Decide and Don't Dither With Your Data
You have Google Analytics. Great start. You run weekly traffic reports on your website. Wonderful. Let's just say you are even crunching the numbers. Okay. But are you making the right decisions as a result? Or, are you passing the buck to the so-called "experts" and allowing them decide for you? Sad but true, the latter more often than not produces decks, not decisions and speech patterns that mimic politicians that ultimately destroys the value of the data. Lesson: You decide. And to decide right, know right.
First, cut through the geeky jargon, learn what Analytics reveals and decide, not dither, if you want your website to do more for you and, more importantly, your visitors. Analytics gives you tons of vital statistics about your site for free which can be leveraged only by understanding it and following up with the right decisions.
Spending as little as an hour or two a month to understand and monitor Analytics reports can make a big difference on the bottom line. Focus your attention to the behavior of your most important pages, such as the contact us page. If Analytics tells you visitors are exiting this page at a high rate then it may be because the page looks more like a tax return versus a simple form fill. Evaluate the marketing campaigns and determine which ones are bringing value or draining your budget. You have the means to find out. But the end goal is to take corrective action.
What you decide now will pay off in real time with long-term results. Speed, however, can be a double-edged sword and one has to be careful in exercising it while making decisions. For example, your Analytics reports shows that your marketing campaign hasn't yielded a single conversion in the last four hours. Does that mean it is gate-closing time for this campaign? Of course not. You cant jump to conclusions. Consider various related factors such as multiple metrics and dig deeper into the numbers. Metrics are not proxies for performance, and they tend to cast a spell on us. When is the data interesting, and when is it actionable? This needs to be addressed carefully before making decisions on your data. But once you do the decision making will be that much easier.
If you are not sure what the data is saying or how to take corrective action then leverage the plethora of online support out there complete with helpful screenshots, audio, video and straightforward recommendations to hand-hold you through the process. If you are questioning your data then chances are another website owner has probably already experienced the same question. Besides, everyone seems to have an opinion so see what the popularity does then trust your gut instinct.
Remember, web analytics is a developing language and one that is being taught to and learned by a growing population. With the rapid development of e-commerce coupled with the ever-expanding international exchange and cooperation, the need to understand the data and make decisions becomes more and more urgent if one is to succeed online.