Evaluating a website’s statistics before buying
Online business expansion can profit a lot from diversification and its contemporary potential in the world of virtual commerce is virtually limitless, pun intended. One of the best ways for achieving this is through website purchase, as the procedure itself does not entail the fine art of re-inventing the wheel. Instead, you can approach it as seriously as possible as you undertake buying a real estate — with an eagle sharp eye and adequate tools. Checking website statistics in form of traffic metrics, analytics and visitor tracking remain key factors to keep tabs on before buying and monetizing a virtual property such as a website.
Virtual Due Diligence
Despite the relative ease with which you can determine your goals, evaluation of individual sites is still at the core of making a valuable business decision. The process is called auditing and investors will spend as much time on preparing it as on the “due diligence” itself.
First of all, you need to set up your parameters right and straight. The best way is to start with the list, which is usually topped by considerations such as the website’s popularity which you want to turn into a profitable endeavor. After deciding on it, you will have a clearer picture of another important factor which is its long term sustainability and optimization potential, which will be your primary shield against wasting time and money on well-presented trash. Luckily for you, the data on this are rather exact and you’ll be hardly played for a fool if you pay enough attention to the bread and butter of each website — its traffic parameters within larger overview of web analytics.
Avoiding Numerical Pitfall
It all begins with the visitors as the alpha and omega in any consideration involving purchase of a website. These refer to the number of persons visiting a website of your interest during a specific time period, such as week, month, year or even yesterday or part of the day. In essence, the higher number of visitors the site has, the more money you can potentially make.
Potentially? Yes, you should not rush into blindly worshipping the numbers, as the type i.e. the quality of traffic plays even more important role. Its authenticity should be among the first things to check as inorganic traffic can give you a false picture. Determining the percentage of organic traffic is considered to be an important indicator of the site’s traffic sustainability. Buyers should pay more attention to the traffic originated on social media or similar referrals, as it offers less in terms of consistence. Detecting lack of social media sources can offer opportunity for growth is this segment.
One of the first addresses that comes to mind is good old Google Analytics, as a free and information heavy source of mostly reliable data, assuming the buyer provides access to Google Analytics as something the buyer should insist on. It provides information on website traffic, and, more importantly, on the behavior of its visitors. Upon checking its Dashboard, you can get insight into daily number of visitors, as well as most important traffic sources. The information can show you that the website traffic is mostly generated via referral sites, social bookmarking or search engines as all of these could be important evaluation factors. However, don’t be surprised if getting access to this type of data grows into a challenge. Keep in mind that in case the seller does not want to provide access to these data, the risk of going further with your investment lies solely with you.
Another consideration are keywords that are used as a gateway to reaching the website of interest.
Their importance is also emphasized by the fact that these have multiple sub-terms — shopping keywords, high-profit keywords, or our favorite — money keywords. Money keywords are the ones that match queries to real buyers. People using these keywords to search have one hand on the keyboard, while holding their credit card in the other, waiting to do some spending. They can be anything from the list of products and services you’re offering, to whatever your target group might be Googling for as they look for your product. It takes time and effort to dig up the right money keywords — but it’s an investment which pays dividends.
Google Analytics can be used to check keywords generating organic traffic to the website. For example, UK company IPSL understood this well by when it decided to implement a strategy that involved identifying and targeting keywords offering only the highest potential for significantly increasing their ROI. After a single month only, their increase in conversion rates was fantastic 245 percent! The same goes for pages as part of the website and determining its most popular content. These numbers show the size of audience that the site interacts with and you want to be aware of it as part of your auditing efforts.
Analytics to Detect Traffic Anomalies
A thing to be highly wary of is inflated numbers by means of paid traffic from “exotic” or developing countries. If detected, potential buyers of a website should try their best to avoid falling into this trap. Being able to assign value to your future customer creates the need for establishing their origin and this segment of web metrics is something you do not wish to avoid. Similar risk are bots designed for increasing traffic on websites. Their main task is to mimic traffic derived via search engines, referral or social media sources. Google analytics can have a hard time detecting them and that is why it pays off to familiarize yourself with them by means of numerous tools available online. Some of these are Similarweb.com, Backlinkwatch.com, Semrush.com and others.
Another indicator of potential problems might be sharp declines of traffic, which may be the result of Google issuing an update that might lead to the site being penalized. This is done parallel to evaluation of a website’s traffic, that is visitor tracking. Google updates are often aimed at combating proliferation of poor quality content or ensuring that the site is, for example, mobile friendly. Make sure to check if the site was impacted by these updates in case you detect sudden drop in its traffic.
Keeping Tabs on Page Metrics
Sources of the traffic for a website that you want to purchase are key factors of its evaluation. Risks associated with it are best mitigated when we determine that generated traffic is highly diversified. Your safest bet is seeing that it mostly involved varied and various multiple channels. An important segment to check is determining which page within a website generates most traffic. In addition to its elementary function, this serves to determine the level of diversification of traffic in relation to the most popular content. Potential website buyers can make good use of establishing that a single page accounts for the majority of traffic in terms of percentage.
Another scenario is even distribution of traffic within the scope of page view metrics. In terms of making future business decisions, spreading traffic among the pages can be an invaluable element in prioritizing this segment of webpage analytics. This effectively means that the loss of one page from the site would not hit general traffic metrics as hard as possible, keeping it stable even in these circumstances.
Closely related to this is determining ranking of the site according to the keywords and its corresponding searches. This is demonstrated in the manner of percentage of generated traffic that is linked to each keyword. Situations in which a single keyword generates huge percentages of traffic are not uncommon. Yet, the potential buyer needs to take this as a warning not to allow the website to depend on this tenuous link with the rest of the web and gaining insight into this parameter can help you plan ahead with managing room for improvement of your future acquisition.
An Eye on Statistics Protects Your Future Investment
Gaining insight into website traffic metrics and statistics is key pre-purchase consideration when preparing for buying a website. The role of analytics can hardly be overstated as it is not sufficient to pay attention to the mere figures which need to be translated into analytical data pointing to the quality of traffic sources and its channels. In addition to making your decision on buying a website more informed, think of this auditing process as an investment into the future commercial viability of your enterprise and it is bound to pay off.
Originally published at blog.revenuehits.com.