What are Website Analytics? A Complete Starter's Guide | FullStory (2023)

Key takeaways:

  • Website analytics are a critical part of building any successful website, regardless of your industry

  • Analytics range from metrics as basic page views to tracking entire customer journeys

  • Combining quantitative data with qualitative insights is how to understand the what and the why behind behavior

  • Web analytics can work through a simple code snippet put on your website

  • The best way to analyze your website is through using an analytics tool

  • When selecting an analytics tool, make sure its features align with your business goals

What are web analytics?

Operating and maintaining a website is no easy task. As a business, it’s important to know how well your website is performing and understand your users’ behavior. Web analytics can help you do just that by tracking user data on your site, such as:

  • Page views

  • Number of visits

  • Time on page

  • Bounce rate

  • Referral sources

  • Conversions

  • Purchases

  • Retention

What are Website Analytics? A Complete Starter's Guide | FullStory (1)

Metrics provide insight into how visitors interact with your website. They indicate where problems originate and highlight areas needing improvement. With this data, you can optimize your website to create the best user experience possible—all while increasing conversions and sales.

Website analytics are about more than just numbers. They can also tell you what people like and don’t like about your site, and the areas that need improvement.

True website analysis combines both qualitative and quantitative data to understand the what as well as the why behind user behavior.

Trying to make sense of so much data can certainly be a challenge, especially early in your website’s life. But understanding the basics and what you should track is key to creating a successful online presence.

Importance of web analytics

The primary key to web analytics is understanding the importance of data. Without complete data, it’s impossible to accurately measure successes or failures. Web analytics are important for many reasons, including:

  • Analyzing user behavior and preferences: Analyzing user behavior is essential for optimizing a website for conversions. What are users clicking on? What are they ignoring? Where are they going and from where? And why? These are all answers site analytics can provide.

  • Gaining insights into how people find your site: Knowing where people find and access your site is key to developing an effective SEO or PPC strategy.

  • Improving user experience: You can use web analytics to identify areas that need improvement, like page loading times, navigation, or content. Taking the time to improve these areas can have a huge impact on your user experience.

  • Making data-driven decisions: With web analytics, you can make data-informed decisions about the direction of your website and marketing campaigns. Guessing what you should be doing is a fool’s errand.

To get started with website analytics, it’s important to use the right tools and resources. Fortunately, there are many tools and resources available that can help you track website traffic and gain insight into customer behavior. First, examine the following examples of web analytics.

Web analytics examples

Examples of web analytics are a great way to gain an understanding of what you should be tracking. The following are some of the most common web analytics metrics:


One of the single most crucial site analytics metrics is pageviews. A pageview is counted each time a page on your site is loaded by a browser.

Pageview counts tell the number of times a specific page was viewed, including multiple views from the same visitor.

It’s important to note that a high number of views doesn’t necessarily mean a post is popular. It could also mean that a page was confusing and visitors had to return to it multiple times.

Unique pageviews

Another important web analytics metric is unique pageviews. Unique pageviews refer to the total number of times a page was viewed by users in single visits.

If a person views the same page more than once within one session, it will still only be counted as one unique pageview. It’s worth noting, as well, that reloaded sessions are not tracked in unique pageviews.

Accurately recording unique pageviews is crucial. It helps measure the genuine engagement of users with your website. It also gives a better idea of how many people are actually clicking through your pages.


As your users log in and interact with your website, their activities form a “session.” Sessions are simply groupings of user interactions. They comprise everything from pageviews to CTA clicks, downloads, and events.

The timeframe of a session varies by web analytics tool. Usually, sessions end after 30 minutes of inactivity or when the user visits your site via another source. Please be aware that other instances will end the user session, like:

  • Midnight: When the internal clock strikes midnight, the users’ sessions end.

  • Returning from a different traffic source: If a user leaves and returns from another source (i.e., returning after leaving via an email link), the session will end.

Additionally, you can set custom time frames to define how long a single session can last. This is helpful for understanding user behavior and engagement across different channels.

What are Website Analytics? A Complete Starter's Guide | FullStory (2)

New visitors

New visitors are the number of unique visitors to your website—a single visitor can have multiple sessions, but they’ll be identified by a unique visitor.

It's important to track the number of new visitors over time to see how your website is growing.

Returning visitors

Just as new visitors are important, so too are returning visitors. Users who come back to your website are likely to be more engaged with your site and are more likely to convert.

The number of returning visitors can be tracked over time, as well as the rate at which they’re returning. This information can help you understand how effective your website is in engaging visitors.

What are Website Analytics? A Complete Starter's Guide | FullStory (3)

Traffic sources

The sources of your website’s traffic can tell you a lot about how people are finding and accessing your site.

Trackable traffic sources include organic search, paid search, referrals from other websites, and social media. Understanding traffic sources can help you optimize your website’s content and marketing campaigns for maximum efficiency.

What are Website Analytics? A Complete Starter's Guide | FullStory (4)

Bounce rate

Bounce rate refers to visitors who, in general, don’t stay around to check out more of your website after initiating a pageview. It’s often calculated as how many visitors view one page then leave, but definitions can vary.

As such, said visitor will come to your website to view a single page and then leave without further exploration. A high bounce rate might not be engaging with your site how you envisioned, and thus changes might be necessary.

On the other hand, a low bounce rate indicates that visitors are engaged and spending time exploring your site. This can often be indicative of successful content or an effective marketing campaign.

What are Website Analytics? A Complete Starter's Guide | FullStory (5)

There are established bounce rates that generally signify a good or bad rate of visitors who leave your website after viewing one page.

If your website’s bounce rate is 40% or lower, it’s a good indication that your content and marketing efforts are working.

Conversely, a bounce rate of 40% to 70% is considered average, while anything higher than 70% shows that visitors are not staying on your website.

What are Website Analytics? A Complete Starter's Guide | FullStory (6)

The best way to analyze website analytics is through tools specifically designed for it. These tools can provide a comprehensive view of website performance and help you make data-driven decisions. With clear insights into user behavior, you can improve your website’s user experience and optimize your marketing campaigns for maximum efficiency.

How web analytics work

Web analytics is a method used to collect, measure, analyze, and report data about website usage. It provides valuable insights into user behavior, website traffic, and other website-related metrics that help businesses optimize their online presence. Web analytics tools work by collecting data on user behavior, such as the number of visitors, pageviews, and clicks on links.

To collect this data, web analytics tools use a code snippet—often called a tag—that is placed on every site page. The tag collects data such as the user’s device type, browser, and geographic location, which is determined through the user’s IP address.

Some analytics services use cookies to track individual sessions and to determine repeat visits from the same browser.

Although web analytics tools are generally effective at collecting data, they are not perfect. Some users delete cookies, and different browsers have various restrictions around code snippets, which can cause slightly different results between analytics platforms.

Despite the limitations, web analytics tools remain a critical part of website optimization.

Web analytics best practices

To get the most out of web analytics, businesses should follow some best practices. Here are some of the most important ones:

Pick suitable metrics: Businesses should identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most relevant to their business objectives. Tools like FullStory’s autocapture feature can help track all metrics automatically.

Plan business objectives and strategies: Businesses should use data to drive decision-making and base all experiment hypotheses on data. They should use data for A/B testing decisions, experimentation, and making changes. This data can also be used to identify high-value content, showing which content to focus on first.

Don’t limit your focus to traffic

Businesses should always pair data with insights. Reporting only the numbers provides an incomplete picture of website performance. For example, if a website’s traffic is increasing but conversion rate is decreasing, it could indicate a UX problem.

Look at your data in context

It’s essential to analyze data in the right context to avoid making incorrect decisions. Algorithm updates, seasonality, and bots can all have a significant impact on website traffic and other metrics.

Share and ask for feedback from stakeholders

Businesses should provide information to stakeholders in a way that is understandable and actionable. They should ask for information and ideas from stakeholders, who can provide valuable feedback on how they use the data and how they think they can improve the user experience or other issues the data uncovers.

What to look for in a web analytics tool

When selecting a web analytics tool, businesses should consider the following factors:

Features: It’s essential to consider the features that are most relevant to the business objectives. The tool should offer the ability to track conversions, monitor website traffic, measure user engagement, and track visitor behavior.

Data capture: Complete data capture is also essential, as it enables the tool to gather all the data you need to understand website visitors and user behavior.

Reporting capabilities: The tool should be able to provide meaningful reports that help businesses gain insights into their website performance.

How to choose the right web analytics software

To choose the right web analytics software, consider the following:

  • Preferences and requirements: Businesses should identify their preferences and requirements and select a tool that meets their needs.

  • Number of features: The tool should offer the required features to help businesses achieve their business objectives.

  • Pricing model: The pricing model should be reasonable and cost-effective.

  • Support: The vendor should provide good customer support to help businesses make the most of the tool.

Take into account each of these factors to better narrow down the most suitable software for your business’s needs.

The most popular web analytics platforms

Some of the best web analytics tools on the market:


FullStory is a platform that offers a range of features, including session replay, heatmaps, and conversion tracking. It provides businesses with critical insights into user behavior and website performance.

A free trial is available to help you get started.


MixPanel also provides user-level analytics and data tracking. Businesses can then track user behavior, measure engagement, and adjust their websites.


Hotjar offers heatmaps, session replays, and user feedback tools. Hotjar’s tools further optimize the user experience.


Semrush provides search engine optimization (SEO) and SEM tools, including keyword research, competitor analysis, and site audit features. It helps businesses optimize their online presence and improve their search engine rankings.


Ahrefs provides SEO and backlink analysis tools. It offers businesses insights into their online presence and helps them improve their search engine rankings.

Free web analytics tools

Some free web analytics tools in the market include:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool that provides businesses with insights into website traffic, user behavior, and conversion tracking.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that helps businesses monitor their website’s presence in Google search results. It offers insights into website traffic, search engine rankings, and website errors.


What are basic website analytics? ›

Web analytics is the collection, reporting, and analysis of website data. The focus is on identifying measures based on your organizational and user goals and using the website data to determine the success or failure of those goals and to drive strategy and improve the user's experience.

What should be included in website analytics? ›

A website analytics report should include metrics such as number of visitors, bounce rate, session duration, average time on page, and website conversions.

What are the basic steps of web analytics process? ›

The web analytics process involves the following steps:
  • Setting goals. ...
  • Collecting data. ...
  • Processing data. ...
  • Identifying key performance indicators (KPIs). ...
  • Developing a strategy. ...
  • Experimenting and testing.

What are the four stages of web analytics? ›

That's why it's important to understand the four levels of analytics: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive.
  • Descriptive analytics.
  • Diagnostic analytics.
  • Predictive analytics.
  • Prescriptive analytics.

What is data analytics for beginners? ›

Data analytics is a strategy-based science where raw data is analyzed to detect trends, answer questions, or draw conclusions from a large batch of data. Using various techniques, raw data is converted into a form that allows companies and organizations to analyze important metrics.

What are the basic type of analytics? ›

There are four types of analytics, Descriptive, Diagnostic, Predictive, and Prescriptive.

What are the four major components of a website? ›

The components of a website are Web host, address, homepage, design, content, navigation structure, logo, graphics, etc.

What is web analytics example? ›

Analytics platforms measure activity and behavior on a website, for example: how many users visit, how long they stay, how many pages they visit, which pages they visit, and whether they arrive by following a link or not.

What web analytics are most important? ›

9 Important Metrics to Track for Your Website
  • Number of Visitors. ...
  • Bounce Rates. ...
  • Average Pageviews Per Session. ...
  • Session Duration. ...
  • Average Time on Page. ...
  • Top Traffic Sources. ...
  • Devices Used. ...
  • Interactions Per Visit.

What are the five main types of analytics? ›

5 Types of analytics: Prescriptive, Predictive, Diagnostic, Descriptive and Cognitive Analytics - WeirdGeek | Data analysis tools, Data science, Data analytics.

What is life cycle of web analytics? ›

A web analytics lifecycle (or just 'cycle') integrates the fundamentals of web analytics in a diagrammatic fashion. It enables you to iterate the processes in the diagram as many times you want until you achieve your desired goals. This cycle also allows you to discard the processes that aren't working.

How do I teach myself data analytics? ›

Here are three steps you can take to learn data analysis on your own.
  1. Learn fundamental mathematics. When starting data analysis from scratch, you'll need to learn fundamental mathematics like statistics. ...
  2. Learn Python. ...
  3. Solve business problems.
Jul 26, 2022

Can a beginner learn data analytics? ›

Anyone can learn and become a data analytics professional. However, here are some prerequisites that would be helpful for choosing a career in data analytics: Ability to work with numbers and quantitative stuff. Some programming experience.

What is the simplest form of analytics? ›

Descriptive analytics is the simplest type of analytics and the foundation the other types are built on.

What are the 7 analytical methods? ›

7 examples of analytical procedure methods
  • Efficiency ratio analysis. ...
  • Industry comparison ratio analysis. ...
  • Other ratio analysis methods. ...
  • Revenue and cost trend analysis. ...
  • Investment trend analysis. ...
  • Reasonableness test. ...
  • Regression analysis.
Mar 10, 2023

What is the simplest task of analytics? ›

Dr. Michael Wu, chief scientist of San Francisco-based Lithium Technologies, describes descriptive analytics as -“The simplest class of analytics, one that allows you to condense big data into smaller, more useful nuggets of information.”

What are the 7 parts of website? ›

7 Key Components of A Great Website
  • Purpose & Clarity. Before creating a website, you need to outline the purpose or goals of your website. ...
  • Usability. Visitors to your site are there to find the information they need or want. ...
  • User-Focused. ...
  • Navigation. ...
  • Appearance. ...
  • Ease of Updates and Content Management. ...
  • SEO & Analytics.

What are the 5 elements required to set up a Web page? ›

5 Key Elements to Consider when Building a Website
  • Website Visuals. Your website's design comprises elements like layout, colors, and contrast. ...
  • Website Mobile-Friendliness. Today, people browse the internet on mobile devices more than ever before. ...
  • Sensible Website Navigation. ...
  • Quality Website Content. ...
  • Website Security.

What are web analytics skills? ›

Web Analyst Skills

Core skills Based on our analysis of job postings, employers are looking for Web Analysts with the following skills. Interpreting web traffic data. Data visualization. Website dynamics.

How do you use website analytics? ›

Use Analytics with your site
  1. Step 1: Get an Analytics Property ID. If you don't already have one, sign up for an Analytics account. Find your Analytics Property ID.
  2. Step 2: Add the Analytics Property ID to your site. On your computer, open a new Google Sites. ...
  3. Step 3: See your data. Open Analytics.

What is the difference between analytics and web analytics? ›

It's important to note that Google Analytics is not the same as web analytics. Web analytics is a business process used to continuously improve your online business. Google Analytics is a tool to quantitatively measure what happens on your website.

How do I find website analytics? ›

To find site traffic sources and other web traffic analytics for a specific page in Google Analytics 4, navigate to Engagement » Pages and Screens. In the table, you'll see both Views and Users, so you can see how many views each page got, and how many users completed those views.

What are the 7 pillars of people analytics? ›

The 7 Pillars of People Analytics Include: • Pillar 1: Organizational Culture• Pillar 2: Talent Management• Pillar 3: Leadership• Pillar 4: Workforce Planning• Pillar 5: Learning and Development• Pillar 6: Performance Management• Pillar 7: Employee Engagement5.

What are the 3 common categories of data analytics? ›

Descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics.

What are the 3 basics of web development? ›

HTML, CSS, JavaScript are the “big three” of web development. Almost every website uses them in some capacity. There are plenty of others, such as server-side languages like Java, C++, Python, and SQL, but understanding these three is foundational to your website development knowledge.

What are the 8 steps in planning for a website? ›

Here are eight steps to follow in the website planning stages:
  • Establish your website's expressed purpose and goals. ...
  • Create a budget. ...
  • Assign development roles. ...
  • Map a content strategy. ...
  • Decide what features to include. ...
  • Build a style guide for assets. ...
  • Create a mock-up. ...
  • Test and maintain the site.
Feb 3, 2023

What are the 8 stages of data analysis? ›

data analysis process follows certain phases such as business problem statement, understanding and acquiring the data, extract data from various sources, applying data quality for data cleaning, feature selection by doing exploratory data analysis, outliers identification and removal, transforming the data, creating ...

What are the 10 steps in analyzing data? ›

What is a data analysis method?
  • Collaborate your needs. ...
  • Establish your questions. ...
  • Harvest your data. ...
  • Set your KPIs. ...
  • Omit useless data. ...
  • Conduct statistical analysis. ...
  • Build a data management roadmap. ...
  • Integrate technology.

What are the 6 types of data analytics? ›

Four main types of data analytics
  • Predictive data analytics. Predictive analytics may be the most commonly used category of data analytics. ...
  • Prescriptive data analytics. ...
  • Diagnostic data analytics. ...
  • Descriptive data analytics.

What is Phase 3 of a Web Analytics plan? ›

Phase 3: Design a Model

After mapping out your business goals and collecting a glut of data (structured, unstructured, or semi-structured), it is time to build a model that utilizes the data to achieve the goal. This phase of the data analytics process is known as model planning.

What are the 6 web development life cycle? ›

The Web development life cycle includes the following phases: planning, analysis, design and development, testing, and implementation and maintenance.

What is HTML life cycle? ›

The lifecycle of an HTML page has three important events: DOMContentLoaded – the browser fully loaded HTML, and the DOM tree is built, but external resources like pictures <img> and stylesheets may not yet have loaded. load – not only HTML is loaded, but also all the external resources: images, styles etc.

What is basic vs advanced analytics? ›

With basic analytics you will have access to the totals figures: total views, unique users, total clicks, etc. With advanced analytics you can access a timeline graph, filter different periods of time, check a list of users with approximate location, browser data and more.

What is the example of website analytics tool? ›

Traditional web analytics tools like Google Analytics help you understand who visits your website, and what user interaction is taking place. For example, you can collect data like: Traffic: find out how many people view your website, where they're coming from, and whether they're new or returning visitors.

What are 6 types of analytics? ›

Types of Data Analysis
  • Descriptive analysis.
  • Exploratory analysis.
  • Inferential analysis.
  • Predictive analysis.
  • Causal analysis.
  • Mechanistic analysis.
Nov 15, 2022

What are the three 3 types of analytics explain? ›

There are three types of analytics that businesses use to drive their decision making; descriptive analytics, which tell us what has already happened; predictive analytics, which show us what could happen, and finally, prescriptive analytics, which inform us what should happen in the future.

How do I use analytics on my website? ›

Add Analytics tracking
  1. On a computer, open a classic Google Sites.
  2. Click Settings. Manage site.
  3. Under "Statistics," click the Down arrow. Use Universal Analytics.
  4. In the text box, under "Analytics Web Property ID," enter a valid Analytics Property ID. ...
  5. At the top, click Save.

How do you know if a website is using analytics? ›

6 ways to check if a website uses Google Analytics
  1. #1 Check the GA tag in the website source code.
  2. #2 Use the Developer Tools of your browser.
  3. #3 Use the Tag Assistant browser extension.
  4. #4 Check many webpages at once for UA.
  5. #5 Check your browser cookies.
  6. #6 Check Brave shield blocker.
Dec 1, 2022

How do you collect data from web analytics? ›

7 Data Collection Methods Used in Business Analytics
  1. Surveys. Surveys are physical or digital questionnaires that gather both qualitative and quantitative data from subjects. ...
  2. Transactional Tracking. ...
  3. Interviews and Focus Groups. ...
  4. Observation. ...
  5. Online Tracking. ...
  6. Forms. ...
  7. Social Media Monitoring.
Dec 2, 2021


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