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How many people have looked at your website? What are they looking at? Is it useful to monitor how many hits your website receives? What on earth are ‘hits’?
Parents, prospective parents and Inspectors all visit your school website to get a rich picture of life in your school. If you’re not keeping an eye on how your site is used, you’re missing a big trick!
The technology is the best place to start.
Google provide a free tool which is the go-to product for tracking use of your website. Your website partner will be able to make sure you’re hooked up very quickly. (All Schudio School Website Plans come with Google Analytics Integration as standard).
You can find your way about easily and Google Analytics will take you straight into the key information when you login. It is a bit of a monster with lots of features but don’t be scared to Get Started with our guide.
Google Analytics will tell you everything you need to know about how your website is being used day to day. It will give you useful information like, how many people have visited your site, what device they’re using, which pages they spend most time reading and so much more.
Schools that are using Google Analytics even quite basically have a valuable insight at their fingertips. You can really get under the skin of your website by looking out for a few key bits of information, furthermore you’ll be ahead of the competition if you put in the time.
Try not to spend too much time staring at your screen with this one! When users appear on your school website you’ll spot them instantly, see what page they’re viewing, how they found you and much more. Great if you’ve got a big campaign running or if you just fancy looking at how users engage with your website in real terms.
Every year we compile key data from our many school website clients. The data we collate offers valuable insights into the behaviour of school website visitors. One of the key metrics we actively monitor is the percentage of users who visit school website on a tablet or phone. In 2016 that was 45-50%. In 2017 it is nearly 60%. That tells us that outstanding, responsive school websites are vital for every school.
What is that?! It’s the percentage of users who visit a page and ‘bounce’ away having viewed only one page. Sounds like a really bad thing? Well in general terms it is. We want to draw people into your content. Our aim is to engage every visitor to your website so they stick around and you’re given the opportunity to share just how wonderful your school really is.
But it’s not quite so straightforward. If I search Google for your school term dates, the chances are the page will be #1 in the search results. If I click on that page and find the info I’m looking for I don’t need to look anywhere else, so I’ll bounce right off. And I’m a happy bunny.
As a rule though, you’re aiming for as low a bounce rate as possible across the whole of your site. Anything below 40% is doing pretty well. Anything over 60% needs some serious work.
The fourth and final thing to watch out for is Visitor Acquisition. (It’s hard picking just 3 things to look out for, there’s loads!) Google Analytics gives helpful information about where your website visitors came from. It tells you how they got to your website. That’s useful because knowing how visitors come to your website can help you understand where any gaps might lie. As an example, if you’re actively sharing your news content socially, but nobody is clicking any links within those Tweets or Posts, are they working correctly? Is there something wrong? Are they not engaging enough?
Getting a really clear picture of how your visitors are engaging with your content will help you improve over time.
Just because it’s really helpful, here’s a quick key to some analytics terms that it’s good to know:
Direct – visitors who typed in your web address or have the link in their favourites
Organic Search – visitors who clicked on an unpaid link in a search engine
Referral – visitors referred from links on other websites
Email – visitors who clicked on a link in an email campaign
Social – visitors who clicked on a link in a social media channel
Firstly, it’s really important to keep on top of monitoring the use of your website. Try not to view it as something that is just done once and left to it. Google give you the option to set up monthly reports on key information so make the most of that for sure!
Once you’ve got a handle on the basics then interpreting the data is mostly straight-forward.
If you really want to demonstrate the improvements you’re making on your school website then monitor its use, keep a record and compare the data. As an example, if you need to reduce your bounce rate then keeping a monthly record of what it is will inform whether your improvement strategies are working.
Google Analytics is a fantastic tool for improving the use of and engagement with your school website. It’s possible to just dip in and gain some valuable insights, but the real depth comes from learning how to use and interpret the data to maximise the potential of your school website.
Schudio offer in-depth analysis, training and campaign management to get the most from your school website. Talk to us about how we can partner with you to ensure you’re getting the very best possible results from your school or college website.