Evaluating a website’s value only by looking at its visuals can be a grave business oversight. Avoiding judging a book by its cover means that you need to, at least, open it and read it. Yet, in case of websites whose value you want to assess prior to the purchase, this means that having a mere pair of eyes will not suffice, as you need to delve into rich analytical data provided via web analytics. It will help you arrive at the best informed conclusions about the website’s overall performance and potential, as one of its key indicators are the website visitor statistics and related trends. Let’s look at what you should take into consideration when evaluating this segment.
Traffic: Going Beyond Numbers
The easiest way to start is to check the number of visitors the site gets within a set time period. Setting this time frame will allow you to detect potential spikes or drops in terms of numbers of visitors, warranting further investigation as per why they transpired in the first place. In addition to offering a measure of the site’s general performance, fluctuations in the number of visits can help you with checking if the owner of the site undertook some marketing efforts within the observed period, which, judging by the number of visits, either succeeded in drawing visitors to the site or simply misfired. Determining what worked for the site in question in terms of visitor-related performance can help you plan further upgrades of the website following the execution of the business deal.
As there is no one-size-fits-all value in terms of desired number of visitors, everything depends on your set goals and the ambition to improve them over time. Instead of focusing on sheer numerical values, your focus is potentially better invested in looking into the sources of traffic to the desired website or the manner in which those visitors came to visit it in the first place. Therefore, the value of numbers presented by web analytics is greatly reduced if considered outside of the context of the visitor’s geographical or demographical data, shopping behavior patterns etc.
Which Pages Draw Visitors
Going beyond mere numbers, another parameter to consider is pages per session for a visitor. Data on these metrics constitute something called average page depth and it refers to the number of viewed pages during a visit to the site within a single browser session. Collecting these statistical data will help you determine whether the site you want to purchase, for example, at least meets the unofficial industry median of three pages per session. This metric will tell you more about the manner in which the website you assess facilitates access to the products, services and information it offers. You will want to see the highest value possible here, meaning that the visitors had more opportunity to arrive to the pages that have the site’s most valuable offers. In addition to this, this parameter is a general indicator of the visitor’s engagement with the site you want to acquire, helping you track their steps towards conversion.
Source: Code Canyon
Take Your Time with the Sessions
Closely related to the above metric is the average length of the site visit, i.e. session. This metric helps you measure the site’s level of engagement with the user, as well as potential attractiveness of its specific content. For direct traffic, average session duration established as a sort of industry standard spans 1 minute and 50 seconds, but your mileage can vary. Make sure to check this parameter when evaluating a website that caught your interest, as the longer session durations can be easily translated into higher level of visitors’ engagement and their easier conversion into potential leads.
Keeping an Eye on Past and Future Clients
Examining session statistics in relation to the site you want to buy also entails checking an average percentage of first time visits to the site. Insight into the number of both returning and new visitors can be an important indicator for assessing the site’s performance, particularly in the context of e-commerce business. Seeing that these data show a solid percentage of returning visitors can be a valuable indicator in considering the site’s potential for turning them into leads, as the process usually involves at least several instances of interaction with the site. At the same time, all of these returning visitors were once “new”, meaning that you’ll want to keep an eye on their numbers and means of attracting them as well.
Pieces of a Puzzle: Bounce and Click Through Rates
One of the steps in piecing together a full picture of visitors’ interactions with the site of your interest is examining its bounce rate. According to Google Analytics, this value is defined as the percentage of visits that go to only one page before exiting a site. You’ll want to see it floating in lower ranges, despite the fact that its values generally varydepending on the type of site. Generally, it is more reliable if considered together with other statistics, such as pages per session or average session duration. Having a high bounce rate points to problems with the site’s content quality or relevancy. Similarly, the site may be aesthetically unappealing or even difficult to navigate. Higher bounce rates also figure in considering the site’s overall conversion potential, and you should analyze these values for individual pages as well.
Finally, you want to check the site’s click through rate (CTR) as the percentage of page visitors who click on a specific advertisement on it. This is most relevant in the context of calls-to-actions (CTAs) on the site, through which the visitors are asked to take the next step in the sales process. If these CTAs are not clicked on, you need to find out why and plan for potential post-purchase improvements.
Using analytics to gather and, more importantly, understand and utilize website visitors statistics is an indispensable part of the proceedings that precede its purchase. Number of visitors, duration of their sessions or return rates are just a few of the key parameters that you’ll need to consider when evaluating a website for purchase. Familiarizing yourself with website visitors and trends means that you’ll be better equipped to understand and respond to their needs, which is the textbook definition of remaining competitive and ahead of the curve in the business world.