Web analytics are confusing, but they shouldn’t be. There’s so many numbers, and it can be overwhelming to see all of that raw data. The truth is, a lot of them might not be useful to you in every situation. In reality, you might only need one or two metrics at any given time. But how do you know which metrics are of the most value, and when? How do I use these metrics and keep my business growing? This article will discuss the key things to keep in mind when figuring out the best way to use your web analytics.
What Can Metrics Tell You on a Strategic Level?
You need to know what metrics can tell you before you can use them to improve your business. Some of these are straightforward and one-to-one, while others require you to do a little extrapolating for yourself. For example, if a particular blog post gets a huge spike of traffic, metrics can’t tell you why — that’s for you to figure out. Figuring out what metrics mean is half the battle.
Know Your Goals
You need to know what you are trying to accomplish with the data you are looking at, otherwise all you’re seeing are meaningless numbers. What are you trying to accomplish? Even if it’s not as specific as “I want to grow my subscriber list by 10% by next quarter”, you need to have a general idea of what you want to accomplish, even if it’s just “I want my subscriber list to grow”. In fact, the more vague your goals at this stage the better, as you don’t yet have any data to assess whether or not your goals are realistic. The best way to figure out what your goals should be is to look at the sales funnel and go from there. We’ve discussed the sales funnel in previous posts, but as a refresher:
- Top of the Funnel (TOFU): The top of the funnel is all about awareness. You’re trying to get people to learn about your business and come to your site for the first time, so monitoring how many new visitors you get (and from where) is your priority here.
- Middle of the Funnel (MOFU): The middle of the funnel is all about converting the new visitors into leads by getting them to subscribe or download an introductory offer (usually free with the exchange of contact information).
- Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU): The bottom of the funnel is where you convert your subscribers into customers. You’re going to want to focus on how much money your customers have spent, and how long after their first visit to your site it took them to purchase.
Keeping these in mind, set goals for your business and figure out which metrics best correspond with these goals. Not every metric will be important all the time, so making sure they line up with particular goals is key.
Know What’s Working
After you’ve set your goals and know what metrics are important and when, you need to watch them carefully. Are they trending up or down? Are there spikes in the numbers after certain things happen? What are those things? Try to replicate what seems to be going right. If a particular offer seems to convert more buyers, perhaps consider how you can extend that offer more frequently. If a particular writer’s blog post gets a lot of traffic, think about what they’re doing that makes their posts so successful, and see if you can get your other writers to replicate that.
Use the Your Findings to Alter Your Strategy
You’ve got general goals, you’ve seen patterns, now it’s time to put them to use. Now is the time you take that information and apply it. You know what seems to be working, so now you can put into effect the changes that will help your business to grow.
Remember, don’t make too many changes at once. If too many things change and something goes wrong, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine which change caused the problem. Some questions you should ask when looking at your metrics are:
- What are people searching for? Knowing this, you can tailor your website’s SEO and keywords to drive people to you by being more relevant.
- What topics get the most traffic and attention? By doubling down on these, you’ll increase traffic. However, doubling down on the wrong topics can be detrimental.
- Where does the traffic come from? By knowing this, you can focus advertising more accurately.
- How do visitors behave on your website? THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! This helps you understand why certain pages on your site are getting more traffic than others, and what content people like so you can create more.
At the End of the Day
Web analytics are important, but learning how to best put them to use takes time. It’s daunting, but necessary. The important thing to remember is you’re never done analyzing and testing, trying to improve your numbers by figuring out what’s working and what not.
Not sure if you are getting the most out of your web analytics? We can help! Contact us here for more information.