Things to do to move your internet business forward using web site analytics
1) Look at your web site for usability for your customers. Is it too busy? Is there a clear call to action? Are there too many ads? Will anyone come back or sign up to the RSS feed because they enjoyed the time there and they found a solution to their problem or question. Action: Remove some ads from your site if you have more than a couple, be sure that your site looks pleasant to the eye and has a clear call to action on each page or blog post.
2) Look at your Blog theme or website design. Is it clean and pleasant to look at? Action: consider getting a nice clean theme for your blog. Often a premium theme is better than a free theme and has better coding. Action: Look at changing your blog theme if it is not easy to look at and pleasing to the eye. For my site I plan to start using the Thesis blog theme or a Studio Press Theme with clean code and pleasant colors and a nice look.
3) Check the code of your site. Google and disabled people like clean code and it is to the benefit of your web site purpose to have clean code. Action: go to W3C.org and validate the code on your site for HTML and CSS. Be sure to correct all errors and do not worry about the warnings as much. If you are able to clean the code all the way be sure to add the W3C Validated HTML and CSS logos on your site.
4) You are using Google analytics right? If not be sure to get a Google analytics account and add the code to each of your sites and then add the tracking code to your conversion pages. For web sites you can add it just before the last body tag or in your footer so it is on each page or if you have a blog, you can use a blog plug in like Google analytics plug in. Google Analytics is the best free analytics tool available. There is a great resource to learn about Google analytics at http://analytics.blogspot.com/. Action: Verify that you have Google analytics on all your web pages and conversion pages and use analytics to track your conversions.
5) Do you understand “Why” customers come to your website? Write down the target person that you expect to arrive there and what they may expect to get while there.
Action: Write down the “why customers come to my site”. Write down the target audience with as many demographics as possible. Now look at your site through the eyes of your target audience. Are they getting what they want when they arrive at your website or blog? Is it easy to navigate and find the solution to the question or problem they are trying to solve when they get there? If it is great, if not make the necessary changes to have a fun exciting site for your customers that is easy to navigate and without too many distractions as mentioned in number one above.
6) Have you requested feedback on your site from your visitors or from people you know in your target market? Often time’s candid feedback can be very useful in determining if your site meets the needs of you target market. Action: Set up an exit survey on your site so that visitors can provide feedback on the results of their visit or go to a forum in your niche and post a request for site feedback. You may be surprised at the results. Take action based on the survey or site feedback and then continue to request site feedback about each three months or if doing a exit survey continue to use the exit survey, yet use a script that only asks each participant each three months or so. This way you do not bug your visitors with a survey with each visit.
7) Are you selling something or looking for your visitors to take action on your site? If you are, try Google web site optimizer to test two different pages to see which one performs better. Only have one thing be different on each page that you are testing so you will know what the change is that is performing better. Action: Set up Google Web site optimizer on your web site and test two different web pages to see which one performs better and then make the better performing site the main site and make another change to test. Keep testing and making changes and you will see improved performance or conversion with each change.
8) Be sure you know what the success metrics are for your web site. Are you looking to capture email subscribers? RSS readers? Sell a product? Increase the trend of repeat visitors? Be sure to start to measure the success of your web site using analytics. Use the “So What” measurement. For your metrics, it they increase in a way you desire, is it making you more money? Are your readers happier? Be sure that you work to improve things that have a good “So what” factor. Google analytics can measure conversions for you by adding a code to the thank you page for a new email subscriber or a sale. Feedburner can measure the new RSS subscribers. Action: Write down your success metrics for your web site and start to track it. Then take actions and test to see if it improves the results. Remember that when you have the data, you need to analyze it to turn the data into information. Use the information to make changes and then rinse and repeat.
9) If you are not familiar with all that Google analytics offers, I suggest you go there and spend some time reading and watching the tutorials. Google analytics is very powerful and there is no reason to go buy Click tracks, Click Tale or other expensive web analytics tools until you have exhausted the resources and information Google analytics provides for free. Google has a blog at analytics.blogspot.com that has good information and inside the Google analytics page; there is an abundance of information and tutorials.
Action: go to Google analytics and watch the tutorials and read the articles. Go to the Google analytics blog and read up on how to better utilize Google Analytics to improve your web site performance. Sign up for the free version of Clicktale and get a video of each of your visitors actions while on your site and a heat map of where they move the mouse.
10) Check out additional resources to learn more about web analytics and how it can improve your understanding of why customers are coming to your web site, what they do when they get there and how to improve the site and increase traffic. Action: spend time reading up on additional web analytics tools and resources including heat maps, split testing, conversion tracking and start to measure the statistics of the analytics you are getting and turn it into information to improve conversions and traffic. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about Google analytics and how it has helped your business.
Here are a few good resources: