Web metrics and analytics can reveal quite a bit about your website traffic, such as how your visitors got to your website (e.g., did they select your site from search results or through a link in your email?) and which pages are most popular. And most web analytics tools are pretty easy to use.
What’s harder is figuring out which metrics are most valuable to your business and what the data is really telling you.
Still more challenging and more important is making sure you understand your target audience, your current and potential customers.
What to Measure?
You might know how many visitors come to your website, but what can you do with that data? Well, if you’re targeting local customers, your website metrics can also tell you how many of those visitor were in your target area.
You might also know how many visitors left after viewing just the homepage, without looking at any other pages. But do you know why they left?
You might assume they left because they realized you aren’t offering what they want, but if they were just looking for your phone number or your business hours, and you have those listed on your homepage, maybe they got what they came for and then called you.
Bottom line: It’s not enough to say “I want people to call me after visiting my website.” To know whether your website is contributing to the success of your business goals, you need to know what you’re measuring, why you’re measuring that particular thing, and what that number really means to your business. I can help you evaluate the data.
Where’s the Data?
You may be able to see some website metrics via your web hosting company or through a WordPress plugin. I typically use Google Analytics because 1) it’s absolutely free to use, 2) you can connect it to your Google Search Console, and 3) you can connect it to your AdWords account, if you’re doing paid search.
Whichever tool you decide to use, I can add the tracking code to your website and work with you to customize your analytics reports. They can be scheduled to be emailed to you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, so you can track your website usage and performance.
Down In the Weeds
Avinash Kaushik, a guru in the web analytics field, provides a detailed process for figuring out what to measure. You can read his article Digital Marketing and Measurement Model, but here’s my take on it:
Define or identify your business objectives. When you’re thinking about this, it helps to answer the question: “What am I selling?” It’s not enough to say “I want to sell my house painting services.” Get more specific. One of your business objectives could be: “I want to sell the best quality house-painting service in central Virginia.” Or one of your business objectives could be, “I want to be the cheapest house-painting service in Farmville.”
Identify the goals that will support your business objectives. One goal might be: “I want people to call me when they want the best house painter in central Virginia” or “I want people to call me when they need a cheap paint job done quickly.”
Which things can you measure to know whether your website is supporting one or more of your business goals? The things you want to measure are also referred to as “key performance indicators” (KPI). For example, do you have customer reviews on your site? How many people are reading your Client Testimonials page when they decide to call you? How many site visitors only read your Fees page before calling you? Of course, lots of people are interested in both, but these are the types of specific “things to measure” you need to identify.
Put some numbers where your hopes are. You need to have numeric goals associated with your key performance indicators. For example, “my target is to have 10 people call me over a three-month period, while looking at, or after viewing, my client testimonial page.”