Watch your unique visitors
Some analytics platforms use slightly different terminologies for this. Google Analytics calls them “Users”, but they all mean the same thing. This is the number of people viewing your site within a given date range. This is where we look to see the big changes. While it may start slow if you have a new site or have just begun tracking, you can still use this metric to measure upward trends and year over year improvements in volume.
Your focus to improve these numbers should be on creating new and engaging content for your site that will attract new visitors, especially in your more visible areas like blogs and social media posts.
Compare New visitors vs. returning visitors
Another way to look at the number of visitors coming to your site is to break them down into new and returning visitors. Luckily Google Analytics has a handy pie graph to show you just this. Depending on the industry the appropriate numbers for this can differ, however it is always better to have a skew toward more new visitor. Anywhere from 15-30% returning visitors is good, especially if you have lots of regular users or valuable, fresh content that’s updated regularly. A good social media presence or a regularly updated blog will generate more return visitors. Anything above 30% indicates you aren’t doing enough to draw in in new players and grow your sales.
You can work to improve this much the same way as you do to attract more overall customers, with fresh and well-made content created on a regular basis. Just note that while a subscription-based newsletter or informative blog will improve your return visitor rate, social media posts are better suited for attracting new users.
Check your Channels
Channels or “Source” is just what it sounds like. The source from which customers arrived at your site. These are clearly labeled within Google Analytics and include Direct visits (when your URL is entered directly in the browser), Organic Search traffic, Referral traffic, Email and Social for the basics. Traffic is always good, no matter where it's coming from, however Organic Search should be your target for your main source. Other channel visits usually result from more targeted approaches. Want more referral traffic? Try getting your link on a local chamber of commerce site. Need more Search? Spend more time optimizing your SEO strategies. Email and social media campaigns are the obvious choice to boost those more specific channels.
Value Referring URL’s
We mentioned the Referral channel in the previous section, but these warrants a deeper look. This section shows you traffic that comes to you from other websites besides search engines. They are also referred to as “inbound links” and are an important part of your overall search engine rankings. These should grow throughout the years and there are a number of ways to increase your referral traffic, including having your blog reposted and reaching out to local communities’ sites or golf directories to have a link your website added to theirs. Any news stories or awards you’ve earned from outside sources can provide referral traffic as well.
One thing to watch with referrals is what we call “self-referral traffic” which is a tracking issue within Google Analytics. If you see a lot of traffic coming from your own site, or if you see “spam referrals” (referrals from nonsensical or non-existent sources) you may need to implement some special filters.
Monitor your Page Popularity
In Google Analytics, you can view your most popular pages by navigating to Behavior->Site Content->All Pages. They will be sorted by most to least page views within your timing parameters. This allows you to see which pages users find engaging, and which are not. You can use this information to update old pages that are high on your list or to understand what content is successful, so you can create more like it. You should also make sure to optimize your more popular pages for generating leads since they are drawing in your highest volume of visitors. Include lots of calls to action and make it easy to book on these pages.
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who visit your site and leave without any interaction. They don’t view additional pages or click any links, they just “bounce”. For this reason, bounce rate is like your golf score; the lower the better! You want people to stay, interact and view multiple pages on your site, even if it's not a booking this time. However, you do need to distinguish between certain pages when analyzing bounce rate. For example, a very helpful blog or your contact page will generally have a high bounce rate because users find exactly what they need and leave without NEEDING to interact further. If you are getting high bounce rates on pages you think you shouldn’t, including links to other pages on your site or updating your content to be more interactive can help bring it down.