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Website traffic reports: How to determine which "things" to measure
Ah, the joys of website statistics. Do you just scratch your head trying to make sense of the report's techno-babble? How much do you really understand? Can you differentiate between a stellar month and a poor month, or good design from bad? Can you identify website problem areas?
Most of you read these reports, but have no idea what to look for.
Well that's about to change...
Before we look at what to measure, let's address why we measure. You should measure website effectiveness to help track advertising ROI, success (or shortcomings) in accomplishing website objectives, the impact of changes, and business function improvement.
You should track and measure the "things" you expect from your website as they relate to your job role and business. And please don't kid yourself...
If I hear one more website manager tell me "We just want people to read our information," I'm going to explode. Do yourself (and me) a favor, and ask yourself: Why do I want visitors to read our information?
Which would you rather tell your boss?
1. Hey boss, people leave never to return after they read the information on our website!
2. Hey boss, people inquire and buy from us after they read the information on our website!
Remember, potential customers constantly use your website to decide among purchase alternatives. Every entering visitor represents an opportunity to sell your service, product, or brand.
With that said, let's take a look at what to measure...
Revisit the purpose of your website. What are its objectives? What do you want visitors to do once inside? What are your expectations? Thisdetermines what you measure.
Here are a couple of ideas...
You may want to grow your newsletter distribution list. If that's the case, track the number of visitors who subscribe (during the report period) and compare it to the total number of entering unique visitors. That percentage is your website's macro-conversion rate for acquiring newsletter subscriptions. Take it a step further. Was it an increase or decrease? How many didn't subscribe?
Note: you may have to pull data from sources other than your website statistic report. (We track total unique visitors with Web Trends, but track newsletter subscription totals with a database.)
Track micro-conversion rates to help pinpoint problem areas. For example, what percentage of visitors did not click beyond your home page? What percentage viewed your contact form, but failed to submit it?
Track the components that support the objective.
For example, how long did an average visitor stay inside your website? How long did she stay on a specific service page? This will help pinpoint problem areas. Key metrics can prove website improvements are necessary.
Here's another key ingredient...
Which search terms did visitors use to find your website? Are they relevant to your business? If not, your website will struggle. Irrelevant search terms will reduce homepage effectiveness, which hurts the macro-conversion rate and ultimately prevents online success.
Much like a golf swing, every aspect of web design (market research, information architecture, content development, copywriting, functionality design, technology alignment, merchandising strategies, action-oriented incentives, graphic design, usability testing, search engine optimization and traffic building) must work together perfectly to be effective and go the distance.
Yeah, yeah, yeah - it's golf season.
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The Website Profit Doctors are a Chicago Area Website Help Company who can transform your “information only” website into a profitable customer acquisition tool.
Primary website help services include: Website Improvements, Website Redesigns & Makeovers, Custom Website Development, Responsive Website Development, Google AdWords Advertising, Bing Ads Advertising, Google Analytics Set Up, Strategic Planning & Coaching, Competitive Intelligence & Research, Purchase Process Assessments, Lead Capture Assessments, Website Maintenance & Support Packages.
Primary website help products include: Small Business eCommerce Website, Small Business Blog Website, Small Business Website.
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