Your business has a web site. You were careful in selecting a designer who understood how crucial your site is to your marketing strategy, and who had the skills to integrate and present your content in a way that fulfills that strategy. It's well designed and optimized. Now you can just sit back and wait for the profits to roll in right? Wrong!
A well designed web site is just the beginning. A good marketing strategy never stops improving, and your web site is a vital marketing tool. How do you improve its effectiveness in bringing in more and more leads and turning higher and higher percentages of those leads into conversions?
You do this by understanding everything you can about the people who visit your site. How did the visitor find your site? Did they find you from a link pointing to your site, a search engine? What keywords did they use for that search? How long did that visitor stay at your site? What did they look at? What didn't they look at? How far into a payment process did they get before they abandoned the purchase? What prevented them from becoming a customer?
Knowing the answers to questions like these is extremely important in order for you to refine your web site. You want to to use more of what is working for you and get rid of content that doesn't work for you. It will also keep your site up to date in an ever changing marketplace. Now how do you get this information?
The answer is 'web analytics'. Web analytics gathers information about what visitors do when they are at your web site, and then organizes that data into reports you can customize to suit your needs. Analytics can either be hosted online by a provider of the service or can be purchased as a program that you own and manage. There are many different venders of web analytic services.
Analytics packages can be hosted for as low as $30 per month and this price goes up as the amount of data tracking increases. Programs, on the other hand, will vary in cost from free trial versions with very few features, to costing thousands of dollars for complete, full spectrum tracking. Knowing what you need to know about your visitors, will help you decide the level of tracking features you need to get the most out of your web site.
It is important to look at the information gathered in these reports, at the very least, on a weekly basis, and to make changes to your web site based on this information. Trust the data, not your expectations of what your potential customers want. Web analytics is a powerful marketing weapon and sets apart those who are serious about having a web site that significantly enhances their business, from those who are not.