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Driving your website with solid metrics and measurement

Back in the day I used to own a 1977 Monte Carlo. It was “light buckskin” and had been my Mom’s car, a pretty hot ride in its day. In fact it’s what I originally drove west with all my worldly possessions in tow, when I moved to Vancouver in 1987. An 8-cylinder gas-guzzler with swivel bucket seats, it went like the clappers, and was fueled as much on a hope and a prayer, as it was petroleum.

The gas gauge didn’t work.

The speedometer didn’t work.

It had a rust hole under the driver’s side mat that you could see daylight through.

Always completely refilling the tank, and then carefully keeping track of mileage on a notepad in the glove box easily resolved the gas gauge challenge. But it was a low-tech solution that was at times tricky given a teenager propensity to want to toss $10 into the tank rather then fill it up entirely. And the broken speedometer was simply resolved by using a best guess. If in doubt, you were likely breaking the limit, but few seemed to care on the back roads of rural Ontario at the time.

Driving without a gas gauge and speedometer as a teenager was carefree fun. But as an adult I would now view it as risky. So why is it that many businesses drive their website without analytics?

Not having a gauge of metrics on your website is careless, and at best a huge missed opportunity. If you’re not yet set up for analytics, here’s a quick tutorial.While I’ll freely admit there is a ton of stuff you can monitor beyond what I’ve outlined here, the following five areas are a great place to start.

1. Growth

– Are page views growing over time? Check daily, weekly, monthly and yearly traffic counts.

– Monitor new versus returning traffic under behaviour.

– Monitor audience demographic, geographic and behavioural data. It’s good to know where your readers reside and what they are like.

2. Relevancy

– Check behaviour overview, for pages and views to see what content is resonating the most with readers.

– Tools like Buzzsumo.com tell what content is doing best on a blog and also what topics are trending or have high interest and shares.

3. Engagement

– What content are they engaging or not engaging with? Check audience behaviour, and then engagement for session duration counts.

4. Traffic generation

– Check channel, then social and look at sessions for each social media channel leading to your site. Is your share of voice increasing? Set Google alerts to monitor your name, brand, competitors, events, or topic area. An alternative you might also want to check out is TalkWalkerAlerts.com Both are free tools and you will be emailed a notification of any new mentions online of your search term. Alerts can be easily updated and removed.

5. Results of Traffic

– Set goals for your site within analytics. (eg: Measure driving traffic from social media channel to sign up for an enewsletter on your site) Once you have a goal, it will allow you to compare what channels are driving success for the goal because there will be a measurable conversion. Goals can be set for leads, subscribers and e-commerce customers. This should help you decide which channels to put more effort into.

While flying down the 6th Concession in a Monte Carlo, dust in the wind, and not a monitoring gauge in sight, brings back great care free memories, it’s not a good practice for business. Basic analytics will help you strategically focus efforts that will drive growth. You shouldn’t be driving a website without them!

 

Mary Charleson

Comments

    • Thanks Amanda. Isn’t it funny how our old cars and their various quirks can bring back such great memories? It was a fun parallel to use in the post. Thanks for reading and sharing!

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