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Consider these essential web analytics basics when researching a website for sale

by    |    Mar 13, 2019    |       3 min read

In an age where development and monetization of one’s own website still remain a challenge, the acquisition of an existing one presents a great opportunity for numerous potential benefits. Investors can hardly ignore the opportunity to get access to the present level of traffic, upgrade their conversion rates, create new leads and acquire potential customers. However, this process is not without innate risks, and it should be approached just like any other “offline” acquisition that involves detailed evaluation, due diligence, and assessment of the website’s stats. Would you buy a car relying just on the words of a silver-tongued salesman? Read on for more information about web analytics basics that act as your sturdiest shield against being duped or ripped off of your hard earned money.

Profiling Valuable Customers with Web Analytics Basics

For starters, web analytics allow you to track, monitor and analyze the performance of the website you want to buy, meaning that you need to get your hands dirty with a lot of data. To further abuse the car purchase analogy, checking relevant analytical data on the website you want to buy is an equivalent of taking a car for a test ride.

One of the first things to do is to ask for permission to be granted access to all the relevant data, including that related to the traffic, as the cornerstone of any web analytics research. Think of it as an equivalent to monitoring the coming and going of customers in a retail store your eye for potential purchase. Therefore, you need to detect the source of traffic, its quality, sustainability, and diversification.

This can play an essential role in assessing the value of traffic itself. For example, detecting the country of origin of the visitors helps you determine their potential value in the context of the basic consideration of their average purchasing power as a factor.

Just the same, analytics allow you to check if the traffic comes from developing countries, a fact that potentially renders it less valuable, particularly from the point of view of e-commerce websites. If you are buying a website with a clearly developed commercial goal in mind, determining the geographical and demographic value of traffic can play a key role in determining the suitability of your potential purchase by means of analytics. Once you establish the visitor’s profile in this manner, you can use analytics to determine other essential metrics, such as their bounce and conversion rates, session duration, pages per session and others. In addition to this, you can check information on the device or OS that your customers use to access the website of your interest.

This information can be useful analytical data in many future considerations, such as when planning a potential re-design of the site, modifying its content, evaluating a marketing approach and its effectiveness based on observed value related to tracking of sales, generation of leads, conversion rates, user behavior, and other parameters.

Keeping an Eye on Traffic Trends

Analysis of prevailing trends pertaining to traffic is an essential effort that you need to undertake with the help of analytical tools. These evaluations should be done for all channels on various time interval bases. Despite the preference for seeing balanced and steady traffic trends for the website you want to buy, you can use analytics to observe spikes in its traffic. These observations are key in managing the negotiations process with the seller or owner of the website. They’ll need to explain reasons for such spikes and their potential impact on generated revenues.

Keeping an eye on trends is closely related to appraising types of traffic, as these data can give you quality insights to the overall “health” of the site itself. For example, detected high-level performance in case of direct or referral traffic can be a cause for further investigation into its properties. A seller of the site can explain this by referring to the strength of the site branding, which you can confirm by going through branded search volume and comparing it to traffic. Establishing links between search volume and generated traffic can be an important consideration, as sites can generate referral traffic from pages whose performance in relation to search engine results may be lacking, or from unverified or random sources, warranting further investigation into the matter. Therefore, verifying that the traffic comes from trusted websites remains an important analytical effort you will need to act on.

Observing traffic-related trends by means of analytics is significant if you consider penalties as well. The data you acquire can help you detect key upward and downward trend changes, their reflections on the site and measures that the owner has undertaken in order to deal with them. The same goes for doing backlink checking, as sites exhibiting shady profiles in this context are hardly a quality acquisition, even if they earn their owner money.

 essential web analytics basics chart

Source: University Business Magazine

Keywords Can Be Key

Evaluating the degree to which the site generates organic traffic is an important analytical consideration in establishing the link between visitors’ interactions with the website of interest and their conversion rates. In the case of organic traffic, you will need to check the keywords that the site ranks for. In case of e-commerce, for example, sites getting visitors who are intent on buying stuff from them to offer better conversion rates compared to the sites with a similar purpose that get traffic only in relation to informative content that ranks for non-buying keyword (such as informative blog posts). In this case, you can determine important indicators, for example, whether the keyword rankings exhibit consistency or not, or if the traffic is balanced against the volume of used keywords.

Determining what keywords the website of your interest ranks for means that you will be able to correlate metrics related to the traffic with the rankings the site offers. If the website is dedicated to selling stuff, you know that its visitors’ quality will be higher in the sense of conversion goals if you observe that it gets a certain number of visitors by ranking for a buying keyword or keyphrase, compared to the one that is, for example, of informative nature. The importance of checking keyword rankings and clicks means that your research of a website before purchase will be easier if you ask the seller to be given access Google Webmaster Tools in addition to both Google Analytics and any other analytical tools that you use.

Conclusion

To sum up, web analytics represents an essential consideration in the due diligence process that you want the website of your interest to go through. It involves measuring, collecting and, most importantly, interpreting the data of the website that you want to buy. Paying enough attention to this segment together with timely preparation of adequate related tools will spare you many future headaches in ensuring that your investment in the purchase of a website is secure, profitable and sustainable.

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