If you’re not already using software to tell you how to optimize your website and online marketing or advertising campaigns, you’re missing a trick.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners make a common mistake when they launch a new website. They assume their work is done. Once a site goes live, they imagine it will soar to the top of search engine results pages (also known as SERPs). Enquiries will pour in, revenue will follow and the site’s startup costs will be refunded many times over.
It takes a few months for most people to realize that launching a website is the start of a journey, not the end. You can second-guess how people will use a website, but the reality is always unexpected. That’s also true of online marketing or advertising campaigns - which can miss their chosen mark by a mile. Without monitoring tools, known as web analytics software, you’ll never know whether these investments are succeeding – or where, or why.
What does web analytics software do?
In essence, it monitors internet activity. It can tell you where each website visitor is from, which browser they’re using and if they’ve visited before. It can track the pages they look at, how long they spend on your site and where they leave. This latter aspect can identify which pages or messages failed to convince them to get in touch, or make a purchase – essential for budget-limited ad campaigns. Data is displayed in graph, chart or table formats, and most programs try to simplify the process of recognizing trends that can then be acted upon.
The analytics industry will be worth an estimated $18 billion this year, because it’s a vital tool for spotting flaws in your online sales and marketing campaigns. For instance, if a third of website visitors leave on the delivery page of an ecommerce site, it would appear postage or tax costs are scaring them away. If 40% of incoming visitors come from a single online directory listing, it’s clearly worth spending more money on that platform in future.
So what can I do with this information?
Analytics software is ideal for improving your firm’s position within SERPS. A classic example of this involves keywords – popular terms people frequently search for. This article uses the phrase “analytics software” seven times, so searches for that term may well display this page.Although even this isn’t the only way that algorithms rank relevancy If you offer a particular product or service, you want your site appearing high up in searches for it. Analytics tools can suggest keywords and “long tail” phrases to target, and some will even identify how well rivals are performing. This can be a rich source of ideas for content creation and marketing in general.
Blue chip IT firms including Bing, Google and Adobe offer custom web analytics software. Other masters of the analytical arts include Mixpanel, Splunk and Webtrends. Each package has unique attributes, and even discussing their major differences would require an article far longer than this one. Inevitably, each platform requires you to learn some industry jargon like bounce rates – the percentage of site visitors who leave after viewing one page.
It’s worth getting to grips with the techy language of analytics software. Its data is crucial for identifying where online campaigns are succeeding and failing, or how competitor websites are outperforming yours. The alternative is to assume what you’re doing is right and keep plodding on, despite the ready availability of evidence that you should change tack…That wouldn’t make sense at all would it?