What it is: Where do your customers really come from? Your analytics will let you know the points of origin for every visitor, whether they are local, regional, statewide, or national. Yes, the data will tell you where they’re sitting while they’re clicking.
The bottom line: Based on your business objectives, you can make modifications to your marketing so your site is in line with attracting people from the right place. You might discover, for instance, that the majority of your traffic comes from outside your town or even your state, even though your business focus hones in on the local market. The important item to note here is that you can modify your content, keywords, and SEO so that you get the traffic from those who you hope to serve.
What it is: Searches will tell you what keywords individuals entered to arrive at your site. This is a goldmine. There are people who spend thousands of dollars to know what keywords print buyers use when searching for a website. If they looked at their analytics, they could save a lot of time and money. By the way, we've found in our research that the top three searches are a company's name, a variant of the company's name, and another variant of a company’s name.
The bottom line: Continue to build your brand and company name recognition so that you’re the first name a print-buyer—one you’ve never met, who is sitting at her desk wondering where to print her next big campaign—will be thinking of your company, not someone else’s. Second, maximize usage of the keywords (use your analytics to determine these keywords) that are getting people to your site. Third, consider the keywords that people are not using and minimize those words in your content. Your gut may tell you that future customers will type “digital printing” into the search field, yet if that word is not showing up in your keywords on your analytics, then you should trust that the data doesn’t lie.
What it is: Content information tells you where on your website your visitors spend the most time. You just might be surprised where visitors enjoy hanging out. Are they hanging out on your file transfer page, do they spend time perusing the listing of products and services, or are they just checking out pictures of your staff?
The bottom line: If you know where people spend the most time, you can capitalize on this by promoting other services you provide. Anticipate customers’ needs, so that the services you choose to promote go hand in hand with the services they spend the most time on. If you are using landing pages to promote certain products or to target vertical markets, you'll know the extent that they are working for you. Think of your content data as measuring the size of a captive audience standing before a huge billboard.
What it is: So where do those crazy and not so crazy customers come from? Traffic sources let you know whether a customer searched for you, entered your domain directly in the Web browser, or clicked on a link from another site. If you've put a lot into optimizing your site for search engines, the traffic source will let you know how effective your efforts have been. In short, the more you know about where your visitors are coming from the more you know about your visitors.
The bottom line: Know your audience. If you discover that you have a surprisingly large number of customers clicking through the link you put on, say, the local chamber of commerce site, then you can find ways to promote or emphasize the ties that your visitors might have to that organization. Think of search engine traffic more like walk-in traffic to your store and cater to those visitors the way you would serve someone walking into your store for the first time.
Spending quality time with website data is like curling up with a good book. The deeper you get into it, the more rewarding and—yes—enjoyable the experience becomes.