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What Are Your Web Statistics Telling You?

Jun 8, 2008
You need to pay close attention to what your Web site statistics are telling you. There are pieces to a story buried in your data. The more you dig, the more of that story you will learn. For example, here are some of the types of things you can learn:

What keywords are profitable? This is especially relevant when using paid search. With paid search, you can know exactly what your return on investment is for individual keywords. If you are strictly looking at natural search, you can examine the funnel that resulted in people filling out your form. For example, what search engine and keyword did people who filled out your contact form use?

Is there anything that is particularly ineffective? For example, if you see that you have lots of content campaign links with a very high bounce rate, then that is a strong clue that that is a poor use of your marketing dollars.

What are the pages on your site where people most often leave? These pages may need improvement, or they may need some way to capture the user's email address before he leaves.

What non-paid keywords are people using to find your site? These might be good candidates to include in a paid search campaign.

What paid keywords are people using to find your site? These might be good candidates for natural search optimization.

What is your average bounce rate? If it is very high, then that is a sign that your site needs work on content, design, or both. It needs to be more "sticky" so that people hang around.

Where does your traffic come from? If you spot some particular trends related to the location or demographic profile of your web site traffic, then that will give you good information as to areas you should be exploring further.

These are just a few examples of the things you can learn from an examination of your web site statistics. The more you know, the better you can fine tune your site for best performance.

If you don't have analytics scripts running on your site, get them installed today! There are many, many options for what analytics to run on your site that range in price from free to thousands of dollars per month.

At the high end, the best solution is probably Omniture SiteCatalyst. In a former job with a home shopping network, we used SiteCatalyst and it was phenomenal. It provides outstanding drilldown capabilities and will tell you everything you need to know in an easily digestible format. It's also probably more than you can afford.

On a more affordable scale, I suggest you just go with Google Analytics. A few years ago, Google bought a company called Urchin and changed the name of their analytics product to Google Analytics. They also made the product free. There are some who worry about the ramifications of making so much information related to their web site accessible to the goons at Google. But my opinion is that I am much more concerned about maximizing my profit today than about what Google might do months or years from now. So if you're on a budget, go with Google Analytics.
About the Author
Jerry Work is president of Work Media, LLC, http://workmedia.net, an SEO and pay per click firm based in Nashville.
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