Q: What exactly is Web analytics and what kind of information does it provide?
A: Web analytics is an aggregation of data about your Web visitors, their demographics, behaviors and desires. It essentially is a methodology of using real data to ensure your website is performing at peak optimization by helping you understand if (and why) people are doing what you want them to do when they visit …The data is anything—from where they came from, what pages they saw, videos they watched and everything in between. If you have wordpress its made a little easier, analytical tools come built in and so do things
Q: Why is this data so valuable to small business owners?
A: Yes. For small retailers you can almost think of this as a videotape of watching someone walk through your store shopping. You’ll know what they added to their carts, and can think about where the product was on the website and how they got to it—similar to thinking about a brick-and-mortar layout and merchandising. For service-based businesses, you can study the effect on your audience of different types of sales pitches. By digging into analytics, we can study what pages cause people to contact us, and which ones don’t. In both cases, you can use that data to make website improvements, or think about price and policy, and then make improvements to collateral and sales approach.
Q: What are some key metrics small business owners should pay attention to?
A: There are literally hundreds of metrics, but for beginners, the two most important are bounce rate and conversion rate. Bounce rate is defined as a one-page visit and then exit. Generally, this is considered a bad thing. Sure, a lot of people could be calling you, but it’s important to think about your website as a sales funnel, and two or three actions are likely necessary to turn a visitor into a customer.
As for conversion rate, you should be sure to have goals set up in your analytics account and then look at your conversion rates on a regular basis. For e-commerce, we’d really like to see a purchase rate of two or three percent ideally, with 1.5 percent being towards the low end. For lead generation, I like to see conversion rates in the five-to-10 percent range, or higher for some businesses. If you’re falling short of that, it’s a good idea to rethink the entire sales process, from ad content, to landing page, to checkout or form fill.
Q: Where do these metrics come from?
A: The first place any small business should look is Google Analytics. For one thing, it’s free and easy to use, making the barrier to entry very low. You may need a programmer to install some code, but in general, it’s a simple process. For more advanced users who might be interested in a private solution, simply search the Web for ‘Web analytics’ and read up on vendors. All of them have value propositions that will speak to different industries.