If you’re getting a lot of hits on your website, you might think that it doesn’t really matter where your web traffic is coming from. Isn’t the most important thing just getting those visitors to your site? Well, yes, that is the goal of online marketing and promoting, but it is very, very helpful to know where your visitors found your site. While you might think most of them are typing in your specific web address and going straight to your website, in actuality many are coming to your site from other websites.
By analyzing your web traffic and looking at the referring sites, you can better target your online marketing. Did you only get three visitors from your Twitter posts in a month, but your Facebook profile brought in over five hundred? That tells you that you either need to do a little more work with Twitter or abandon it altogether to focus on the more effective Facebook.
How can you get these statistics? Some web hosts include reports on web traffic as part of your hosting package. These reports can usually be found in your hosting control panel. The information you get varies from host to host. Most include the referring website, and many mention things like the keywords used to find your site, the country the user is from, and even what web browser they were using. While not all of that information is going to be helpful, some of it can certainly be used to more focus your marketing campaign.
You can also use Google Analytics. Google Analytics actually gives you the ability to track more than just what site referred your users. If you’re putting links out there on social media sites, in articles, and in your emails, you can use Google’s URL Builder to add information to these links. To get to this tool, go to Google and enter “Google URL Builder” as your search.
What does this URL Builder do? It adds extra information to your URL that doesn’t change where it goes but does make the link show up differently in Google Analytics. You put in the URL you want to link to and then fill in different fields like Campaign Source, Term, and Name. For example, if you want to track a link from Facebook, that would be the source. The Medium could be a status update or wall post. The term can include a special promotion you’re running, while the campaign name might be the current month.
The end result? You’ll be able to see if that £10 off campaign you ran of Facebook was more or less effective than the 15% discount you ran the month before. It’s very helpful in pinpointing exactly how users are finding you and what deals are getting them to click that link and actually visit your site. Even if you don’t use Google, take a look at your site’s referrals. It can really help you with your marketing plan since you’ll be able to see what’s working and what’s not.
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