As you start to take your communications to the next level, it’s more important to understand how your website is used as a tool for your program as well as a means to communicate with customers and your stakeholders.

This means thinking ahead of the audience – whether its your internal team members or external stakeholders – so that the content you deliver can better meet their needs or interests.

An important and easy way to monitor the type of content your audiences are after is by checking on your web traffic daily.  Log-in to google analytics and take notes on a few key elements:

Look at your weekly overview and visits each day. 

Did your traffic spike yesterday? And did the increase happen because of any program emails or communications efforts like a webinar or an in-person event?

One of the best ways to put your finger on the pulse of your web traffic is by checking your analytics when you are sending out email blasts or newsletters. You can easily segment the resources gaining the most popularity while getting a better sense on the type of outreach that gets your audience clicking and downloading, or taking a specific action.

I use a few views to see my overview and visits by day but really like to go to “behavior” then “site content” then “all pages”.

Understand your content and top pages and where the views for these pages are coming from.

Take a close look at your top pages. You can do this in a number of ways – but I like to see top pages under behavior, and when I do this, I opt into as many rows as I can until there are no more rows to show.

With a quick scroll there is often a break in the rows (this is just how I talk about each page and its number of views by the page) and where that break happens, I look above that line to see what is going on. By looking every day, I will notice if new content comes and goes; or if there is always content that is at the top.

This is important to know to understand what is working as well as where you may want to focus more.

Look at the big-picture and how your traffic happens. See if it is direct, a referral or from a social source.

Knowing where your audiences come from will help you build better and more strategic relationships with other companies and help differentiate what you do from your competitors.

So let’s say an organization shares your resource or a link to your site. What else could you be engaging on? And did they share the resource using social media or by linking in a newsletter or on their website.

Get the full picture by moving from the behavior bucket in google analytics into acquisition mode.

Under acquisition, there are a number of ways to dig in. A good place to start is “all traffic” then “referrals”. This shows every website that has linked to yours.

You can also see when the traffic to your site is from your social media outlets, and if there’s a lot then – way to go and power to you! You should keep using this community and get to know more about the posts that work and why, but we can talk about another time.

So if you see the traffic coming in from other sources and you didn’t tell them to post anything – take this awareness of who is talking about you and through what social platforms as data points to make some decisions.

Based on what you learn about who is engaging with what content and by doing so everyday is key to fostering conversations and growing your community.