Monday, November 16, 2009

Ways you can use Web Analytics to Double your Website's Value

by Neil Dwyer

Google Analytics is a free statistical analysis package that everyone should have on their website and review monthly. There are two reasons why :

1. Because when you know how visitors to your website are using it, you are armed with information you can use to make quality decisions on how to change it in ways that are likely to deliver more business.

2. It's very powerful and easy to use

These are our top two ways you can use it to double the value of your website. They're just the tip of the iceberg...

Website Overlay Tool - Analytics can produce a visual overlay of your website, allowing you to see how many people and what percentage of visitors to any given page, clicked on the links that are present on it. This is very important information for the purpose of refining your website. If you can see that the fourth link in your menu is the most popular with visitors, why not promote it to a more prominent position where more visitors are going to see it in their brief scan of your site? You'll get more conversions out of the same number of visitors by using the overlay tool.

Benchmarking - The benchmarking tool allows you to pit your website against others in the same industry classification as yours. If you participate in the benchmarking programme, you can compare your site's stats against the combined average of at least 100 other sites in the same industry. In return, anonymous data from your website is added to the combined average for others to benchmark against.

The results can be very educational. You can see whether you perform better than others on:

* No of visits in a given time period

* Page views per visit

* Time spent on site per visit

* Pages viewed, per visit

* Bounce rate (the number of times only one page on your site was viewed before the user clicked away, expressed as a percentage of total visits)

If you are performing better than your competitors, you can be sure you're doing the right things on your website to optimise both its attractiveness and usability. If you find that you are below average, say, on the time spent per visit, you can try new options like rewriting your content or adding an online chat feature to engage your prospects while they're on your site. After a month or so, you'll be able to see if you've closed the gap.

Goal Setting - If there's a certain page on your website, like your contact form, that you want to drive prospects towards, you can set up goal monitoring and check how the traffic you're attracting to your site moves towards that goal page. You can view a visual representation of your conversion funnel and see which page in the process is losing the most prospects. By using the map overlay tool and by investigating other stats on that particular page you can make informed decisions about what to change to see if your conversion stats improve.

Review Monthly - Just like any good marketing tool, regular review will yield the most useful information. The typical website will attract enough visitors every month to make some informed judgements. Make it part of someones job description or farm it out to a marketing company like ours. A review should take 30-45 minutes.

About the Author

Neil Dwyer is the director of Strategy & Action. A marketing consultancy located in Springwood, QLD.