You have a web site. You have web site visitors. You even have web site sales. Everything seems to be working: why should you go through the effort to track and analyze your web site traffic?
The fact is, the importance of tracking your site traffic is not stressed nearly enough. At most, people say, "Sure, I track my site traffic. We had 5,000 hits last month!" But that, quite frankly, isn't "tracking your site traffic." That is a simple datum, and it doesn't tell you anything about your site or your site traffic.
The importance of tracking your site traffic lies in the fact that proper web traffic analytics will help you answer these key questions:
Am I reaching my target market?
If you went about developing your web site systematically, you probably spent time researching and defining your target market. You then designed your site to reach those specific people.
But all your research was still - at its base - a hypothesis. You made assumptions about how to reach your customer base. Tracking your site traffic will verify what is actually happening on your site (who is coming and what they are doing), compared to what you expected to happen.
How are people interacting with my site?
Sure, people are coming to your web site. But what are they doing there? Do they hit the home page and leave? Do they go immediately to your free section and never browse your sale items? Do 90% of the people who click on your online payment form subsequently abandon it?
Tracking your site traffic will allow you to see how people proceed through your site, where they spend their time, what they do, and any problems they may be encountering. And that information can help you significantly improve their user experience - and your sales.
Where is my site traffic coming from?
To drive traffic to your site, you are likely engaged in multiple marketing efforts. You may have search engine optimized your content, engaged in article marketing, and developed reciprocal links from key partners. You may be involved in a pay-per-click campaign. Perhaps you also explored email marketing or print advertising.
Web traffic analytics will tell you exactly how successful each and every one of those marketing efforts is. You will then be able to cut the fat from your marketing plan and focus on the most strategic and productive campaigns.
What trends do I see?
The web is a constantly changing place. What worked last year may not work this year. You can't rely on the mantra "we've always done it this way" and expect to see consistently positive results for years on end.
By tracking your site traffic, you will be able to see trends as they unfold: trends in who is coming to your site, how they are interacting with it, what they want, how they buy, etc. You will be able to respond proactively to changing patterns, rather than reactively scrambling to fix a situation after it has become a major problem.
If you are serious about using your web site as a tool for business, tracking your site traffic is an absolute essential. The questions above just scratch the surface of what web traffic analytics can do for you. But the bottom line is this: tracking your site traffic provides you with quantifiable data to allow you to make wise decisions for your business.
About the Author: Julie Friedman Bacchini is President of Neptune Moon Design (http://www.NeptuneMoon.com), a full-service agency providing businesses and non-profit organizations with custom web designs, web site marketing plans, and strategic search engine optimization (SEO), all designed to build brand recognition, increase site traffic, and generate leads, clients, and revenue. Be sure to visit NeptuneMoon.com to read additional articles that will help you reach your business goals!