Posted by Peder Enhorning

March 15, 2010

12:43

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Web Analytics Should Begin with a Plan

Web analytics should begin with a plan. Unfortunately, most don’t. And the plan should start by answering the most basic of questions; why do we have a web site?

All web sites can be categorized as having one of two objectives; either to make money or to save money. Sites which make money are not only those in which shopping carts are presented. Rather, any site involved in the promotion of products or services have as their underlying purpose to increase brand awareness and encourage purchases on or offline.

Sites which attempt to make money include:

  • lead generation
  • brand awareness
  • eCommerce
  • Social networking
  • Entertainment

Conversely, sites which attempt to save money are those which encourage self-service. It decreases corporate costs if web visitors can successfully download a document, register for assistance or fill in an online form rather than contacting a toll-free number and asking for the same to be done or mailed out.

Sites which attempt to save money include:

  • Customer education
  • Self-service
  • Customer service
  • Informational
  • Intranet

Understanding the objective of your site allows you to construct and establish key performance indicators (KPI) you need to track. Studying raw web analytics reports is meaningless.

Measures, which illustrate visitor behaviour and traffic volumes, are not indicators of web site success. Reports showing page views, most popular pages and visitor traffic do not indicate whether a site is performing well or not. No organization, with the possible exception of media firms, should fundamentally care if page views and visitor numbers increase. To extract real meaning from increases in raw numbers like page views or visitors it must be put into some context. That’s where KPIs come in.

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