Website Analytics Keeping it Simple

Posted on August 29, 2010

This blog post came about after reading Joanna Butler’s brilliant blog post Turning Website Analytics into Child’s Play. I wanted to follow on from what Joanna was talking about and add my thoughts to making your web analytics data more fun and not a chore. For reference this post assumes you have a basic understand of website analytics, I will be doing a post in the future teaching you about the basics of website analytics.

With all the data we now collect from our websites, it is even more important to action and report on that fantastic data.

Website analytics can teach us more than just numbers and plain statistics, with the right reporting it can help you to make better and more informed business decisions.

5 Tips to Make Website Analytics More Fun

Joanna mentioned the following 5 tips that you should follow in order to make your website analytics easier and most of all fun. I’ve added my thoughts to each of Joanna’s tips.

  1. Set Simple Goals – To begin with, I’d suggest you start by setting out some achievable goals. This might be increasing your organic search engine traffic by 10% over the next month, or increasing your daily visitors by 20%. If your tracking any goals or marketing objectives on your website e.g. online sales. Then you might set yourself a target of improving sales by 2%. If you set out clear goals it gives you something to focus your efforts on, once you achieve said goals then set some new ones. Challenge yourself to continually improve your website performance.
  2. Keep Reporting Fun – I love data but when people are presented with lots of it, it seems to drain every part of creativity in the human brain. Don’t focus on presenting masses of information, use key points to highlight your accomplishments and achievements. Joanna mentioned using spreadsheet software to design lovely charts and graphs, you can also present key points in a presentation slide.

    You can present key website data in slide form. Slide design by Smartdog.

  3. Be Inquisitive – I’m personally very inquisitive by nature I like to find out things by exploring and experimenting with the possibilities. The best data I have reported on was found by being inquisitive. Don’t believe every stat you read, try and find more than one answer to support your theories. Explore the possibilities try find answers to questions that haven’t been asked yet, it might surprise you what you could find out.
  4. Become an Analytics Superhero – Build on your knowledge by exploring your data, test your assumptions of that data and challenge yourself to make it work harder for you. Keep testing and look to continually improve on your goals. Remember, you can always make your website better. Network with other web masters to discuss ideas for refining your data and learn from your peers.
  5. Website Statistics Need Attention Too –  I would urge you to check your web analytics data everyday, note down any specific events or changes that are of specific note. E.g. A particular blog post got exposure and traffic from a major authority or you began a paid search campaign. Be proactive, logging events and peaks in traffic can help you to determine the success of your actions and their impact on your data. It will also give you something to refer back to if your asked to report the outcomes and statistics since a particular event or marketing activity began. Analytics is my home away from home and it should be yours too.

Focus on the Key Fundamentals

I believe success happens by focusing on the key fundamentals.

  • Track Your Conversion Funnel: Track your funnel. Know all of the metrics at each point, monitor areas where users fall out. Improve those areas and improve the paths for your visitors who convert through your website funnel.
  • Focus Your Reporting : Avoid getting to consumed by analysis. Establish your key metrics clearly to monitor on a daily basis and use these as a basis for optimisation and improvement moving forward.
  • Automate Your Data: Use available tools to quickly identity opportunities and threats. Getting quick access to this information will help save you time developing and managing your analytics data.

5 Key Reasons Why You Should Report on your Website Data

  1. It will teach you about your customers, who they are and where they are located.
  2. You can learn where to focus your marketing efforts most effectively.
  3. You will learn what people search for to find your website.
  4. You can improve the performance of your website, helping you to improve conversions and marketing objectives on your website.
  5. You can understand user behavior on your website, to improve your content, message and sales pitch.

 

For more tips about online marketing, you should also read my blog post on ‘Online Marketing Keep it Simple‘. You can also follow Joanna Butlers updates on Twitter @JoannaButler.