Website analytics is probably the last thing an online business owner wants to worry about. With 15 things to do every day before 10 am and another 50 to do before you can call it a day, sitting down in front of a bunch of web traffic stats seems like a waste of time. While I agree with the sentiment, it's completely wrong. In fact, website analytics should be the first and last thing you review every day and I'll give you three reasons why:
1. Web Analytics Help You Detect Fraud and Incompetence
Have you hired an SEO expert? PPC marketer? Social media guru? If you have people on staff or retain contractors to help you with your site, website analytics are your best friend.
Forget about the reports these experts create because all stats and data can be manipulated or ommitted. What you need is raw, reliable data to calculate the ROI of the services you are paying for.
Specifically, programs like Google Analytics can help you quickly isolate specific traffic streams and provide a host of useful data to calculate ROI, including:
Conversion Rate of Specific Traffic Channels
Conversion Rate for Specific Targeted Keywords
Average Time on Site for Specific Traffic Streams
Bounce Rate for Specific Traffic Streams
Of course, the conversion rate data for specific traffic streams (or Internet marketing experts) will help you calculate the ROI. But the average time on site will also help provide a rough gauge of overall traffic strength. If a specific traffic channel can't keep visitors on site for more than 2 minutes, the traffic is either weak or you have significant issues on your landing pages.
2. Web Analytics Help Assess Site Health
To put that another way, web analytics essentially help show you where you need to invest your money most to boost online profits. Specifically, website traffic analytics will help you assess:
A. Traffic Strength
B. Sales Funnel Effectiveness
C. Shopping Cart Function and Conversion Rate
D. Website Conversion Rate and Rates for Specific Services/Products
For instance, high bounce rates and low average time on site typically indicate weak traffic or exceptionally poor landing pages. You can confirm which by looking at the data for specific traffic streams to see if there are significant variations in performance. If there are, then the issue is likely a weak traffic stream but if all channels are doing poorly, it's more likely to be landing page.
The point is, the data tell you what's wrong with your site so you can best channel your investment dollars to the most critical areas.
3. Web Analytics Eliminates Needless Split Testing
In most cases, optimization of landing pages and product descriptions is completed via split testing. That is, decide what sales tool you want to test (like a headline or CTA) and then create a new one to split test against. If your new sales tool performs better, conversions will increase and your hard work rewarded. However, this is rarely how it works.
You see, the thing people always forget about split testing is it's sheer expense. To statistically verify even a lead gen site with a non-monetized CTA, you need at least 1,000 visitors or more to each version.
So if you think a landing page or product description might have problems with the headline, value proposition, and credibility tools, that's at least 3 tests you need to run at 2,000 visitors per test. At even $1 a click, you can see how that would get very expensive, very quickly.
And the worst part: You have no idea if the headline, value prop, or credibility tools are even suppressing conversions. You are just split testing one sales tool versus a new one and hoping for the best, seriously.
But with web analytics, you can pinpoint the issues and eliminate the guesswork saving loads in unnecessary testing costs and content creation.
In conclusion, web analytics really are vital to your online success because they provide you with an accurate assessment of site health and your investments in traffic generating services. If you don't know the true health of your site, then how can you possibly know what it needs to grow and be more profitable?