Traffic Data. What does it all mean and how can you get more out of it?
With free tools like Google’s Analytics and Webmaster Tools, or more powerful paid analysis tools such as Omniture, gathering data on your site is not a problem. The problem is getting useful, actionable information from Website Traffic Analysis.
At its heart the goals of Website Traffic Analysis are pretty basic – Determine which of your pages and marketing efforts are working, and which aren’t or could be doing better. To find and help prioritize which areas of your website and marketing to focus your efforts on.
Measure and understand
- Where your traffic is coming from
- What visitors do, where they go and how long they stay on your site
- Top entry pages and how can you make them better
- Find out where visitors are leaving your site and do something about it
- Determine where you can get the best ROI for your efforts and resources
- Track the results of your ongoing efforts to achieve your goals
Getting the Most Out of Website Traffic Analysis
The five basics for getting the most out of website traffic analysis start with not getting trapped in the data. With as much data as you have access to it is easy to get lost in it. Always keep in mind that the data is useless, unless it is used to drive the changes to your site and marketing efforts that better achieve your goals and objectives.
Identify Your Objectives.
The questions are easy: Why does this website exist? or What are the top three priorities of our website? The answers are hard. Without clearly defined business objectives for your site it is near impossible to get anywhere. The objectives need to be simple, easy to understand, beneficial to your organization and manageable.
Write them down, focus the efforts of your teams, your consultants and yourself on achieving them. Get buy-in from all of your stake holders.
There can be many objectives but an example of a primary objective might be increase sales.
Choose Your Goals.
Think of the objectives as the strategy and the goals as tactics or how you will reach your objectives. A business objective such as “create happy customers” or “sell more stuff” are built up by specific, objective and trackable goals such as increase x, reduce y or improve z.
Just as with the objectives everyone involved with your site should know the goals and be working to reach them.
If your objective is to increase sales, for example, one of your goals might be to increase sample requests or signups.
Determine Key Performance Indicators or KPI.
A KPI is a metric that shows you how you are doing compared to your business goals and objectives.
Web analysis tools such as Google Analytics offer countless metrics from simple such as visits or bounce rates to complex such as conversions or funnel tracking. KPIs need to be chosen that track the success or faiure to achieve the associated goal.
Set Objective Targets.
A target is a pre-determined numerical value that will tell you whether or not your site is achieving the goals and objectives you have set for it.
Knowing your targets (and they are different for each business, even direct competitors) means that you can quickly check a few numbers to see if your site is on track. If the numbers are better or worse than your targets you can dig deeper in the data to find out why.
Segment Your Data.
If you just look at your data in the aggregate all you will see are averages.
Segmenting your data, even by basic segments such as new vs. returning visitors or paid vs. non-paid search traffic, will change what you take from your traffic analysis.
If you knew that your paid traffic converted twice as often as your non-paid traffic what could you do? If you knew that returning visitors to the site ordered 5 time more often than new visitors what changes would you make to your website and your marketing efforts?
Contact us now for a free 30 minute strategy session to find out how we can help you get more out of the mountain of data that is available on your website.