January is a good time for reflection on what happened last year and for setting goals and milestones for the upcoming year. Let’s take a look at 5 things that will help you monitor your website success in the coming year. What are some of the essentials of website marketing management?
There is so much information available via Google Analytics (GA) it can lead to paralysis. That is, having too much detail can lead to overload and inaction rather than using the salient information and taking action based on that information. Many website owners don’t dig into their information because it looks so complicated and don’t understand it enough to determine how to use it.
With that in mind, let’s look at some things you can do to get the information you need in a format that is understandable and actionable.
Learn How to Use Google Analytics
You don’t know what you don’t know. Google has added many new features to their analytics system and if you haven’t dived in to learn more about them, now is a very good time. Plan to go through all of Google Analytics IQ lessons if you want to get the most value. Take them in sequential order or pick them by content topic based on your current needs and focus. Once you complete the lessons, take the test and become a qualified expert.
Decide What Data Is Important to You
You can go the easy route and just add analytics code to your site and monitor the basics or you can get very granular by setting up advanced segments and goals. It’s really up to you and your business needs. If your site is generating leads or has an e-commerce focus, you’ll want to know all the details so you can do A/B testing for conversion optimization. If you’re blogging in a particular niche and utilizing content marketing, you’ll want to know what your best content is and what is engaging your visitors the most.
There is an old saying, that if you shoot at nothing, you will hit it every time. With all the wealth of information available, you need to decide what is the most important to you and what will give you leverage based on your resources. Yes, we’d all like to make everything on the site better all at once but the reality is, we have resource limitations. Decide what you can take action on that will actually make a difference.
Set Up Your Personal Dashboard
Imagine driving your car without your dashboard. You wouldn’t be able to determine your speed, the health of your engine, your RPM or even the outside temperature. You need to be able to monitor the vital aspects of your car in order to drive efficiently and safely. Managing your website is no different. You need to be able to quickly see the vital aspects of your site and determine any actions you need to take to improve performance.
GA allows you to set up your own widgets on your dashboard. Instead of diving in to get the information you need using the sidebar menu, set it up on your dashboard. It’s easy to do, just log into your account and find the ‘add widget’ link.
Then, just add the items you want to see on your dashboard. Here is a list of some things you might want to add to your main dashboard.
- Unique visitors – to gauge traffic trends
- Total goal conversion rate – for those of us monitoring lead gen or e-commerce
- Abandoned funnels – where is your sales process ‘broken’
- AdSense revenue – more is better
- Social actions – social proof is becoming more important to search engine rankings
Consider what is most important for you and add that to your dashboard. It’s really up to you and what your current goals are.
Schedule Time on Your Calendar to Review Your Numbers and Plan
We often do needs assessments for potential clients. One of the questions that always come up is, ‘do you have Google Analytics or another monitoring/measuring program?’ Invariably they will say, yes, I think so. This immediately tells me they are not monitoring and evaluating their traffic on a consistent basis. So, if you don’t know where you are, how are you going to determine where you need to go?
There are so many things that get in the way of review and analysis, as witnessed by the typical response to our question. I think it’s important to actually schedule time on your calendar. You need time to review but you also need time to ‘think’. What action do you need to take based on the numbers? You can’t do it on the fly, it takes careful thought and planning and you need time for that…if it’s important, you’ll schedule it.
Data without action is well….just data. Use your data to improve your content and user interaction, increase your conversions, to lower your bounce rate and to make more money in 2012.
“No action, no change. Limited action, limited change. Lots of action – Change occurs.” – Catherine Pulsifer –
How do you effectively monitor your website success? Please tell us in the comments below!