Do You Know Your Numbers: The Whats and the Whys of Analytic Data
No, I am not talking about your Social Security Number or your telephone numbers. I am talking about your Web Analytics. What numbers are important and what are the keys to understanding your site and its visitors.
I will give you a brief overview below but I would encourage you to get into the habit of reading the blogs of the masters in this field and the books that they have published . My first and foremost leader and teacher is Avinash Kaushik author of the blog Occam’s Razor and books under the Sybex imprint, Web Analytics in an Hour a Day and Web Analytics 2.0 The Art of Online Accountability & The Science of Customer Centricity. To get a scan view of the best analytics blogs subscribe to Alltop’s Top Web Analytics which might be like asking you to sip from a firehose.
The others I would encourage you to follow are Bryan Eisenberg and Mitch Joel Eisenberg is the author of the New York Times bestseller Call to Action and co-author of a/b always be testing- The Complete Guide to Website Optimizer. Mitch Joel, a prominent thought leader in digital marketing is the author of the book Six Pixels of Separation :Everyone is Connected Connect Your Business to Everyone. He also has a podcast with the same name where the “cool guys” like Chris Brogan, Julien Smith,CC Chapman,Mitch and others do sort of a weekly call “Media Hacks” as well as a number of interviews. I include Joel who is not an analytics maven but who is very very good at the insights and creative dimension of the Why? side of Web 2.0 and who Google calls in to consult on marketing.
I describe analytics in two camps the What Has happened and the Why It Did and What You Can Do About It. The former being more quantitative and the latter qualitative.
There are a number of tools you can use that are free for the quantitative view.
If your site has a Cpanel installation you can use Awstats . It provides counts on who has visited,where did they come from, what kind of browser did they use,what kind of operating system, what search engine bots have visited and a lot of other specific data.
For the qualitative side Google’s free Website Optimizer Tool allows you to to a variety of tests on the landing pages and content you have placed. You can do simple A/B testing, where you test two variations of content, for example changing the content of a headline or the colour of the type separately to find what converts better . You can do multivariate testing also on various variables and variations and see and test them to maximize your returns. The video below explains it’s use for you:
The 4Q tool by iperceptions is a free tool which provides you answers directly from your users and their experience with your site. This can yield valuable Voice of the Customer Information and your users can rate their experience. See below as Avinash Kaushik introduces it to you.