Improve your sales through the use of web analytics

September 17, 2010

If your business is like most, some percentage of your monthly revenues depend directly or indirectly upon visits to your website. Of course, if your business relies primarily on e-commerce to make sales, that percentage may be 90% or even 100%. But even if you do not directly sell your products and services online, you likely rely upon your website as a catalyst for at least some of your sales revenue.

So, if your website plays such an important role in developing sales opportunities, you should ask yourself, "How well do I understand the behavior and preferences of the visitors to my website?" If the answer is, "Not very well," you have a huge opportunity in front of you.

As a group, visitors to your website are likely to be a mixture of casual explorers, prospects, and customers. Obviously, the more of those visitors that you can convert from "casual explorer" to "prospect" and from "prospect" to "customer," the more sales you will make. To accomplish this, you need to become familiar with web analytics.

Understanding Web Analytics

Web analytics are the sum total of all of the data concerning who visits your site and how they behave while they are there. Enterprise-class web analytics packages can help you acquire this data and turn it into actionable insights. For example, Google Analytics is easy to install and free to use.

Analytics packages like Google Analytics are essentially data aggregator applications that convert raw server log data concerning website visits into meaningful descriptive statistics. You, the website owner, can use that statistical data to make better decisions about the management and optimization of your website.

What A Good Analytics Package Can Tell You

Analytics packages can give you a wealth of information about your website. The data come in various forms and can be presented as statistics such as counts, percentages, dollars and time durations. It can also be presented as geographical information about where your visitors are located and what languages they speak.

Here are some examples of questions you can answer about your site's visitors using data from a good analytics package:

1. How long do visitors stay on each page of my site, on average?

2. What percentage of my site's visitors are new visitors vs. repeat visitors?

3. Which web browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) are being used to visit my site?

4. What percentage of visitors came to the site via search engine vs. from another website vs. a direct visit?

5. Through which page(s) of my site do visitors typically enter the site?

6. What percentage of visitors come to one page of my site and then leave without visiting other pages? Note: this is known as the "bounce rate."

7. How many pages does the average visitor view?

8. Which content on my site gets the most attention?

These are just some of the valuable things you can find out about your site's visitors for any time period you specify (e.g., one week, one month, etc.). Using this information, you can continue to optimize your website. Your ongoing goal should be to convert an increasingly higher percentage of casual explorers and prospects to paying customers.

Topics: Sales, Featured, Blog Posts

Jed Jones

JCJ Interactive

Jed C. Jones, Ph. D., is the principal and founder of the interactive marketing company JCJ Interactive and the database marketing company Mind Ecology. Jed is a marketing problem solver and consultant, combining several skill sets - including online marketing, database analytics, writing and branding - to help his clients succeed. Previously, Jed led marketing efforts for numerous Fortune 50, midsize and small companies, including three years in enterprise products marketing for Dell, Inc. in Japan. He is fluent in written and spoken Japanese and has a working knowledge of six other languages. Jed holds degrees in Japanese (B.A.), business (M.B.A.) and organizational systems inquiry (Ph.D.).
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