Building a website is an important first step in starting your online business. However, it’s only a step. One of the basic steps, at that. The next two important steps are 1) market and 2) analyze and improve. You can’t have one without the other. If you market and don’t analyze the results, you won’t know whether or not it’s working and won’t know what needs to be improved. Analyzing and improving is an ongoing, never-ending process and one of the most important things you can do with your websites.
Every website should have Google Analytics or some other analytics program installed. It’s free and easy. It’s vital to know who is visiting your website, where they come from, how long they stay and what they do when they are there. Of all the information that analytics software tracks, what are the most important?
One of the most important pieces of information that analytics will tell you is how you’re doing with your goals, especially if you’re spending money on Adwords. A goal is a defined action you want to track, such as each time someone makes a purchase. By setting up and tracking goals, you can know the cost of customer acquisition. In other words, how much it costs in online advertising to make a sale. If your product sells for $5 and it costs you $10 to get someone to buy it through your marketing, then you’re losing money. Without goal tracking you might not realize you’re losing money and how much. Goal tracking can tell you if your marketing is working and where your sales are coming from so you can put more resources into what’s working.
Besides goal tracking, Time on Site, Bounce Rate and Pages per Visit are also important because they’re indications of visitor engagement.
If there are a million visitors coming to your website, but they only stay for 2 seconds and visit 1 page then then leave (or bounce), there’s something wrong with your homepage. You’re not engaging visitors enough to make them want to stay and look around. Much like a traditional store, you want people to stay and browse around. The longer they stay, the greater likelihood that they’ll buy something. If you’re not selling anything on your site, like a news site or blog, you at least want visitors to stick around and read your content. You won’t know if you don’t have analytics.
Simple changes can make a big difference.
Changes can be as comprehensive as new template, but can also be simple like making the pictures of your product larger, moving better products to the top or making the font larger.
Here are some things you can do to get better results:
A/B testing can be an effective way to test changes. A/B testing allows you to show different content to different visitors to see which one people like more or to test a price to see which price earns the most revenue.
Geolocation testing may help increase sales by showing different content based on a visitor’s geographic region. For example, on a sporting goods website, one visitor in Colorado may see skis and another in California may see surfboards. This allows you to target your visitors precisely and show them products or content that is relevant to them.
Analytics can tell you if many of your sites are viewing on Mobile and Tablets. If they are, then you may need to spend some effort optimizing the viewer experience on mobile. Many website templates are built to be “responsive” meaning they can be viewed on both a desktop and a PC.
Case in point: A multi-million dollar business I recently consulted didn’t have analytics installed so had no idea what people were doing on their site. Upon installing analytics, we discovered that 40% of their traffic was on mobile and their website was terrible on mobile! They had no idea so many visitors were on mobile and were losing nearly all the potential sales from mobile. They were missing a huge opportunity. Make sure you’re not doing the same.
A/B Testing Software:
Comprehesive eBoook (maybe too comprehensive): Google Analytics Universal Guide (free download)