Ever since Google rolled out their analytics service in 2005 it has been the most widely used web analytics platform offered. As a result, anyone involved with web sites has quickly found it necessary to understand how to analyze the metrics measured by this tool. And while marketers may seem to benefit most when it comes to web site analytics, those on the design side of things stand to learn quite a bit from this data as well. Key metrics have the ability to inform a web designer as to: how well the site is received and if a website is keeping visitors engaged. However, there is much more that a web designer can learn than just what is presented to them through bounce rates and time spent on a page. There are some metrics available that many of us tend to forget about.

Conversion Rate

To the marketing staff, this is one of the most important metrics. Web designers, on the other hand, may not care too much about this information even through they should. The conversion rate tells us how well a site is doing its job; and let’s remember that a conversion doesn’t always mean a sale. It could be a registration, signing up for a mailing list, joining a loyalty program, creating an account or any number of actions that we would want a visitor to take.

The bottom line is that if visitors are not converting when they come to a site, then there is something wrong that needs to be fixed immediately.

Visitor Flow

When we plan and build a site with the help of a professional web design agency, we often imagine how we see visitors moving through the site until they arrive at that crucial conversion page. As we all know, visitors rarely follow the path we expected. They may find the home page through a search engine, stumble across a blog article that was shared on social media or even arrive directly on a product/service page directly.

Tracking the visitor flow not only show us how a visitor arrived at a site, watching the landing pages can track that. This metric takes us through the process that the visitor takes to arrive at the intended destination. It also can tell us where a visitor leaves the site, which provides feedback as to areas of the site that may need to be re-examined to see why people are leaving.

Average Time on Page

The average time a person spends on a page can tell us quite a few different things. For instance, if they are on a page for a long time they may be engaged with the content they are consuming or they may be having difficulty finding how to navigate to the page they want next. If their time on a page is short, it could be that they are abandoning that page because they didn’t find what they were looking for. It could also be that they easily moved on to their desired endpoint.

You can make assumptions based on this data, however if you look at the average time spend on a page along with the visitor flow you can get a better idea of what is happening when people are navigating a web site.

Top Pages

This metric shows data for a web site’s best performing pages in terms of traffic volume. Knowing what pages receive the most traffic is hugely important because it gives you real-world data that shows what is drawing people into a web site. On the surface, it would seem that this is another area where marketing would find more use than the actual web designers would since the content on the page is likely what is drawing visitors in.

However, knowing where the most popular entry points to a web site are gives a web designer information about where they should be looking when it comes to the other metrics. Top pages can be looked at along with every other metric here to tell an even deeper story about why a person decided to visit a particular site.

Data driven decision making is one of the most popular business terms for good reason. Taking the time to really dive into the data provided gives all the information you need to assess a web site’s performance. With one simple line of tracking code added to the pages of a site you can take a look at not only how well things are working, but also what areas need improvement. You can even apply these metrics to A/B testing to help you determine what your visitors will best respond to.

Web sites serve a purpose, it is important that sometimes we move past the aesthetics, the trends and the code so we can understand what works best for business and the customers they are trying to serve.