Beginners Guide to Website Analytics
Websites are great tools for nonprofits to share their mission and work. They are unique from print communications in that the content can easily change to accommodate timely information or updated material. Website analytics can help nonprofits determine what content on the website is most viewed by web users and several other statistics regarding visitors to the organization’s site.
Website Analytics Tools and Software
Google Analytics is the most common web analytics software available to organizations. It is free to use and fairly robust. Google Analytics allows users to track the number of page views, demographics, time spent on each page and more. In general, it will give you information about who is visiting the website, what they are looking at and how they are getting to the website. The product helps to measure return on investment, monitor trends and create reports to share within the organization. Simply create an account with Google Analytics, grab the HTML code and add it to the pages within the website that will be analyzed.
Yahoo! has also created a web analytics platform. While not as popular as Google Analytics, it offers similar features and is also free.
Several powerful analytics packages are also available for nonprofit staff with various levels of technical expertise. Some include webtrends and Omniture. Prices vary per package.
There are several important metrics and figures that nonprofits can keep in mind when selecting analytics packages and analyzing data. The following has been modified from A Few Good Web Analytics Tools by TechSoup.org.
Number of hits measures the number of requests for text, images and files that the web sever receives for a page. Generally this metric does not help organizations understand what its audience is doing on their website.
Number of visitors to a page or site is one of the most useful metrics. It can show your sites popularity when tracked over time. Nonprofits can determine which pages of the website are most useful to their audience by comparing the number of visitors between pages.
Unique visitors refer to the number of site visits by difference users. For example, if three people visit the site two times, there is six total visits and three unique users.
Number of page views is the number of pages in a site a visitor views and can be divided to measure the number of pages one visitor viewed while at the site.
Top entry and exit pages are the pages where most people entered and left the site.
Referrers are the external links that people use to get to the organization’s website.
Search keywords are the terms your audience is typing in to find a page on the organization’s website.
Visitor information can be helpful in determining who visits the site, where they are from and more.
Conversion tracks the number of people who went from start to finish in a series of pages within the website, such as looking up membership information to filling out the form to become a member.