Find out some of the reasons why website analytics are vital to determining the success of your website strategy.
I am a numbers fanatic. I love math, numbers and formulas and I always have. Ask some of the folks in my office and they’ll tell you I am a spreadsheet fanatic. My own personal budget is done from a spreadsheet and I can tell you where every red cent gets spent. Maybe I do it to a fault, but you won’t get me to change.
Paint by Numbers
Perhaps why I love numbers is because they paint a picture. That picture can help clarify what reality is, where you have been and where you are going. This is especially true with your website. We live in a day where a website is no longer just a necessary addition but, for many, is the lifeblood of business. Understanding the numbers angle of a website can make the difference between just getting by month –to- month and experiencing tremendous growth.
Numbers often get ignored, either because of laziness, bias to anecdotal experiences or perhaps just a lack of understanding. Understanding the analytics that make up your website is just the first step. You need to be proactive in your approach. Examples of questions to be asked are:
- Perhaps analysis shows that website visitors are repeatedly exiting on a specific page. Why is that? Is the call-to-action buried or worse, non-existent?
- What is your bounce rate? If it’s more than 30%-40%, you need to figure out why.
- How long are people staying on your page?
- How many visitors are returning to your website?
What About Strategy?
It’s not enough to have a general understanding of what the numbers mean; you will fall short if you simply react to what you are discovering. You need to map out a conversion strategy based on all that information you have gathered. Define the path you want visitors to take. If you set a goal for yourself, are you more likely to achieve it if you write it down or just think about it every so often? That was a rhetorical question, by the way. Google Analytics is a great resource for determining success and failure of meeting your goals. You can set up Goals within Analytics and determine whether or not your website is converting.
So What’s A Conversion?
Perhaps you want visitors who come from Google to your home page to move directly to your “Services” to fill out an appointment request. Or perhaps another website refers visitors to a landing page on your website, and that landing page has a contact form and a specific phone number to call. If a visitor completes your desired action, you have a conversion. If they get to one of the pages in question and then leave, you need to figure out why.
If you are an e-commerce website, the ultimate conversion is a sale. If your ratio of unique visitors to conversions isn’t what it needs to be, it should prompt a variety of questions:
- Do I have appropriate calls-to-action?
- Is my website design pleasing?
- Is it easy to navigate through the shopping experience?
- Is my checkout page simple and intuitive?
Check Your Ego at the Door
Every website has a unique function and set of goals. Ideally, you’ll sit down with your management team to chart those goals, or you’ll engage me and we’ll define your goals together. Once your plan is in place and implemented, be prepared to react to the numbers. What appears to be a good idea at the outset may not have the desired impact. It’s important to be nimble and ready to shift strategies or tweak your concept. Be flexible and willing to change.
Grow Your Business
Why are we doing all of this? To grow your bottom line. Let your website be a facilitator of business. If there are obstacles keeping potential customers from doing business with you, knock them down. Let numbers be your friend and they’ll start to paint a pretty picture.