Analyzing a Website: A Noob’s Short Guide

Last Updated on 3 months by Francesca Egay

To help you understand your website performance, you must learn how to conduct proper website and competitive analysis.

But this is easier said than done. You need to know many factors first and how to unearth data vital to your analysis to help you get an accurate picture of your website’s performance.

This post discusses what you must address first regarding site analysis and the website analytics tools you must use to measure these metrics accurately. Let’s go!

The Biggest Problem with Website Analysis

With a premium placed on efficiency and productivity, owners are becoming more aware of competitive website analysis as a way to grow their businesses leaner and faster.

By identifying the goals business owners wish to achieve with their website (whether it is increasing sales or subscribers), they can focus their efforts on improving their website performance.

To keep tabs on how a website is doing with these goals, owners must develop a system of tracking and measuring their metrics using website analytics tools.

The data collected by these tools will inform them how close (or far) their site is in achieving those goals and what they need to do to improve their performance.

While website analytics may be simple in theory, the application can get complicated for some, especially once they get their hands on big data.

The danger of website analytics is that there is so much information to process that it is easy to lose sight of the goals!

As a result…

There is a great divide between business owners and the proper use of website analytics.

To help flesh out this statement, below is a very insightful infographic courtesy of the good guys from TruConversion.

Understanding the Misunderstanding in Web Analytics by Online Businesses

Different Goals to Target in your Website Analysis

As mentioned in the infographic above, more than half of businesses consider website traffic as their main metric to measure.

While traffic is a good indicator of a site’s visibility, taking traffic alone as the metric to track will not truly reveal the effectiveness of their sites.

Since every business is concerned with turning a profit with their website, there’s a chance that even the thousands of traffic you drive to your site will not yield a single cent!

This is because…

Traffic as a metric only works when measured alongside a more profit-driven goal.

Below are examples of goals that you should measure along with website traffic.

Conversion Rate

Measure how many website visitors became buyers after dropping by your site. You can divide the total page traffic by the number of converted visitors into customers to get the conversion rate. The higher the conversion rate, the better.

Track the visitors to your sign-up page who committed to your call to action. Subscribers may not equate to profit just yet – you can funnel them down to your mailing list to turn them into paying customers.

Requested information or contact details

Find out how many visitors to your contact page fill out the form and send you a message.

These users are interested in your services, which is why they reached out to you in the first place. And you want to identify how many of your visitors are qualified leads so you can market your services better.

Search Engine Rankings

This refers to where your site page appears on organic search results.

The goal is to rank as high as possible on search results for your target keywords.

The first five positions on organic search for a term rake in 50% of user clicks.

Advanced Web Ranking organic CTR July 2022
Data from Advanced Web Ranking July 2022 comparing non-branded (orange) and branded (blue) organic clicks. The first position has the most clicks, with 27% for non-branded.

For instance, if you are ranking on top of SERPs for a keyword with a 1,000 monthly search volume, that means you are raking 270 organic visitors from that keyword alone (0.27 x 1,000)!

Your search rankings are also indicative of your site’s SEO performance. The higher-quality content you publish and the more authoritative backlinks you build pointing to that page, the higher its search position will be.

Social Metrics

This set of metrics refers to engagement with your audience on social media..Aside from comments and replies, social metrics include likes, retweets, shares, and others.

Social metrics ideally indicates your content’s quality. The more people enjoy the content you produce for various reasons, the higher the likelihood they’ll share it on social media with their network.

However, social metrics are relatively easy to gamify. You can buy likes to your post and use them as social proof, even though they aren’t organically acquired.

Nonetheless, they play a part in your website analysis. Your ability to acquire and analyse your website and social metrics should help you create content your audience loves and will receive even more engagement once published.

Speed Analysis

Google released the page experience update as a way for the search engine to finally factor in site speed as a ranking factor.

However, loading speed isn’t the only metric the update considers. It also factors in website stability and elements working as intended, i.e., clicking a button on your page produces your desired result, such as loading a page, submitting a form, or others.

core web vitals study
To help you understand how your site is faring across these metrics, you can run a Core Web Vitals check and see whether you’re good on all accounts or need improvements on all.

Tools to Help You Conduct Traditional and Competitive Website Analysis

As mentioned, Google Analytics does an excellent job tracking and collecting information about the goals above.

However, you may have goals other than tracking revenue and generating leads for your websites.

For example, you may want to find out how many visitors are reading your content from top to bottom.

You can also consider the buttons and links on your pages that get clicked on the most.

Finally, you could probably test different versions of the sites to different visitors and see which version converts the best.

For these goals, you can refer to some of the best website analysis tools below:

Google Analytics

google analytics

All these goals can be tracked in your Google Analytics after setting them up in your dashboard.

If you noticed in the goals above, all of them require the visitors to commit to a particular type of action.

Therefore, ensure that the pages you track have a clear CTA that visitors can follow through. Making this visible to visitors is essential so your traffic will not just bounce from your site or perform nothing on the page.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is another free analytics tool to help you make sense of your organic search performance.

After adding a site in your account to manage , you can see how many users clicked on your web pages from organic search.

google search console overview

You can drill down the data even further to see which pages received the most clicks and for which terms.

Corollary, you can see which pages received the most impressions but didn’t generate enough clicks.

From this information, you can determine which pages to optimize further, maintain to keep its performance, and ditch to make sure of new and better content to work on.

Clicky

Clicky is a lightweight Google Analytics alternative tool that shows the most critical metrics that business owners should take notice.

This tool is an excellent option for those who get overwhelmed with the data provided by Google Analytics. Also, Clicky has a heatmaps feature that shows which buttons and elements on the page are most clicked on by visitors.

Optimizely

Optimizely lets you conduct A/B testing on your site pages to see which version works and which ones don’t. You can also track user behavior and create segments for each visitor based on behavior. This way, you can provide a more personalized experience to each section when visiting your site.

TruConversion

TruConversion covers website analytics, A/B testing, heat maps, and surveys to help gather and make sense of big data that prevents your site from converting visitors and earning from them. In a way, it’s all your favorite behavior analytics tools rolled into one!

Its heatmapping feature helps you understand how users interact with any web page you track.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Reviewing your website for search engine optimization (SEO) issues is part of your website analysis process. By ensuring that your site is set up correctly, Google will crawl and index your most important pages so you can rank for them on top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

Screaming Frog SEO Spider is an SEO analysis tool that performs the above to a tee. You can conduct SEO audits on your website and determine how your site fares across key metrics such as website speed, user retention, and others to help you build SEO reports.

screaming frog seo spider

It’s a freemium tool that lets you scan 500 URLs on any website at no cost.

To unleash its full power, you must sign up for a yearly subscription that allows other features, such as Google Analytics and Search Console integrations, Javascript rendering, crawl comparison, and others.

Serpstat

Among the competitive analysis tools, Serpstat is up there with the best.

Conducting competitive analysis is easy with this tool. First, you can determine who your competitors are .

To do this, enter your URL on the search bar with “Domains nad subdomains” enabled, then click on SEO Research > Competitors to see which domains you share the most keywords with, which are your direct competitors.

serpstat competitors

You can then drill down each competitor based on their metrics to see why they rank higher or lower than your site. You can also spy on keywords they’re ranking for so you can find low-hanging fruit opportunities and outrank them for these search terms.

You can also conduct a backlink analysis on your site by looking at key metrics affecting your link profile.

serpstat referring domains

Serpstat also has a very serviceable SEO audit tool to help you find SEO issues you must work on. And by increasing your overall score, you get to resolve these problems on your way to improved crawlability and indexability.

serpstat audit

It is also one of the best —if not the best—SEO tools available. You can perform keyword research to find terms to rank and optimize for,

serpstat keyword research

To learn more about Serpstat and its use cases not just as a website analyzer tool but also for helping you build your SEO strategy, read my review.

Other SEO tools similar to Serpstat:

Have you learned everything you know on how to analyze a website?

When interpreting a website’s performance via analytics to extract actionable items, you need to determine the tools you will use to not only make sense of the accumulated data, but also figure out solutions to your problems.

The goals and tools mentioned above should at least give you a good idea of how you can approach your websites more systematically.

Still, it all boils down to what business owners wish they achieve and how you want to obtain it, given the data you have collected.

Some want to improve the kind of content published on their site, while others want to increase referrals coming from search engines. This goes to show that businesses have different goals when it comes to running a successful business.

Therefore, you need to create your plan and approach web analytics carefully to make your tracking and measuring count!

I’m pretty sure many others are probably much better than the ones featured above. Help me fill the gap by suggesting them in the comments section below!

website analytics