In real estate, a website that functions and performs well is gold. Excellent websites enhance an agent’s personal brand (or agency’s corporate brand), reap quality leads, and grow your following.
That being said, many people do not realize just how important websites are for their businesses. For those that do, many still do not realize that there are tools to measure how well – or how poorly – their website is doing.
Understanding whether your website is functioning and performing well is a gift. Fortunately, this gift of website analytics is not one that costs an arm and a leg to use. Google Analytics, perhaps the most popular website analytics tool available, is free for website owners.
What Are Website Analytics?
Web analytics is the process of gathering, analyzing, and reporting on website data to better understand how users interact with the website and determine how the website can be optimized.
Real estate agents can use website analytics to:
• Supplement their business goals
• Drive and track their website goals
• Create calls to action to boost user engagement and increase lead generation
• Determine KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure goals and find out whether they are succeeding or failing
• Boost their overall website strategy
• Determine ways to improve user experience on the website
• Learn more about who is visiting their site, such as users’ location, age, gender, and more
• Determine how users behave
But how do you get started with website analytics? And what does all the terminology mean?
Set Realistic Goals
Before you get started with analytics, the first thing you will want to do is determine what your website’s goals are.
Are they to provide an educational resource for your following? Grow your target base? Generate more, higher quality leads? Establish yourself as an authority in the real estate world?
Determining your goals ahead of time will anchor you in your website analytics journey. You will be able to determine whether you are succeeding or failing at reaching your goals and learn which changes you will need to make in order to succeed in the future.
A good rule of thumb in coming up with your website’s goals is to ensure they are as specific as possible (without becoming too fragmented).
Getting Started with Analytics
Google Analytics is relatively simple to install on your website. However, those who consider themselves not to be tech-savvy may find the set-up process slightly intimidating. If that is the case, there is no need to feel shame! Feel free to reach out to your web developer or a trustworthy consultant to help you install Google Analytics. Once the tool is installed, you will have access to a wide range of invaluable tools to help you measure your website’s overall health.
If you are not interested in Google Analytics, there are a host of other website analytic tools you can use instead.
A Guide to Website Analytics Terms
No matter which website analytics tool you choose, you will come across a variety of unfamiliar terminology. We have done the research on your behalf, gathering the most common terms you will run across and defining them in one place.
Analytics for Visitors
One metric website analytics allows you to research and track is the visitors to your website. A metric is a blanket term for a number of measurements made on a website to track and understand its data and performance.
Visitor metrics include:
• Visits: This is the number of visitors who have traveled to your website in any given period of time.
-> Example – Susan visits your website eight times in 28 days. If you measure how many people visited your website in 28 days, Susan counts as eight of those visits.
• Unique Visitors: When a person uses a cookie on their computer, they are only counted once in a certain period of time – even if they visited your site multiple times.
-> Example – Susan visits your websites eight times in 28 days using a cookie. Susan only counts as one unique visitor during that 28-day timeframe.
• New vs. Returning Visitors: New visitors are those who have never been to your website before, while returning visitors have. These metrics are measured through cookies.
-> Example – Susan visits your computer once and is counted as a new visitor. Your analytics then places a cookie on her computer. Cookies are usually valid until they expire (this timeframe can be customized). Until that cookie expires, Susan will count as a returning visitor if she visits your website in the future.
• Average Duration/Time on Site: This refers to the average amount of time users spend on your website. It is calculated by dividing the total amount of time spent on your website by the total number of visits.
• Pageviews: This refers to the number of pages that have been viewed on your website. Pageviews are calculated by dividing the total page views in a given timeframe by the total number of visits in that same period of time.
Now that you know who your visitors are, web analytics also let you determine where your visitors are coming from. This metric is referred to as common traffic sources. There are a total of four common traffic source groups. Depending on which analytics tool you are using, you may find that there are a variety of subgroups as well.
The 4 Common Traffic Source Groups
1. Direct: Direct traffic visits your website directly by typing your URL into the search bar, or if they have your website saved as a bookmark, by clicking the bookmark. Sometimes traffic is counted as direct traffic through other routes, such as untagged links and bad redirects.
2. Search: Search traffic refers to users who visit your site after finding it in the SERPs (search engine result pages). Most platforms allow you to track Paid, Natural, or Organic searches.
2.1 Paid Searches: Visitors that reached your site after clicking on a Paid Search ad you paid to show up for them. These searches are based on certain search terms.
2.2 Organic Searches: These visitors found your website by searching certain keywords, and your website showed up in the SERPs organically. They then chose to visit your website based on your resulting webpage’s title and description.
3. Referrals: This type of traffic is referred to your website from another website. This can happen through a blog in which your website was mentioned and linked to. Referral traffic does not visit your website through search engines.
4. Other: Any other campaign-based traffic that you have tagged for specific tracking purposes, such as social media links or email marketing links, falls into this category.
Understanding what website analytics are is your first step to maximizing your website’s potential, as well as your potential as a real estate agent or agency. Once you install a website analytics tool, you will be able to determine who exactly is visiting your website and why. These key components allow you to adjust your website and campaign strategy to gain more followers, generate more quality leads, and establish yourself as an authority in the real estate industry.