The Web Analytics Association defines it as “the objective tracking, collection, measurement, reporting and analysis of quantitative Internet data to optimize websites and marketing initiatives.”
In more recent times, web analytics is more in depth and gives various kinds of information to site owners and operators interested in knowing about their visitors as well as critical information performance indicators and statistics that can aid webmasters adapt their sites perform more efficiently and effectively.
Determine What Is Needed.
Usually websites offer interactive activities for fulfilment of the visitors’ goal that may result in returns in investment. These activities can be one to multi- step processes seeking enquires or compiling information. To ensure success, these activities should at all times be user friendly.
The more crucial of these activities is the one that leads to a purchase through a sales path. A sales path has several steps which includes the shopping cart. Shopping cart abandonment rate is as high as 60%. This shows that up to this amount is abandoned which attributes to a loss of revenue.
Analytics tool is able to assess the loss within the sales path, showing the total loss from the begin to the end. Identifying the steps along the sales path for abandonment will create rooms for improvement. This will reduce loss and hence have a positive effect on conversion rate.
It is time now to identify the main activities and actions that will achieve your goals. Your goals should be based n the nature of your business. For example, you may need an increase in downloads, registration etc.
Commercial Websites Classification
There are typically four classifications for commercial websites:
E-commerce: The goal is for increased sales and reduced marketing expenses. This assessment is done through sales, cost per person, returns and allowances, sales per visitor and conversion rate. Advanced assessment would incorporate trend reporting, inventory mix, satisfaction, and other modelling techniques.
Content sites: The goal is to increase the interest and time spent on the site by your readers. This is assessed by monitoring time spent, number of subscriptions, page views and cancelled subscriptions.
Lead generation sites: This goal is to increase and portion lead generation. Assessment includes, time spent on site, reject rates on contact pages, newsletter options, white paper download and leads-to-close ratio.
Self Service sites: The goal is to boost the level of customer service satisfaction and reduce customer support inquiries.
The reality is that, with defined goals and the use of effective analytics tools the assessment phase is possible and easy. Remember that your goals must state your wants and should be measurable:
- 200 website registrations per month
- Gross sales of $1million in the next year
- 175 newsletters subscriptions per month.
- 190 phone calls
After the goals have been outlined, they should then be further broken down and prioritized accordingly.
Even though there are a multitude of website data that can be assessed and analyzed, however it is not enough if you are unable to determine what to assess for the improvement of your business. Some of the important variables to look at, are costs and revenues, such as how does a part of the business process affects cost and revenues. Knowing these can yield a huge increase in revenues. Here are a few pertinent questions to ask:
How is loyalty to be measured?
- How long are visitors staying on the site, and where?
- What are the habits of the customer?
- What is the conversion rate?
- Is the site user-friendly enough to accomplish the visitors actions?
- What is the percentage conversion rate of visitors to the site?
Once the important process have been identified it will eventually lead to conversion.
The two most commonly used methods for data collection are page tagging and log file analysis. These are used to provide in-depth information about visitors to the site, frequency and the time spent.
Logfile is a file that captures all accesses to a server. It is operated by a specifically designed analytic software that takes a logged file from a web server and assesses the data that is a part of the log to give valuable information to those who have access to the software. It however does not log the personal information of the visitor.
The other type of information that can be taken from a log file analyzer includes the number of page views, number of total visits, peak hour usage, timeline of the visits, most common geographic locations of visitors, most viewed pages along with numerous other statistical data that can be used to improve the functionality of the site. This information can be given to server owners about the visitors to the server , the times and frequency.
Out sourcing offers an easier outlet in that you “pay as per usage” without the cost of software licensing purchase, network space, hardware and human resources for management and maintenance.
This is done by:
- Applying for the service, pay for set-up fees and monthly fees according to traffic volume and website transactions.
- Place the code on your site, setting the code variables as specified by the seller.
Once the pages are downloaded on the visitors browser, the page tags will be activated, and the information is sent to the seller’s information center. This is sometimes known as a web bug.
The information center receives the image request and the query string into the vendor’s specific data model.
- After the image is returned to the client, the transaction is then complete.
- At this stage the client is able to view the date through a secure online interface in the form of defined reports or customized reports by email.
There are numerous conversion rate besides sales that should also be assessed. For example;
- Navigation (user-friendly) leading to data
- Sign up forms (subscriptions etc.)
- Type of search conducted
Bear in mind that comparison should only be done amongst your site data and not that of your competitors.
Measure online business activities through the following:
- Sales process - examining both conversion and abandonment rates.
- Sign up process – to identify the type of information that visitors are not willing to give.
- Product or service demo – make sure that the products are viewed in its entirety.
- Site search – to make sure that visitors are able to find what they are searching for.
This is one of the most common methods to test the changes done on your page against its current design and also to decide which one produces a more favourable response. It is a method to legitimize that any new design or change to a component of your webpage is enhancing your conversion rate before it is introduced to your site code.
The advantage is that it takes the guess work out of website optimization which gives data-backed decision. By measuring the changes made to your metric such as sign-ups, purchases, downloads or anything else with regards to your website goals to ensure that these changes yield positive results. A/B testing allows you to present to the visitors two versions of the same page and then allow them to choose the winner.
The following guidelines will assist you in using the A/B testing method :
- Only change one element at a time. This is a general rule for all types of testing. It is more practical because you will be able to determine which element is effective or not.
- Know when to divert traffic. The goal is that the diverted traffic is to redirect a certain percentage of visitors through an altered process.
- Ascertain accurate figures of volume. Get the number of visitors per page count from your web analytical tool. This will demonstrate the exact percentage of traffic going through your funnel that is expected based on the changes that were tested.
- Identify significant differences. If there is a difference in the conversion rate for the B test, you need to make sure that the difference is compelling. Conduct your testing until your are certain there are no more changes.
- Perform your test long enough to make sure that the results are real. The most frequent error in A/B testing is not performing the test long enough to actualise the differences.
- Perform tests in segments. Doing this will ensure that you are able to monitor their activities. This information can be compared to the loyalty metrics for a better comprehension of the long term effects of your A/B test.
Continuous testing and optimizing of your page can boost profits, leads, donations, downloads, registrations, and user content, while giving valuable insights to teams about their visitors.
Ongoing monitoring of your conversions and adjusting your goals and metrics will keep you ahead of your competitors. By evaluating your data and the implementation of various strategies you can determine the areas that will need improvement for better returns on investments.