How to Keep Your Website Healthy

Don’t let your traffic slump.

By Kevin RR Williams

SEO You stay up late to prepare site changes or post a new blog article. The next day you wonder how well it was received. Check the blog comments: nothing. Perform a keyword search on Twitter: no mentions. Google the title: perhaps the page is returned (if it's common to update pages several times per week). There appears to be no clues that anyone even visited. This is why some people place page counters on their pages. Unfortunately, this is a very crude method of gauging website traffic. You may have been inundated with visitors to a different page. On the page that does have the counter, it's not possible to distinguish new visitors from returning visitors.

Analytics That Complicate

Google Analytics steps in with a robust set of reports that can inform web masters about the health of the site(s) they maintain. All you do is drop a block of code on each page. It has become standard practice on nearly every website. Even for me, after having authored analytics applications, it took a significant amount of reading, trial and error to gain enough proficiency to view helpful reports. For example, by knowing which articles visitors read, I can provide similar content. If people are visiting the online store and aborting checkout, I can determine if it's because of browser incompatibility, slow page loads or other reasons. Then Google went and did the unthinkable; it dramatically changed the user interface. So I was back at square one in my efforts to navigate an extremely complex reporting system.

Fortunately, I had been testing several analytics apps on my mobile device. They integrate with Google data to format reports without the need for to directly visit and interact with the Google UI. A few apps made the short list. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Analytics for iPad is too hard, Ego (discontinued) is too soft, and Quicklytics is just right.

Analytics That Simplify

Quicklytics is a universal app that nicely utilizes available real estate on iPhones and larger iPads. Version 9 is built with iOS 7 APIs. By means of intuitive taps, you can view all sorts of useful information for one or more sites. See a snapshot of activity on the site at any given moment. Compare activity for today, yesterday, past 30 days, or custom time periods. Each time I am presented with six key charts. Tapping on the main graphic allows me to drill down for finer granularity.

How to Keep Your Website Healthy

For example, I can compare the percentage of referral traffic (69%), organic searches (20%), and direct visits (11%). Last year, Google represented 46% of the referral traffic. This year Google has dropped to 17% while Pinterest climbed from 11% to 69% of referral traffic. In the past month 60% of all traffic has been from mobile devices. Of that, 37% has been on iPads, 36% on iPhones, and 1% on iPods. Forty three percent of Internet Explorer visitors use version 11 but I am still plagued by 14% who cannot checkout with version 9. If there are dead links on your site, a corresponding increase in 402 page errors is visible. My favorite report is content listed by page titles.

The most popular page this month is a poster that has, thanks to Pinterest, 5 times more visits than the 5-year reigning champ. ClincialPosters.com crossed 20,000 visitors who peek over 28,000 pages during the past 30 days. As a point of reference, there were 11,580 visitors during the entire first year of this site. I need to improve bounce rates and funnel visitors to current blog posts. This is not meant as a boast since many other sites have better stats. The purpose in sharing these numbers is to demonstrate how easy-to-access analytics translate into actionable decisions.

How to Keep Your Website Healthy

Comparison screenshots (in this case) show prior year comparison in green. Quicklytics includes over 80 reports. By mean of filters and customization, millions of combinations are available. Listing all the features might make it sound complicated but I stress that this information is available with simple intuitive taps. Furthermore, any of the reports can be e-mailed if desired. Isn't it comforting to know that you can maintain the health of your websites with a simple-to-use mobile app without navigating a complex interface or becoming a programmer?

Click screenshots for updated 30-day stats from May 12–April 11, 2014.

Tags: aggregated data, programming, serp, software review, somed, statistics