Website Analytics vs. Site Reports/Stats: Analytics can help you increase business from your web site

When we ask our prospective clients if they have web analytics running, many say they do. Usually they don’t. What they have (and what they think is site analytics) is a web site reporting system.

Many web site owners have heard the term “analytics” and mistakenly believe that the site stats they have seen running on their website is analytics. They are unaware of how strong a tool site analytics is for online marketing and improving conversion rates.

In this article I’ll demonstrate some key differences between site analytics and site reports and point out how analytics can help not only measure marketing results but help site owners increase business from their web sites.


Site Reports

Most web sites have some level of site reports running. It’s these site reports that most web site owners are familiar with.

Site reports, the good ones like Awstats, do show you very useful information such as:

  • the numbers of unique visitors to the site each period.
  • traffic from referral sites.
  • the numbers of people reaching the site after searching on specific keyword phrases.


Site Analytics – Analyze visitor behavior by traffic segment

Site analytics let you analyze visitor behavior by traffic segment (by referral sites such as online yellow pages, directories, resource listings, vendor sites, as well as email campaigns, and traffic by keyword etc).


Example 1 – Purchases by keyword



This is an example from a ClickTracks demonstration site. It’s an ecommerce site that sells fruits online, Bob’s Fruitsite.

The analytics system has been set up to break out the search traffic to the site by keyword from Paid-per-Click (PPC) search results (such as Google Adwords) and traffic from organic search results (The Regular Search row) as well as how many of these site visitors go on to complete a purchase – again by keyword.

Look at the last keyword phrase, “Fruit baskets”. 156 people reached the site from PPC search results in the period (In this case they all came from Google). 14 of these people when on to make a purchase. – That’s a healthy 9% conversion rate.

Notice there was no traffic from organic search results for the “Fruit baskets” phrase. The owners of this site, if it were a real business, would be smart to determine what they need to do to improve organic search results for the “fruit basket” phrase since it’s doing very well in their PPC campaign.


Side Bar: Durians – People eat these things?
Didn’t we see these in Body Snatchers!

Example 2 – Page Analysis:
Improve conversion rates and increase business


 Page by Page Analysis:
Follow visitors through the site by keyword etc 

This slide is a little busy, but basically it shows the numbers of visitors clicking on the various links on a web page and where visitors go next.

With site analytics you can follow visitors who searched on a particular keyword, for example, determine what page(s) most of them landed on first to enter the site (the landing page) and follow them page by page through the paths they take. You can see where they exit the site and you can see how many and what percentages of these visitors take important actions such as filling out a form, purchasing something, viewing important pages or files etc.

Using this data you can test changes such as variations of headlines, other messages, various images, add links to help move people along, etc and see the results of the changes.

By testing modifications you can systematically improve the percentages of visitors who more from page to page to the various Conversions Points on a site (such as to form submissions, purchases, signups, etc.).

With site analytics you can improve the conversion rates on a web site leading to increased business.


For More Information 

Get Rich Quick with PPC! Sorry, PPC Success Takes Time Too.
A Case study using PPC and analytics to systematically improve conversion rates by 300-400% for client’s web site.

10 Cool Things We Can Do with Click Tracks – Web Analytics

7 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Site Analytics

Using Analytics to Discover What Referring Sites Are Converting