Web analytics may sound like another complicated network of skills you need to learn about websites, but they are essentially the steps you take to see how your website is doing in cyber space and how it’s impacting your users. The basics of web analytics include collecting data, analyzing data, writing reports, and identifying the impact. Let’s look at these now:
Web analytics is similar to conducting a research project, starting with collecting data. One of the best ways to collect your website data is to track what’s going on with your site and social media. How many visitors do you have each week? What types of events are happening? Who is your audience? Who is liking and sharing your information on Facebook and Twitter? What are their demographics, as far as age and gender? Who’s commenting on your YouTube videos? This list can go on and on, but you get the idea. Keep track of these answers and more via Excel spreadsheets. If Excel or other analytic programs are intimidating for you, you’re definitely not alone; let us know how Divergent Web Solutions can help solve your web analytic problems.
There are a few different ways you can analyze the data you collect. We suggest waiting for a few months after you start tracking to allow the most reliable data to be recorded. A few things you’ll want to observe are how people are interacting with social media and what their behavioral patterns are like (e.g., patterns of liking, sharing, etc.), how widely your site is being spread through the world (e.g., amount of views from month to month), and which times of day/days of the week are best for website views (e.g., more views in the morning than in the evening).
Web analytics start to get challenging because you need to record results about the data you’ve collected and analyzed (is this still reminding anyone of research projects?). Depending on the way your company is run, you might need to eventually present this report to upper management and others. For this reason, you might decide to either learn how to write about your findings or hire web researchers.
This is where you might want to think about hiring web analytics consultants externally so that you’re sure you’re getting the best and most accurate results. This step is also similar to writing reports, but it should be more collaborative with a team of professionals or with your own analytics/marketing team. Identify the patterns and types of traffic you’ve seen in the first few months, and continue updating your site and posting on social media to follow those patterns until you see new ones emerge.
Web analytics doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it’s important to understand for the success of your website. In future blogs, we’ll be providing more information about who performs web analytics, why you should set goals for your website, and how to translate analysis materials. If you have any questions about web analytics, let us know.