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Annual Website Analytics Offer Most Important Insights

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Annual analytics

Annual website analytics are the most important and insightful analytics for all site publishers.

Analytic fanatics such as myself easily get caught up in how a day, week or month did compared to the previous day, week or month.

But a full year compared to the previous year is a great way to compensate for short-term anomalies. They include weather, vacations, holidays, economic changes and other factors. These factors may increase or decrease traffic compared to previous weekly or monthly analytics.

Other methods with annual analytics include comparing the most recent month with the same month from a year ago.

Yearly analytics may reveal pleasant surprises. They are a lot more fun than the unpleasant ones.

For example, year over year comparisons may show that social media account A is sending much more traffic. Account B is sending less. As a result, a site publisher may put more time into A and less into B.

Good and Bad News in Yearly Analytics

Good news about an entire year in website analytics is motivation for an online publisher to reflect on the possible causes. They cover wide territory such as:

  • More frequent postings
  • Longer postings
  • Better quality postings
  • Better search engine optimization
  • More backlinks.

Unfortunately, bad news about an entire year also is motivation for publishers to figure out what went wrong (if they don’t know already).

As I mentioned above, a publisher might jump to the conclusion that several periods throughout the year such as summer and the holidays in November and December have shown a surprising drop in audience. Comparing those periods to the year before may reveal some easy answers: summer vacations and winter holidays.

If those periods are lower than the same periods of the previous year, they indicate deeper problems at work.

When to Compare Website Analytics

For business and corporate reporting, the obvious time for publishers to analyze and compare annual analytics is at the end of the year. But the end of any month and quarter also are good times for year-over-year comparisons.

Most professional online publishers post and distribute audience numbers at least monthly if not weekly. Weekly of course is better for short-term analysis because it keeps audience performance top of mind.

Anyone who posts monthly numbers may find it helpful to post how the month did not just compared to the previous month but also to the same month a year ago. Actually, the month of the previous year is more important than just the previous month. It is a much more accurate apples-to-apples comparison.

Likewise, publishers will find more insights by reporting the last 12 months at the end of each month and comparing it to the full 12 months of the previous year.

There is no need to wait until Dec. 31 to find out how the year ended or how it did compared to the previous year. Just do it every month.

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