclined to stay on my site longer. Nevertheless, it’s still useful info.
Now, I’ll admit. Article marketing is nowhere as useful as it once was. A couple of years ago it was the thing to do because it helped you gain backlinks. But you may have heard Google and other engines are devaluing such links.
So while I don’t expect any backlink miracles from using EzineArticles.com, I do appreciate the fact that people who find my sites from this source tend to stick around longer than some of my other referring sites.
Not to mention, the traffic I receive from older articles is still quite impressive.
I haven’t been writing as much for EzineArticles.com as of late, but after discovering this little traffic fact, I may have to start sending more content their way very soon.
Have you checked your Bounce Rate from referring sites? Google makes it easy because you can sort from lowest to highest and vice versa.
What sites send you the stickiest traffic? How can you increase your exposure there to boost your traffic?
Most Popular Pages
Check your stats and see what pages or blog posts are visited the most. How can you leverage that and generate more traffic to other parts of your site that may be less trafficked?
Say you have a site on skin care, and your most heavily trafficked page is one that shows people how to control acne. In that article, you discuss the benefits of using a particular mask.
A few months later you decide to create a new page all about different kinds of masks. Since this page is brand new, it won’t get much search engine traffic for a while. So why not link that page from the popular acne article to help funnel traffic to this new page?
As your site matures, it can be tempting to just add new content to your sitemap, left navigation and be done with it. But it’s important to continually look for new ways to interlink your content. I set aside time to do this once a month.
The “Time on Page” Stat
This is another statistic you can get from Google Analytics (Under the “Content” section). Sort your reports by the “Time on Page” stat and see if you notice any patterns.
If your longer pages tend to have lower times then that could indicate you need to break up your content better. Perhaps people are getting lost and drowning in a sea of text.
One thing I have to do on 2CreateAWebSite.com is condense a lot of my longer articles. I’ve been doing that for some pages and tracking the results by monitoring their individual “Time on Page” stats.
I’ve noticed many of these pages I’ve updated are now showing that people are staying on them a lot longer and my overall site’s Bounce Rate is improving.
Too much content with not enough breaks can make reading tedious and overwhelming. Make frequent use of sub-titles, break up your paragraphs often, use images and start incorporating visuals such as charts, video, etc.
You’ll be amazed at the results.
Search Engine Keyword Traffic
I touched on this in my post 5 Easy Traffic Building Tips, but it’s worth mentioning again.
Pay close attention to the keywords people are finding you for. Not so much for the keywords that bring you the most traffic, but the keywords that bring you the least amount of traffic.
That’s right, the least.
Have you ever checked your stats and noticed certain articles on your site get found for keywords you weren’t necessarily targeting? Maybe you rank #12 for “popular puppy toys” in an article you wrote about house training a dog.
Just think… if you can rank #12 with a keyword phrase you weren’t trying to target, imagine if you wrote an entire article that focused on popular puppy toys. Perhaps you can grab one of the top spots for this phrase and rake in even more traffic!
If you can do this for 15, 30, or even 50+ keyword phrases, imagine how this could impact your traffic over time.
Sure, you may not be able to gain a top rank like this for every keyword phrase, but I’m sure it will make a difference. Not to mention, adding more useful content to your site is always a good thing, right?
Digg and Other Social Bookmarking Sites
I like to spend time on Digg.com looking at the most popular articles related to my niche. Sometimes you can get ideas for what to write about and see what’s hot.
All you do is search their site for whatever keyword you’re interested in and Digg will return the articles with the most “Diggs”. Or you can search by category and get the same kind of results.
Not only can you get ideas for content, but you can also learn a lot about writing. Don’t just look at the content of the article, but look at the headline itself.
Is it catchy? Funny? Does it create controversy? What tips can you take from the author and apply it to your writing style?
Now, let’s face it. A lot of the articles become popular in Digg because the authors themselves are popular and have a large traffic base.
So I’m not implying you can just write a similar article and easily get as much traffic. But it’s still a good tool to use to get ideas.
I’ve been lucky enough to appear on this homepage a few times and got a decent amount of traffic from it. (Don’t let the site’s PR3 scare ya away.)
I’ve used this site from time to time to get ideas for what’s hot in my niche and tips for writing good headlines.
You can utilize the above tips with any social networking/bookmarking site. Pay close attention to the articles getting all the publicity and see how you can apply these principles to your own content.
So there you have it. Hopefully you can see how useful statistics can be. Rather than just checking the most common stats (total page views, top referring sites, etc.), dig deep and see how can use these numbers to improve your traffic and overall visitor experience.
By all means, sign up with Google Analytics and take advantage of this thorough stat package that won’t cost you a thing… Well except the time you’ll spend gawking at the reports and absorbing all the numerous statistics they report to you. 🙂
Some of you spend months searching high and low for sites and techniques to help boost your traffic. Yet in many cases, the most effective tips are often closer than you think.