Someone once said that simply installing a web analytics tool is like buying a pair of high-tech trainers to help you run a marathon. And then never going for a run. Simply owning trainers will not make you run farther or faster – if they never leave the wardrobe. In the same way, having access to web analytics an not using the data properly, will not help your business.
I wish I could remember who used this metaphor, so I could thank him (that much I recall) as it describes the problem of analytics so well. Almost every website has access to some form of analytics or visitor data, but in most cases, lack of knowledge or time are responsible for this vault of valuable information collecting (virtual) dust.
In the simplest form, web analytics is the analysis of data collected on a website with the aim of understanding the website visitors’ behaviour and optimising the site’s conversions. There are generally two types:
Off-site analytics: as the name suggests, refers to the measurement of website data that does not happen directly on the site. It can include market research, potential audience size, social media audiences, and any other data that represent your site’s opportunities. As measurement strategist and former Google EMEA head of web analytics Brian Clifton said, “off-site web analytics tools measure your potential website audience. They are the macro tools that allow you to see the bigger picture of how your website compares to others.”
On-site analytics: this is what most people think about when they talk about analytics. It is the information collected about a website’s visitors, as a result of them visiting at least one page of the website – at least once. The amount of data collected depends on the analytics service used, but almost all will include information such as the location of visitors, the number of pages visited, time on site, entry and exit pages and bounce rates. Many tools allow you to set up conversion goals to track the commercial success of a website.
If you own a website you should install analytics and monitor the collected data regularly. There is a misconception that analytics only offer stats about website traffic and visitor numbers. Although this information is available, it represents only a small portion of what analytics can do.
Think of it as your web site’s fitness monitor. A window to your site’s health, highlighting any concerns or issues that need addressing immediately. Just like a fitness monitor, you can set goals to improve your website’s health and monitor the effects of the work you are doing. Then you keep optimising to make it run more efficiently.
If you don’t have any web analytics set up, the first thing to do is set this up for you. If you have developers working for you, I will work with them. For most businesses and individuals, Google’s free tools Google Analytics and Google Search Console will be more than enough to understand your website’s performance. You will have access to a lot of data but I’ll teach you how to focus on what matters to your business. For many small businesses and entrepreneurs, this will be audience demographics, online behaviours, traffic sources and key word ranking.
Once fully installed, I’ll conduct an in-depth analysis of your current data and work with you to understand how your site is performing against your business goals. When expectations and results are not aligned, I’ll create a detailed roadmap of what changes or improvements are needed. My step-by-step recommendations always align with the resources and skillset you have available. I don’t believe in drowning you in optimisation tasks you cannot and will not achieve.
Contact me today to discuss how I can help you implement, understand and improve your site’s analytics data.