April 16, 2019

How to Monitor your Website’s traffic: Analytics explained


Analytics are tools that you can use to monitor your website’s traffic. They’ve become quite popular the last couple of years, as people see a lot of benefit in using them.

By using analytics, you are able to gain feedback over the effectiveness of your website. You can know metrics like:

  • How many people are visiting your website over a specified time frame
  • Which country these people are from
  • How they found your website (e.g. through Google search)
  • What pages of your website they visited

The most commonly used analytics tool is the one that Google offers, and it’s called Google Analytics. In this article I’ll show you how to use this tool plus another one called Hotjar.

How to add Google Analytics into your website

In order to start using Google Analytics go to analytics.google.com and sign up for free using your Google account.

Fill in all the details required and after you do that you’ll be provided with a tracking code which you need to insert to your website.

If you are using a website builder like WordPress, then inserting this code into your website is quite straightforward.

Just search on Google for How to insert Google Analytics’ tracking code to my WordPress (or Wix or any other platform) website.

If a web developer has built your website and you’re not using a website builder, then this developer should be able to help you.

How to monitor your website’s traffic

Once you successfully integrate your website with Google Analytics, you’ll be presented with the following dashboard:

A screenshot of the Google Analytics homepage

The Google Analytics Home Dashboard

In this dashboard there are 4 main categories of metrics:

  1. Real time data
  2. Audience data
  3. Acquisition data
  4. Behavior data

Let’s look at them one by one…

Real time data show you information about what is happening at your website right now in real time. So, you can see how many people are browsing your website, which country they are located at and which page from your website they are looking at.

A screenshot of the real time google analytics dashboard

Real-time data on Google Analytics

Audience data show all the metrics available in the real time data plus some more over a specified period of time.

So, besides the number of your website’s visitors and their country you can also see the rate of new vs returning (i.e. people who have visited your website more than once) visitors you get.

A screenshot of the audience dashboard of Google Analytics

Audience data on Google Analytics

Acquisition data show you how people found your website. So, you can see how many people found your website through:

  • Social media like Facebook or Instagram
  • Clicking your website’s link from an email you sent them
  • Directly putting your website’s link into their browser’s address bar
  • Searching on Google and finding your website in their results
  • A referral from another website
A screenshot of the acquisition dashboard of Google Analytics

Acquisition data on Google Analytics

Behavior data show you what pages are most visited from your website and for how long on average people are looking at your website’s pages.

A screenshot of the behavior dashboard of Google Analytics

Behavior data on Google Analytics

Why you should care about analytics data

No matter how much effort you’ve put into building a website that you think looks perfect, you won’t get real feedback unless you know what your audience thinks about your website.

And the only way to know is by looking at real metrics.

But isn’t there way to see exactly what my website’s visitors are doing when they’re browsing my website?

Yes, there is! Let me talk to you about Hotjar.

Hotjar Analytics

Hotjar is another analytics tool that shows you recordings of your website’s visitors’ sessions. So, you actually get to see a video recording that shows you what buttons people are clicking, and which pages they are looking at.

Why is this important?

2 reasons:

  1. You get to notice some patterns among different people. For example, if you observe that most people leave your website after they visit a specific page, this means that you may have to work on this page a little bit to make it more appealing.
  2. You are able to see how your website looks on different devices like tablets or mobiles phones of various sizes. So, if you notice that some text is not fully visible when someone access your website via their iPhone X, you can fix this and have a fully mobile responsive website.

Is creeping on people compliant to GDPR?

In order to remain GDPR compliant while using these 2 tools you need to mention in your privacy policy page that you’re using them and you must give your website's visitors the option to opt out from being tracked.

Alternatively, a cookies bar could be used to achieve the same thing.

Should I really bother using analytics?

Once again, analytics are very important. You may have the fastest, coolest and most beautiful website in the world, but that may be your own opinion.

What matter is whether people who visit your website share the same belief with you. If they don’t, you can learn that via analytics and fix things fast.

Are you using analytics to monitor your website? Do you find it useful? Let me know by dropping a comment below.

Until next time.

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About the author 

Manos Syngarefs

I am a child of God, that loves gardening, growing my own food and trying to live as natural a life as possible. When I feel like I have something to say then I will write an article. I hope you enjoyed this one :)

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