One of the first pieces of advice you are likely to get from any professional web design team is to install Google analytics on your website and study the results. In our industry, it’s the equivalent of having the dentist tell you to brush and floss every day. And with good reason – you can’t know which Internet marketing campaigns are working until you see how others are interacting with your pages and content.
But, as important as it is to have Google analytics on your website, simply installing it and glancing at a few reports isn’t going to be enough to help you become more profitable and successful. In fact, in our experience, there are four easy ways business owners can get web metrics all wrong. We’re going to share them now, so you can avoid making these all-too-common mistakes…
#1 Don’t Look at Your Web Metrics
A surprising number of business owners either don’t look at their web analytics at all, or don’t peruse them in any depth. They simply see how many people are coming to their website, what their major traffic sources are, and which pages are most popular. The real insights come from digging deeper, when you examine things like bounce rates (how many people are leaving your website without looking around), which pieces of content are attracting the longest page views, and how visitors move from one place on your website to another.
#2 Don’t Pay Too Much Attention to Short Term Trends
Using raw numbers to analyze visitor behavior can be very powerful. However, you have to ensure that the sample sizes you are using aren’t too small. Otherwise, what you think is an emerging trend could be nothing more than a small statistical blip. Generally speaking, you want to study visits for a couple of weeks, and preferably at least a few hundred visitors, before you draw any meaningful conclusions from your analytics package.
#3 Don’t Throw Out the Good with the Bad Based on Analytics
Sometimes, upon looking at their web analytics for the first time in months or years, a business owner will decide that certain page or campaign isn’t working and end it all together. In a moment, they stop marketing on Facebook, cut off pay-per-click ads for a popular search term, or scrap a landing page that took weeks to develop. A better option is usually to study different elements (like messaging, headlines, imaging, etc.) so you don’t “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” It’s possible your campaign could still be successful if it’s tweaked instead of replaced.
#4 Don’t Ignore the Obvious
From time to time, we meet with business owners who don’t pay much attention to web analytics and ignore strong, decisive results because they don’t agree with the owner’s “gut instincts.” You certainly need to trust yourself when it comes to inspiration and insights, but if an idea is failing month after month, and customers are responding, then it might be time to listen to that not-so-subtle message and devote your time and resources elsewhere.
Your web analytics are extraordinarily valuable, but only if you use them, and use them the right way. Otherwise, they can become a distraction, or even lead you away from greater efficiency when it comes to attracting new web visitors and converting them into buyers.
If you’re struggling to get more out of your website, to understand your web metrics, or to make an impact on customers through search engine optimization or social media, now is the perfect time to meet with our team and let us show you how we can help.