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Making stats work for you

Strageties that work: how to apply statistics

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Executive summary: in a nutshell
General introduction: decision-making based on stats
Getting traffic to your site
Converting traffic: desired outcomes
Act on your stats: examine and improve flow

Executive summary

Put the information to use. Formulate a goal. For example, encourage visitors to stay longer by increasing overall site stickiness. Benchmark your statistics, implement your change and compare traffic over a given period.

This is the feedback process that we recommend:

  1. Study your statistics
  2. Formulate a strategy
  3. Implement your change
  4. Measure the effects of your change 
  5. Start again at step 1

The process is ongoing and continuous.

General introduction: making decisions based on stats

Understanding website traffic and visitor behavior is crucial to any goal-oriented or business website. Manage your website and make well-informed daily decisions based on the knowledge of who's visiting and what they are doing.

Know what visitors do on your site, and adjust site content to meet their needs.
Without this knowledge, your best ideas are based on guesswork.

It is important that your statistics are more than just numbers. Your data and statistics need to provide what is called 'actionable insight' - information that you can use to make management decisions and take action.

To improve a website using statistics, there are two steps. The first step is to collect information. The second step is to put that information to work by using it to define and achieve your goals.

When data is aggregated it can be very valuable for identifying patterns that tell you how to best meet the needs of your visitors and potential customers.
The identification of trends - patterns that tell you how well your site is performing - is an integral part of planning and managing site content.

Which pages on your site generate the most interest? Does this change over time?

Getting traffic to your site

Learn how well efforts to drive traffic to your site are working.

Asking where traffic comes from is the first question.

Of all the information that can be obtained from a tracking system, this is among the most valuable.

Top referrer & top search term reports: Once you have this information, it is up to you to act on it, by focusing your efforts on what works, dropping what doesn't, and everything in between.

The question is "Okay, now I know where my visitors come from, what should I do about it?"

Converting traffic: desired outcomes

How well does traffic flow through your site? This is vital information if you have designed your website to lead visitors to what are called 'desired actions', or 'desired outcomes', such as placing an order, making a purchase, or signing up for opt-in material.

The process whereby visitors are converted into customers by completing revenue-generating activities is called 'conversion'.

If you are developing an online business strategy with desired outcomes - for example, you want visitors to place orders - then understanding visitor traffic will let you adjust content to realise those outcomes.

In marketing terms, this is called promoting activities and traffic flows that drive revenue.

The first step is to learn what your visitors are looking for. The second step is to ask yourself what to do with the information. The information is only valuable if you act on it. If you have what your visitors are looking for, you need to make sure that your site is easy to navigate and that your visitors can easily find their way around.

Recommended reading: be sure to check out our article on ROI and Conversion Reporting.

Act on your stats: examine and improve flow

  • Can the traffic flow of your site be improved? This process is called improving navigability and usability.
  • How can customer satisfaction be improved by making your website an easier place to surf?
  • In other words, how is it possible, in any way, to make your site more user-friendly and intuitive?
  • Are there clicks that can be eliminated, or drop-off points that are not necessary?

The goal is to create a navigation which meets the habits of your visitors. Generate usability that is geared towards your traffic. Figure out where people want to go & what they want to do when they get there, and make this easier for them.

Of course this mostly pertains to traffic that coincides with your ‘goals” or ‘desired outcomes’. There is also a fair amount of meandering traffic: folks just surfing around. Make your site a nice place for these people, and you increase the chance that they will come back.

 

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