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***UPDATED***One of my colleagues spends a lot of time monitoring his site's traffic. I don't really do this at the moment.

What should I be doing to check traffic, given that I have no idea what metrics I should be using. My sales seem about the same as last year so I am guessing that things are working ok. I run a two shop indie in  London but also have a transactional website which helps me out quite a bit. Any advice greatly received. What package should I be using if you do recommend some form of monitoring.

Google Analytics will certainly provide you with some great overall statistics but it’s also important to know exactly how well your other marketing initiatives are performing. For example, find an email marketing provider that can give you web tracking services - this will tell you exactly how much traffic has been generated by a specific email campaign whilst ‘following’ people as they browse through your site. Watch the path they take through your site, the links they click on and the average time they spend on the site as a whole. If one campaign generates thousands of visits and many hours of site time then it’s clearly working; a campaign that produces little time and visits has a problem.

When it comes to site layout and content changes this information can prove invaluable and the difference between this and Google Analytics is you can see exactly who these visitors are. Use this data to target people more specifically. You may have a group of people that constantly visit the ‘clearance’ part of your website, these people should receive a separate campaign from those that stick to general site categories.

Any data that can help you segment people and target them more efficiently is worth having. Google Analytics is a good place to start but don’t ignore other more in depth tools that will tell you exactly who is visiting your site.

Andy Francis, Co-founder, e-style

It sounds like the best tool for you would be Google Analytics. This is a super easy tool to set-up and navigate and will give you the key metrics you need to make sure your site is performing as it should.

The areas most commonly monitored are:

  • Unique Visitors: this is the number of individuals who have visited your site in a set period. So if I visit your site 3 times this week, and 5 times next, I would still only be counted as 1 unique visit.
  • Average time on site: how much time people are spending browsing your site
  • Page views: the number of pages a visitor views
  • Conversion rate: if you’ve set up ecommerce tracking within Google Analytics, this will tell you about orders, sales and ultimately conversion rates. This is the metric that tells you how effective your site is at converting a web browser into a customer. Keep an eye on this.

There are a thousand other fascinating features that you’ll discover when you start using it. I’d highly recommend you get it set up but be warned, it’s very addictive!

Fadi Shuman, Co-Founder & Ecommerce Director, Pod1 London/New York


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