Web analytics includes the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your website and the competition, and is used to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers, and potential customers have. In turn, this translates into your desired outcomes, both online and offline.
This definition encapsulates three main tasks every business must tackle when performing web analytics:
Measuring quantitative and qualitative data
Continuously improving your website
Aligning your measurement strategy with your business strategy
Web analytics is not possible without data. But many organizations fail to realize that they need many different types of data to facilitate the performance of their website. Tools like Google Analytics, Omniture, WebTrends, and Yahoo! Web Analytics generate quantitative, or clickstream, data. This data identifies where website traffic comes from and what it does on a site. Essentially, it more or less tells what happens on a website.
While clickstream data is critical, it is essential to collect more than just this quantitative data—you must also collect qualitative data. While quantitative data describes what happens on your website, qualitative describes why it happens. Qualitative data comes from different sources, like user interviews and usability tests, but the easiest way to requalitative data is through surveys. Asking website visitors simple questions like the ones below can lead to a greater understanding of what visitors want and whether you’re making it easy for them:
- Why did you come here today?
- Were you able to do what you wanted to do?
- If not, why?
The entire goal of the web analytics process is to increase desired business outcomes. We are no longer obsessed with just measuring how much traffic our online business generates; we also want to measure how well it performs in business terms.
This means measuring metrics that relate directly to our overall business goals. Every website exists for a reason, and your measurement strategy must align with the business goals of the website.
For the most part, all websites exist for one of the four following reasons:
- To sell a product
- To generate a sales lead
- To generate ad revenue
- To provide support
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Some websites perform other tasks, but as a general rule, the preceding reasons represent why the majority of websites exist. This is where you should start measuring your website. How does it affect the bottom line of your business? Once you define why you have a website, it becomes much easier to identify the metrics you should focus on. You don’t need a lot of metrics—just a handful suffices to help you understand if your business is succeeding or failing. Contact Picasso's Web, and we will help you setup Google Analytics so you can begin making smarter decisions based on quantitative data.