Web analytics has always seemed to be a source of mystery and confusion for many people. As always to the non technical person, it is a morass of meaningless numbers that seems to have no relation with the business, but have this nagging feeling that it really is important. The technical types who enjoy digging into numbers – and I am one of them – can find all sorts of fascinating information from these metrics but can rarely link them to the business processes that they describe. The real danger is in letting the numbers person determine the web analytic parameters to measure. There has to be a balance between the business and web analytics components so that the numbers will produce viable results.
Managing a successful business means that there are key performance measures established, tracked and most importantly acted upon to improve the business. If your business has a dependency on your website to promote, sell or otherwise improve your bottom line, then linking your business measures to web analytics is critical.
No doub Google Analytics has come a long way in allowing the lay person in delivering meaningful ( or a at least pretty) set of numbers regarding your website performance. Unfortunately unless you customize your reports to meaningful measures, it is very difficult to implement actions and improvements from the generic Google report.
So what can one do? The steps are
- Know what your objectives are for your business and how the website will contribute to that success.
- Identify the business processes that link to the website and your overall business success.
- Establish business measures that link to that success, such as increased revenues, more sign ups etc
- Establish a benchmark so that you have something to measure against
- Then extract the numbers that will reflect the desired performance measure ( needless to say this is the hard part)
- Start tracking, establish patterns and then
- start innovating and changing different elements of your website, marketing strategy or usability of the website.
- Optimize your website and business processes to meet your business objectives.
I am sure that this appears to very high level and begs the question how do I really do this, and there is no easy answer other than follow a successful process and persevere. The end results will be worth it.
Zanka Consulting has been involved in website redesign for many years and applying a well defined and tested process for web strategies including business performance measures. Our experience has shown that much of the problems that organizations have is by skimping on the front end strategy and analysis part and going directly into the web coding and visual design.
You can avoid many problems by linking your business process to your web analytics and benefiting from your website.