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Analysing web statistics

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  • 1. David M. Williams 15/10/13 Swansea Itec – ITQ Diploma for IT Users Level 2 APPLICATION OF NUMBER PROJECT Index 1. Introduction & Hypothesis 2. UK Visitors 3. Website Visitors in 2012 4. Custom Reporting 5. Referrals 6. Search Query Position 7. Final Comments 1
  • 2. David M. Williams 15/10/13 1. Introduction & Hypothesis The purpose of this project is to analyse, review and report on the new website’s performance (www.advancedheatingwales.com). The data will be collected from three different sources - Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and Pickaweb Cpanel AW Stats. All three sources will provide various facts and statistics relating to our website’s performance and its visitor’s behavior. I hope to use the data collected to help improve the website and company’s performance. One way I plan to do so, is by comparing the visits to the three following pages: Servicing and Landlord Certs, Maintenance Work and Contact Us. I hope that the amount of visits to the ‘contact us’ page is similar to visits to the other two pages, suggesting that visitors are not put off by our callout rates. I will be comparing the key phrases used. At the moment, most of the searches seem to relate directly to the company name and I hope to see an increase in successful searches using more generic phrases relating to our industry, such as ‘boiler service swansea’ or ‘cheap boiler change cardiff’. I will also analyse the location of our visitors. I would expect the majority to come from Swansea with other South Wales regions following closely behind. I also plan to review our referrals. Our company became members of the Ospreys RFC Executive Club last month, which entitled us to have a link to our website from their site. At present, we have had 10 referrals in total. I hope to see a steady increase in the future. We are also currently waiting for a link to be added from the Penlan RFC website. Once the link is present, I will compare the amount of referrals received from both sites. Although the Ospreys site has far more visitors, I feel we may get more referrals from the Penlan RFC site, as our company directors have been members of the club for many years. I expect this to be a large factor as all the current members (who will be using the Penlan RFC site) 2
  • 3. David M. Williams 15/10/13 are aware of the long standing affiliation between the club and our company. Finally I will compare search query ranking with Google, using Webmaster tools. I will compare Webmaster tools average position with the actual search position when searching while logged into Google and while searching ‘in cognito’ mode. The ‘in cognito’ masks any ties or memories the search engine may have with the browser or PC that you are using. This will allow me to accurately see where our website ranks with search terms when searched by potential customers on their PCs / browsers. When searching while logged into Google, I may be getting inaccurate records when manually checking ranking on Google as the search engine may be linking our website with my search and ranking the site higher than normal. 2. UK Visitors The following data was collected from Google Analytics on 18th October 2012. It details all the UK visits to the website between 17th September and 17th October 2012. Region Visits Pages / Visit Avg. Visit Duration England 75 2.99 00:01:58 Wales 55 3.42 00:03:24 Scotland 2 1 00:00:00 132 3.14 00:02:32 Initially I was surprised to see that the website had had more visitors from England than Wales. Our website is mainly aimed at customers in the South Wales Region, and although we still expect some visitors from England, ideally the volume of visitors from Wales should be greater. It is no surprise that the level of visitors from Scotland is so low, as they are outside our target area. 3
  • 4. David M. Williams 15/10/13 There are two main reasons that I believe best explain the cause of the higher traffic levels: 1. We have recently completed a Tesco Store project in Leicester, a Sainsbury Store project in Boscombe and have recently started a Sainsbury project in Swindon – all of which are in England, which may have raised our profile through word of mouth, site presence and signed vans being noticed. 2. There are several companies in England with similar business names to ours such as ‘Advance Heating’, ‘Advance Heating – Milton Keynes’ and Advanced Heating Technologies. Customers may have been looking for these companies and accidentally landed on our site. Visits 80 70 60 50 40 Visits 30 20 10 0 England Wales Scotland Pages / Visit 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 Pages / Visit 1.5 1 0.5 (I chose a bar charts for this data as it clearly compares one quantity to another) 4 0 England Wales Scotland
  • 5. David M. Williams 15/10/13 Although there have been more visitors from England in the selected period, the above chart suggests that the visitors from Wales have been more interested in our services, as they have viewed more pages per visit on average. The chart below also suggest more interest from the Wales-based visitors, as they have been spending more time on average browsing our pages. (I chose a bar chart for this data as it clearly compares one quantity to another) After analysing the statistics, I conclude that although we may very well be experiencing some increased traffic from England due to our work presence in the country, our site is also having several visits in error from customers searching for similarly named companies. My conclusion is backed up by the fact that the England-based visitors are spending less time on the site and browsing less pages than their Welsh counterparts. This is because once they open our website and see ‘Advanced Heating Wales’, they are probably realising that they have found the wrong company! Despite my initial conclusions, my findings could also indicate that we do receive a lot of genuine interest from England. The visits to our site may be shorter as the website currently displays South Wales as our main covered region, which will put off customers from England. I will be 5
  • 6. David M. Williams 15/10/13 closely monitoring the England-based traffic in future and if it continues to exceed the traffic from Wales, our company may have to review our coverage area, and possibly consider employing engineers nearer to or in England in order to target the work opportunities there. 3. Website Visitors in 2012 The data table below was taken from the AW Stats in the Pickaweb Cpanel. Since July 2012 the Website has experienced an increase in visitors, showing steady growth. This so happens to coincide with the publishing of the new website. The first draft was published on 16th June 2012. Since then, each month has shown increased traffic as I have been developing the website as my main project. October shows a decrease in visitors as we are only partly through the month (18th) and by the end; I expect to see a further increase on September’s visitors. Month Unique visitors Number of visits Jan-2012 109 162 Feb-2012 97 121 Mar-2012 95 123 Apr-2012 97 115 May-2012 89 104 Jun-2012 77 104 Jul-2012 137 228 Aug-2012 164 306 Sep-2012 154 343 Oct-2012 253 473 Nov-2012 306 581 Total 1,578 2,660 (I chose to present this information in a table as the months and results are clearly detailed for thorough review) I would expect increased traffic to the website during the colder months, as customers’ heating and plumbing needs increase. January and February of this year were particularly, but our website attracted more 6
  • 7. David M. Williams 15/10/13 visitors in August. The only logical explanation for this is that the website was hugely improved during my project. As a result, I expect to see continued increase in visitors as we enter the winter period, peaking between December and February. Website Visitors in 2012 700 600 Visitors 500 400 Unique visitors 300 200 Number of visits 100 0 (I chose a line chart to present this data as it clearly shows the increase in visitors to the website over time) Jan2012 Feb2012 Mar2012 Apr2012 May2012 Jun2012 Jul2012 Aug2012 Sep2012 Oct2012 Nov2012 The above graph clearly shows that both the number of new and returning visitors has increased since the publishing of the new site. Despite both sets of visitors increasing, the fact that we have had a bigger increase in returning visitors suggest to me that the appearance of our website has been significantly improved as more and more visitors are returning to the site for a second look. These statistics all support the fact that our website has been improved and demonstrate that to date my project has been a success! I aim to continue analysing the monthly traffic, and hope to maintain steady growth. If we begin to experience less traffic, I aim to use the skills I have learned at Swansea Itec to find out why and make any necessary improvements. 7
  • 8. David M. Williams 15/10/13 4. Custom Reporting I set up a custom report on Google Analytics to compare the amount of customers visiting the two pages on our site that display rates in comparison to the amount visiting our ‘contact us’ page. I had hoped that the visits to the ‘contact us’ page would be near to the amount of visits to the two other pages combined. This report will hopefully provide reassurance that our call out rates are not too expensive and do not put potential customers off contacting us. The table and pie chart below show that we actually had more visitors to our contact us page than to the rates pages in the selected period (18/10/2012 – 29/11/2012). Maintenance Rates Gas Cert Rates Total Visits to Rates Pages Contact Us Page 32 33 65 69 Page Visit Comparison Maintenance Rates 24% Contact Form 51% Gas Cert Rates 25% (I chose a pie chart to present this data because it gives an instant idea of the proportions of visitors to each page) Although some of the visitors to the ‘contact us’ page may have been looking for our contact details in the first place and not even viewed our rates, it is still the positive result I had hoped for. 8
  • 9. David M. Williams 15/10/13 My findings have reassured me that our company rates are competitive as a lot of our websites visitors are showing genuine interest in contacting us and are not simply looking at our rates and leaving the site. If the number of visitors to the ‘contact us’ page was to drop below the number of visitors to the rates pages in the future, I would consider carrying out some market research on our competitors to review their rates and make sure ours are still competitive in the current market. 5. Referrals (I chose a bar chart for this data as it clearly compares one quantity to another – these 3D cylinders also helped improve the appearance of this document) The above bar chart shows the number of referrals in the month of November. As mentioned in my introduction, we currently sponsor Penlan RFC and have an Executive membership with Ospreys RFC. Both of which entitle us to a website link from their site. We have quite a low number of referrals in the selected period so there wasn’t much information to analyse. One thing this has brought to my attention is that from a marketing perspective the large sum of money paid to become an Ospreys Executive member, isn’t going to be recouped from increase in sales resulting from web exposure. Although 9
  • 10. David M. Williams 15/10/13 our employees and customers do enjoy attending the game and executive suite as our guests! That said, we had twice as many referrals from the Ospreys site as from the Penlan RFC site, which indicates that the Ospreys site is a better marketing place for our company. We would however have to measure the costs to see whether we would be better off sponsoring several local sports clubs as opposed to one larger organisation like the Ospreys. I was not expecting to see ‘advancedheatingwales.com’ as one of the referrals. I can only assume this is from internal links on our website, which is of no benefit to us as the potential customer must have already been viewing our website. 6. Search Query Position Below is a table of data showing our expected search query position from Webmaster Tools in comparison to the actual position searching while logged into Google and compared to searching ‘in cognito’ mode. Table info from Webmaster Tools dated 01/11/2012 - 16/01/2013 Query Impressions Clicks CTR Avg. position Actual position logged into Google 16/01/13 Actual position in cognito mode 16/01/13 cheap boilers 320 <10 - 31 24 24 advanced heating 200 <10 - 4.9 2 2 advanced heating wales 70 60 86% 1.0 1 1 advanced plumbing 35 <10 - 10 8 8 advanced heating and plumbing 16 <10 - 6.8 4 4 plumbers swansea 12 <10 - 48 21 21 plumbers cardiff 12 <10 - 210 >400 >400 advanced heating swansea <10 <10 - 2.0 1 1 gas safe login <10 <10 - 45 >200 >200 plumber swansea <10 <10 - 28 >200 >200 cardiac itu <10 <10 - 7.2 >200 >200 gas safety certificate cardiff <10 <10 - 19 18 18 insurance call center <10 <10 - 22 >200 >200 10
  • 11. David M. Williams 15/10/13 bellway homes swansea <10 <10 - 47 25 25 advance heating <10 <10 - 19 4 4 commercial heating swansea <10 <10 - 7.5 5 5 advanced plumbing and heating <10 <10 - 11 34 34 cheap boiler <10 <10 - 35 41 41 <10 <10 - 13 12 12 gas safe swansea (I chose to present this information in a table as the months and results are clearly detailed for thorough review) I have highlighted the columns of interest in green. The search terms were taken from the first page of terms provided on the Webmaster tools report. Some of which are of no use to our company as they have no relation to our business. For instance Webmaster Tools has our website ranked 7.2 for the term ‘cardiac ITU’. This is because towards the end of 2012 I posted a blog regarding some sponsorship money raised by our managing director for the Cardiac ITU at Morriston Hospital after doing the Cardiff half marathon. After posting the blog, Google obviously gave the blog page a high ranking due to it’s contents and wording. The reason I chose to analyse this data is because until I had a conversation with my tutor (Stella), I was not aware that my search terms may rank higher when searching on my PC or when logged into Google than if someone independent was carrying out the same search. This means that when manually checking search terms in the past, I may have thought that our website had a better ranking for certain key searches that than it actually has. To my surprise, all the terms had the same ranking whether searching ‘in cognito’ or while logged into Google. I am unsure why this is, but it does reassure me that when I have previously manually checked our ranking for other key terms, I have had an accurate reading. There are some big differences in Webmaster Tools average rankings in comparison to the actual rankings. I believe this is because the Webmaster Tools is an average taken over a longer period, where as the actual rankings were taken from searches made in a single day. 11
  • 12. David M. Williams 15/10/13 7. Final Comments All the points that I have discussed and analysed prove that a website will never remain succesful if simply left with no updates, alterations or development as many of the rankings will drop. The data also suggests that certain changes actually lower rankings. All this has increased my understanding that I must continue to maintain and closely monitor our website and it’s performance in order to improve it’s effectiveness. This also reassures me that the company made the correct decision in allowing me to attend this course in order for us to create and maintain the webiste ‘in-house’ as opposed to continually employing an external company to do so, which would cost a small fortune! I hope I have been able to clearly demonstrate the skills and knowledge I have gained while studying at Swansea Itec, considering I didn’t know anything about website building and development before I started. To date the course has provided me with great opportunity to learn new skills and build my confidence in ICT. I now look forward to the prospect of continuing to do a level 3 qualification this year and further develop my skills. 12