Once your website is built and available for anyone to visit, how do you know how well it’s doing? How do you find out where people are going on your website and how they’re interacting with it?
The answer: web analytics.
Web analytics can give you thousands of statistics on your website, such as how many people visited in a given time period, how long they stayed on your website, and how many pages they viewed per visit. Many of these statistics will seem important; most of them aren’t. You could drown in a sea of data on your website, and you won’t gain any insight at all as to how your website is performing.
What website data is important to you? The data that tells you if your website is helping your organization meet its goals and objectives.
For example, at the PMI Educational Foundation, we provide academic scholarships among other scholarships and awards. I use Google Analytics to let me know if people who are visiting our website are completing the steps necessary to complete a scholarship application. If people are not completing the application, it’s my job to figure out why and how to fix it.
So, how should you get started on data analysis? Here is a simple framework that you can use, and all credit goes to Avinash Kaushik for championing this framework: Acquisition, Behavior, Outcomes.
- Acquisition: how did the visitor find your website?
- Behavior: what did the visitor do when he/she was on your website?
- Outcome: what was the result of the visit? Did he/she accomplish the desired goal of the website, or was there a departure without any desired actions?
As we dig deeper into web analytics, I will help you put pieces of data together using this framework. As you progress, you will get better at gathering the data, reading it, analyzing it, and making recommendations based on insights gathered from the data. I think that most of my posts on this subject will be done in the context of Google Analytics since it’s free, easy to use, and extremely accessible to most organizations.
Do you presently use a web analytics program? How is it working for you?