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Using Web Analytics Should Be Useful Not Painful

Written on July 19, 2012 by Posted in Beginners

Are Your Site’s Analytics Hurting Your Brain?

With so much data available in Google Analytics and so many metrics to look at, it is easy to get stressed and overwhelmed. The best thing to do is figure out what is important for your site — is your goal to get A.) sales B.) leads C.) followers D.) readers, etc.? When you get this figured out, it will help you determine the right tools to use and the numbers you need to follow.

Scrubbing the Data Should Be Easy

When you get your targets and goals figured out for your site, you can now look at the data. Keep it simple to start, and then get a little more in depth. There is no reason that you need a degree in mathematics or statistics to calculate the data or get segmentation results. If you get too complicated, you are missing the point. I would prefer an easier and more immediate segment or metric than one that takes six months to compile and get data on. Avinash Kaushik hits this point hard in his web analytics courses and constantly reminds users to look at what information matters for their situation and not to get too complicated.

What Do I Look at in Analytics?

The things to focus on should again be related to the needs of your site. Do you need to track your e-commerce site’s sales, auto dealerships leads, or blog traffic? This will get you to the guts of what you need and away from the fluff. Yes, traffic is important to any website, but really where it matters is more micro than macro. For example, if a commerce site gets 1000 visits one month and makes $500 that same month, and then the following month they have 1200 visits and make $550, there may be a point in watching the correlation between the two. If your auto dealership has a 55% bounce rate, identifying the pages with a high bounce is a good idea.

The main issue with macro metrics is that they are often narrow minded, and here is a good example of how: Say you have a 75% bounce rate on PPC with Google Adwords and only a 12% bounce rate with advertising on Facebook — seems easy to say which is better, right? However, what if Google generated 10,000 visits and Facebook only had 100 — what do you think now of the bounce rates? When it comes to sheer numbers, you may prefer the Google traffic, but again it also may need further investigation. Does this traffic create sales, subscribers, leads, etc? What does the average visitor cost per source? Again, these are nice stats that you can figure out without a lot of time and complicated math.

The Big Picture is to track your monthly analytics and keep an eye on what may or may not be working in your marketing or website efforts. Is it bad content, a hard checkout process, dead pages (404 errors), events, etc? These things should make sense after a few months, and you can start to narrow down what is truly important to your situation.