Here at Tundra we’re lucky enough to have an in-house web analyst, Emily Pearson, whose sole job is to dig into analytics data and report trends so that we can better run our business; and me being the search engine optimization (SEO) specialist here, I’ve worked with analytics data for many years as well and have found it to be essential for any business with an online website.
Having analytics on a site is crucial, yet I’ve seen numerous restaurants and foodservice vendors not using this incredible tool – a tool that is easy to install and free (that’s right, free) called Google Analytics.
Why Do Websites Use Analytics?
Let’s take a step back and start with why it’s so important to have website analytics installed on your site. Imagine being able to get an inside view of what people are doing once they come to your site… what pages they visit, how long they interact with the site, are they looking at new promotions, how did they get there in the first place? This is what analytics allows you to see. When you change a page on your site, add promotions, start a new social media campaign, you want to be able to measure your success rate, right?
This is only the tip of the iceberg: there are thousands of useful things that analytics can tell you about your website, but you can only get that data from putting the code on your site.
How Does it Benefit Restaurants?
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar is in the middle of promoting Oyster Month – a month long celebration that includes eating lots of yummy oysters and raising money for Veterans Expeditions. And I’d imagine that they’d want to see how many people are clicking from the homepage to the oyster month page, and where people are going after that. What else may they want to measure?
- How many people are clicking on that navigation button at the top of the site?
- Once they get to the page, what are they doing, where are they going?
- How many people have clicked through to the sponsorship page?
- How long are people staying on the oyster page?
- Where are people coming to get to this page:
- What city are they viewing it from?
- How did they find the page, i.e. social media, organic traffic, referring traffic, etc?
- If there are PDFs, how many people are downloading them?
And these are just a few things that they could track for this campaign.
But what about things outside of promotions, what else would a restaurant want to track?
- What keywords are people typing into the search engines to get to your site?
- Are the visitors to your site mainly from your local area, or from a broader audience?
- How do visits to your site change over time – is it growing or shrinking?
- How high is your bounce rate? If it’s too high, that could mean people aren’t finding the things they want when they land on your site.
- How many of your visitors are new visits vs. returning visits?
- What’s the visitors favorite thing to read on your site?
- How many links are sending traffic to your site?
The bottom line is, if you don’t know how people are interacting with your website, how can you successfully grow your online presence?