How and why you should track your website stats
Every Monday is my 'Biz Tasks' day where I track alllll the stats of my business.
Finances, website stats, social media, email list, all those good things.
Call me crazy but I have to say, I legitimately really look forward to my Monday morning stats tracking!
I love seeing the numbers grow each month and looking back at the stats week over week of how far I've come since I started my business. Looking back on these numbers really keeps me motivated when the going gets tough.
It turns out Charlotte from charlotteohara.ca also has a super similar process, and she so kindly wrote up a post to walk you through exactly how to get started with tracking stats too!
I hope after you read you'll join me in Biz Tasks/stats-tracking Mondays too. Take it away Charlotte!
Have you ever heard of the saying “what gets measured gets managed”? These wise words basically mean that if you pay attention to something, you’ll see results from it.
And not just little jolts of improvement either. Major, life-changing increases are totally possible if you start paying attention to what’s happening in a particular area of your life or business! It’s another way of planning and achieving a goal, which is something that we all want more of.
Here’s the thing though: tracking anything seems like a chore without much of a payoff, which is why so few people do it.
But what if I told you that you could spend only a few minutes every month tracking your numbers and still confirm how important that information was? I bet you’d start eyeing the data right away!
When it comes to your website, it’s important to look at your data and statistics as an important part of a bigger picture. Your website is your online home, but it doesn’t stand alone. If you are building a brand of any sort (business or personal), then a website is a vital platform but it’s not the only one. We can’t forget about the relationship a website has with social media, email list and other ways you connect with your audience and followers.
This means that when we look at and start to track website data and statistics, we also have to consider how those relate to our brand’s growth on other platforms. Personally, I love this holistic approach because it gives us a much stronger look at how a website and brand is growing over time!
Let’s be real: tracking your website’s growth and stats isn’t the most glamorous or exciting topic in the world, but I hope that this post shows you that it isn’t a monstrous task either. It only takes a few minutes to track these numbers and trust me, the payoff is totally worth it.
Shall we take a look?
Why you should track your website’s growth and stats
The number one reason you should measure and track the stats related to your website is that it takes away the guesswork.
You’ll instantly have an advantage over all the other people and businesses who never look at these figures. As you start paying attention to these stats over time, you’ll have a much better understanding of who your audience is, what they are getting out of your website and online presence, and how you can better serve them.
Tracking the stats isn’t enough though. Instead, we need to actually do something with that data. Knowing and understanding the data will help you to create an action plan, expand your business (since you’ll know what is and isn’t working), and do more of what works.
That’s what they call a win-win, my friend!
Once you see how your website, social media and email list numbers are changing over time, you’ll be able to incorporate that into higher-level metrics. This is where things like affiliate programs, product and services sales, press coverage (and so much more!) come into play and things start to get exciting!
Looping things back to the earlier point about goal setting, I’d like to underline that tracking numbers is a way to guarantee that you stay focused on your goals and have an understanding of your progress. If you ignore your numbers and hope that things somehow grow on their own, you will be in for bitter disappointment and ain’t nobody got time for that.
Where to track this information
Tracking the stats related to your website and other platforms doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. In fact, it can be as simple as keeping track of the numbers in a notebook, whiteboard or printable table (old school but effective). Heck, you could even use the Notes app on your phone!
However, if you want a “done for you” set of templates that has all the fields set up for you, be sure to check out my Website Growth Tracker spreadsheets. These spreadsheet templates also come with a video tutorial that walks you through exactly how to use this resource and how you can access all the required information. I hope you find this helpful and useful!
How to track your website’s growth
Tracking your website’s growth is surprisingly simple. You can start tracking the data from the present or a date in the past, but either way you’re basically looking at who is visiting your site.
If you have a Squarespace website, here’s how to do it:
Log in to the backend of your website > go to Analytics > view numbers on Traffic Overview
The Analytics tab of Squarespace’s dashboard offers a really solid snapshot of your website’s overall health and is a good indicator of growth over time. There are various tabs you can explore to see things like popular content, referrers, and search engine queries, but to start all you need to pay attention to is page views and website visits.
Now, I love Squarespace’s Analytics feature but it is fairly limited. If you want to dig deeper into the data and stats, turn to our old pal Google Analytics.
The information and reporting in Google Analytics is much more robust that what you get from Squarespace and if you’re feeling inspired, there’s an insane amount of information you can grab from this platform. You’ll need a Google Analytics account (easy and free to create) and once you have that, simply add the tracking ID to your Squarespace site. See how to do it here.
Tracking other important stats
Now that you know why and how you can track your website’s stats, it’s time to zoom out and see how other platforms come into play. Personally, I set recurring calendar reminders every week or month to log my numbers, which only takes a few minutes to compile. Having a process in place makes sure you never forget to track the stats.
First off, we want to look at social media accounts related to your website and brand. Whether you’re on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest and/or Snapchat, the goal is to increase your following over time to reach a larger audience. Growing a social media following is important because you can direct those people back to your website and monetize through advertising, products and/or service.
To track your social media stats, simply look at how many followers you have on each account and track that over time. Pull up your profile and look at the follower count. Try this out in a table or a graph - both formats are solid options. Done and done!
Next up comes the email list. Every website needs an email list because it’s the best way to stay in touch with your audience and keep them up to date with your business.
Email marketing doesn’t have to be gimmicky or pushy, and it should always be used as a way to regularly stay in touch with your following. Plus, it converts at a way higher rate than other platforms!
No matter which email service provider you’re using (e.g., Mailchimp, Convertkit, Infusionsoft, etc.), simply log into your account and look at how many subscribers you have and log those numbers.
If you only track three things related to your website and online presence, let it be your website views, social media followers and email list!
The stats and data don’t end there, however. You can also log your media mentions, affiliate programs and predicted payouts, and look at the correlation between website growth and the amount of sales you make for various products or service.
When it comes to media mentions, be sure to make note of the publication, date, URL, and whether or not it included an opt-in to your email list. Getting media coverage for your website or business is a super important part of growing your website and online presence. Keeping all that information in one central place is very helpful for scheduling social media posts and seeing how those mentions lead to more page views and newsletter opt-ins. It also shows you what media outlets have the best payoff in terms of driving traffic to your website and growing your reach.
Focus on publications that have a wide reach, serve a specific niche, or have strong name recognition and authority in your industry.
Affiliate programs are another area you might explore as your website and brand grows. They are a great way to mention your favourite items/products/services/whatever in an organic way and get paid for that promotion.
When it comes to tracking affiliate programs and projected payouts, you’ll want to make note of the programs you’re participating in (login info, item, payout amount, etc.) and plot out how you can expect to earn money from them over time.
Personally I love setting a commission goal for every month or quarter, and look at how much money I can expect to earn depending on how many sales I make. It’s important to remember that there is a direct correlation between website growth and how effective your affiliate promotions will be so if you want to increase your affiliate revenue, focus on growing your website and getting more people to your site so that they can see your affiliate content.
Along those lines, you should also be tracking the sales of various products or services that you offer through your website. It could be a physical or digital product, design service, coaching session, whatever! The sky's the limit here but you should always have an understanding of how each item is monetized and when the income is expected at different points of the year.
I like to track each individual offering separately and look at it at a monthly and quarterly level. This lets me see how any big marketing promotions or media coverages affect sales and how I can expect revenue to change as a result. We’ve got another link here between website growth and sales of your products/services. As your website grows and you get more people invested in your brand, you’ll see that resulting in an increase in sales which ultimately brings in more revenue.
Think of it as a numbers game and focus on ways you can get the most out of these conversions.
Tracking your website’s stats and growth might not have crossed your mind before today but I hope this article helps you to see how valuable this information is! Not only will you see how your presence grows across various platforms over time, you’ll also be able to come up with a plan to make your efforts more effective.
By paying attention to what is or isn’t working, you will be able to make targeted changes to your website and business and get rid of all the guesswork that was happening before.
You can totally track your website’s growth on your own but if you want a simple, pre-made option that already has these fields set up, be sure to check out my Website Growth Tracker spreadsheets. This is a super easy and simple way to start tracking your website growth immediately, without having to fiddle with or worry about codes, formulas or document formatting.
I originally created these spreadsheets to use on my own website and business and ended up sharing them online so that more people could make use of them too. If you download the templates, be sure to let me know what you think of them and how they’ve helped you to track your website’s growth and stats!
Now let’s hear from you: do you track any stats related to your website, social media channels or email list? Do you log those numbers weekly or monthly? How long have you been doing it? Have you been able to use this data to make better decisions for your website or business? Leave us a note in the comments!
Charlotte O’Hara designs and develops beautiful websites for small professional businesses. As an avid technical writer, she has written countless articles about web design, development, tech tips and tutorials, etc. Charlotte also created a popular free 7-day email course that teaches anyone how to build and launch a website totally from scratch using the Squarespace platform. Every Wednesday she sends out a weekly newsletter that turns web design and development into actionable and accessible points. Catch her on Twitter or down by the beach. Charlotte is a graduate of Dalhousie University who made the move out west to Vancouver and never looked back. She enjoys sailing, hiking, playing sports, travelling and long dinners out on the patio.
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