Let’s face it. A well designed, thoughtful website isn’t cheap. It’s an investment in your brand, your business and your self. It’s a leap of faith.
It’s also your best salesperson. The first impression a lot – if not most – of your clients have with your company. Website analytics are a way for you to hold your site accountable the way you would any other member of your sales team.
The beauty of using your website as a marketing tool is that almost everything is trackable. Measurable. Countable. You can use Google Analytics, for free, or pay services such as Adobe Marketing Cloud or WebTrends.
Like Peter Drucker said – “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
Here are five easy ways to use those website analytics.
1. Define & measure your marketing goals. Before you start building your site, you need to define what exactly you’re expecting it to do for you. Make sure you identify clear and realistic business goals so that you have numbers to compare against after you go live. These goals can be simple (overall visitors, time spent on a part of your site) or more complex (increase brand recognition, decrease cost per conversions, improve traffic from a foreign country). They are easily tied to behavioral actions on the website and can be measured as such.
2. Assess your search engine positioning. This is the easy one and probably the most familiar use of analytics. You can easily see the search terms for which visitors are finding your website. If you dig a little deeper, you can follow which search & PPC keywords lead to behavioral events like filling out your contact form or requesting an online demo of your product. You can also see if certain phrases lead to people spending more or less time on your site (indicative of whether those terms relate directly to what you’re offering).
3. Make your site more user-friendly and navigable. Looking at how your visitors find you is important, but you can also use analytics to find out what they do once they get there. If they’re going straight to the FAQ, you know you need to step up your content to start answering questions right off the bat. If they are going directly from your homepage to your products page but then are detouring through your blog, you might want to figure out why they aren’t getting to the shopping cart. If visitors exit frequently from a page, you may want to redesign it.
4. Track bandwidth usage and broken links. Your analytics & webmaster tools can help you find out what functions and pages on your site are bandwidth hogs and where visitors are encountering broken links so that you can make internal improvements. Now that Google officially uses site performance as a ranking factor, making your site faster is more important than ever. Identify pages where load time is high and improve performance by reducing image sizes, reducing the amount of JS & CSS files needed, and streamlining the code.
5. Plan your marketing campaigns. If you knew that all of your potential customers are at their computers at 1:30 pm every Tuesday, you’d likely want to send them your e-mail at that time, right? Or if people from Buffalo, New York tend to buy 3x more widgets from your site than any other purchasers, you’d want to spend a little more on PPC campaigns targeted to that region. Your website analytics can help you see where your visitors are from and when they’re online, so that you can target your campaigns demographically, geographically, and by time of day.
If you’re lost when you log in to Google Analytics or don’t even know if you’ve got them set up on your site, give us a shout and we’ll get you up and running. Decisions are best made based on actual data, and analytics are a free and easy way to make informed decisions about your website.