Understanding and using the data you can obtain from website analytics is essential if you want to bring more visitors and potential clients to your website.

Website analytics identify the “behavioral patterns” of online visitors and tell you precisely the number of visits, their duration, where those visits are from, and what visitors are looking at on your site.

Analytics are essential for a successful website that draws both new and returning visitors. Analytics offer a lot, but these are the areas where you should focus:

1. Visitors: Website analytics will tell you how many visits your website receives in a given period, how many are new visitors, how many are returning, and how much time they’re on your website (“duration”). You can even determine if visitors are coming to your site directly, from search engines, or through links on other sites.

2. Bounce Rate: The average duration is simply the average length of time visitors spend at your site. The bounce rate is determined by the visitors who only viewed the page they landed on and then left your site. A high bounce rate (50 percent or higher) means people are leaving your site without seeing other pages. You’ll want to find more (and more effective) ways to engage your audience.

3. Exit Rate: The exit rate is like the bounce rate, but it measures the visitors who viewed more at your site than just the first page where they landed. It also tells you which page they “departed” from.

Analytics can determine your website’s weak points, but analytics can also tell you what’s working, drawing visitors, and bringing them back. While a variety of analytics packages are available, Google Analytics are probably the most widely-used analytical tools. The insights provided by website analytics can help you create a popular site that keeps them coming back for more.