Numbers are important. Numbers are hard to ignore or hide, because they are easy to compare. On social media, the number of “likes” are easy to measure and on review sites five star reviews are easy to measure. This is great, but how is your website performing? Is your site performance-driven and helping you achieve your goals? You can’t simply check the number of likes or a rating to determine this, you must actively track your website’s analytics, establish goals, and monitor your KPIs (key performance indicators).
Setting up web analytics and ongoing reporting may be something you, like other small businesses or websites, have overlooked. It is a costly oversight though because these statistics can help you determine how to drive more traffic to your website and then convert that traffic into customers, followers or whatever your site’s goals happen to be.
Web Analytics – the Foundation of a Performance-Driven Website
Taking it’s cue from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a well-known diagram rooted in the field of psychology, the SEO Hierarchy of Needs, developed by Bruce Clay, Inc., a pioneering company in the field of Search Engine Optimization that actually trained our team on SEO many years ago, explains the various layers needed for SEO. Think of it this way, in Maslow’s version, the most fundamental needs are at the base of the pyramid and each tier represents needs that cannot be realized until the needs below it are met.
Similarly, according to Bruce Clay, if fundamental site requirements are not in place, such as quality content and theme-based site architecture, it is probably not wise to commit resources to higher SEO, like link building.
We’ve modified Bruce Clay’s SEO Hierarchy to accommodate Performance-Driven Websites.
The base layers are the same, but in our version – the Performance-Driven Website Hierarchy of Needs – we include not only SEO at the top, but ALL digital marketing activities that drive your website’s performance.
Importance of Web Analytics for Your Website
Starting from the bottom of the Performance-Driven Website Hierarchy of Needs, the absolute first step is to create a foundation built on analytics and web intelligence. You can almost think of it as the backdrop for all of your digital marketing efforts —it basically encompasses all levels of the hierarchy. At a minimum the data you are collecting tracks visitor engagement on your site, and without that there is no way for you to tell if your website is helping you hit your goals and your marketing efforts are delivering results that matter.
There are many tools to help track this information available on the market today. We use Google Analytics to collect and organize this date for our clients because of its reporting capabilities. Then we seamlessly and in “real time” integrate and display their data into a custom and easy to read dashboard. Visit our website care package service to learn more about custom website analytics dashboards.
Web analytics can track things such as:
- Where traffic is originating from
- If that traffic converts to a lead — but also where these leads are coming from
- When the best time of the day/week for you to post on your website is based on traffic
- What types of pages or posts attract the most traffic
- The keywords people use to arrive at your site
Use Website Analysis to Pick the Right Keywords and Write Content
Once you start tracking where your visitors are spending their time and how they are finding your website, you can better understand the keywords and content you need to make your website more successful. It might be difficult to know where to start when it comes to content and keywords, but keep it simple: the content of a site needs to clearly define who the audience is and what the subject of the site is. Your analytics will tell you if you’re on the right track and where you may need to use new keywords and add new content.
Website Architecture and On-page SEO
The next step is to optimize site architecture and on-page elements, which means that a site’s information architecture should reinforce the content theme of a site. Creating specific content sections of a site and through the use of internal linking, with the use of a directory structure, will help a site appear more relevant to search engines (good on-page SEO) and it will allow visitors to easily find the content they are looking for on your site. Analytics, especially when it’s combined with website audit software and a tool like Google Search Console, will show you if your architecture is optimized and if the search engines are seeing your site the same way you desire.
Importance of Analytics on Website Design
Once you have established your website to be “search engine friendly” you can start to focus on usability and optimized web design. The focus of this step is to make sure the user’s experience is great and that your site is designed to easily lead them to what they are looking for and what you’d like them to accomplish – your site’s goal(s). Your analytics will tell you how visitors are navigating your site and track your performance goals via conversions and other similar metrics.
Importance of Analytics On Website Performance
The last step in our hierarchy is digital marketing. Analytics and web intelligence set the baseline for ALL your online marketing activities. These activities in turn drive the performance results of your website. The importance of website analysis here should not be overlooked whether it has to do with SEO, website design, PPC marketing or social media — to name a few.
Once you have looked at the data collected and displayed in meaningful reports through your website analytics software and reporting dashboard you can easily identify:
- Where you should be spending your advertising budget
- Which channels and/or activities can send more leads or traffic to your website
- What type of content should be added to your website
- And much, much more …
The most important thing to remember about web analytics is to not overlook it and make sure it is properly set up.
The second most important thing is that once you have analytics in place and you start collecting the data, your job is not done. You need to make sense of the data by seeing what’s important (your KPIs) to your site and business and then having a way to easily track your metrics – a dashboard or reviewing periodic reports will take care of this. If you cannot easily turn the data you are collecting into valuable marketing decisions for your website and business, then you are just left with a lot of meaningless numbers and building your Performance-Driven Hierarchy is jeopardized.