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What is web analytics? (And why it’s key to better site performance)

Duncan
· 8 min read · Tips and resources · July 27, 2022
Cesar, Customer Support

Do you remember the impossible math equation in Good Will Hunting? The one that only Matt Damon’s genius character could solve?

Well, web analytics is nothing like that. While it can feel like a tough subject to grasp, it’s surprisingly easy to get a basic understanding of what is happening on your website. And this can help you make big performance improvements.

You just need the right guide (like this one) to help you understand the numbers. Let’s dive in!


Web analytics is the process of collecting and reporting on user data to measure your website performance. 

Collecting the right metrics can show you: 

  • How people use your site

  • The channels that generate the most website traffic

  • Your highest performing content

  • How your website leads to conversions

Use this information to optimize your website, so it pushes you toward your business goals.

👉 Web analytics key terms

If you’re new to web analytics, you’ll likely come across terms you haven’t seen before. With that in mind, here are definitions of the key web analytics terms you’ll see in this article. 

  • Data: The information collected by your website, platforms, and tools 

  • Conversion: When someone takes the action you want them to take on your website. For example, buys your product or downloads a lead-gen form.

  • Metrics: A measurable data point. For example, monthly organic traffic  

  • Goals: Long-term outcomes you want your business or website to achieve

  • Segments: A section of users or website visitors grouped due to similar characteristics


Web analytics helps you understand website performance. Here are three ways it benefits businesses.

When you created your website, you probably had a specific idea about how people would use it. 

For example:

  • E-commerce stores want people to click from their homepage to product pages and then to the checkout

  • Service companies want people to visit the landing page and sign up for a consultation. 

But without website analytics, you have no idea if people are doing what you want them to do. 

Analyzing visitor behavior provides this insight. You can then optimize the user experience to encourage the behaviors you want people to take. 

Web analytics shows you which pages on your website generate the most traffic. You can do two things with this information:

1. Optimize your high-traffic pages to increase conversions

Creating offers relevant to the content on your high-traffic pages can drive conversions. Adding forms and popups to promote these offers will increase their visibility. 

MailerLite’s signup forms make it easy to create these elements for any type of website—whether you use MailerLite’s website builder or a third-party platform like WordPress (we even have a WordPress plug-in to simplify setup). 

This article has all you need to know about optimizing your signup forms.

Signup form builder - MailerLite

2. Create similar content that will resonate with your audience

Identifying high-traffic pages shows what types of content your audience likes so you can make more of it.

Imagine a personal trainer who creates content on nutrition, exercises, and mindfulness. Web analytics shows which categories resonate with their audience most.

They can then focus their content creation efforts on the most impactful topics.

Most websites bring in traffic from multiple sources. But different sources generate different types of users, and they may not all equally contribute to your business goals. 

Web analytics shows two important things: 

  1. The exact channels people use to visit your website.

  2. How people from each channel behave on your site. 

With this information, you can focus your marketing efforts on the channels that bring the most value. Put more effort into the channels that work, and move away from those that don’t.

You can also use site analytics to track the impact of new acquisition strategies. For example, if you start a newsletter to push visitors to your site, you can see whether it has the expected impact. 


Here are some key metrics you can use to analyze your site’s performance.

👉 Web analytics tools
  • MailerLite: MailerLite’s website analytics tool shows visits, page views, heatmaps, conversions, and subscribers collected

  • Google Analytics: GA is the most popular analytics platform. It’s free and provides insight into users, website behavior, and acquisition

  • Off-site platforms: Off-site platforms can provide insight into specific parts of your marketing campaign. For example, social, organic search, or e-commerce 

Unique visitors: The number of people who visit your website in a period. Track this metric over time to see the impact of your acquisition strategies.

Website analytics dashboard showing users - MailerLite

New vs. returning visitors: The percentage of overall users that visited your site for the first time vs. the percentage that returned. Funnel web traffic to your social channels or email newsletter to increase return visits. 

Location: The country and city where your website visitors are based. Keep track of this metric if you need to bring in visitors from a specific area.

Demographics: Information about your visitors, including age, gender, and interests. See whether you attract the right people or tailor your content toward visitors. 

Traffic source: The channels people use to visit your website (search engines, referrals, social media). Measure the impact of your acquisition strategies and see how visitors from each channel behave on your website. 

Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who leave your site without taking action. A high bounce rate can mean your content isn’t engaging visitors.

Behavior flow: How people move around your site. It highlights the most common steps they take on each page. 

Average time on page: How long visitors stay on certain website pages. A high time on page suggests visitors enjoy your content.

Heatmaps: A visual representation of how people interact with a specific page on your site. Use alongside A/B tests to optimize your pages.

Webpage heatmaps - MailerLite

Pages per session: How many pages the average visitor looks at in a session. A high number of pages per session suggests people like your website and want to find out more. 

Sales and e-commerce data: Orders, total revenue, and conversion show your site’s e-commerce performance. Useful for both physical and digital products.

E-commerce web analytics dashboard - MailerLite

We hope this article has clarified some key ideas about web analytics and how it benefits your website. 

For the next steps, we recommend setting up Google Analytics if you haven’t already. You can then explore the analytics data points to begin to understand more about your website performance. 

Duncan Elder
I’m Duncan, a content writer at MailerLite. I love building websites with no-code tools and writing about what I learn. I created my first site in 2011 with Blogger—it’s safe to say that website builders have improved a lot since then!
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