For better or for worse, we're living in the age of data, a time when facts and figures are worth as much as any currency. It's not enough to just collect raw data, though. Whether your website is a storefront, an informational site, or something in between, any organization with a significant online presence needs to have a strong web analytics strategy focused on putting those findings into action. Properly applied analytics can show you whether or not you’re hitting your objectives and help you develop your web strategy for the future.

Web Analytics Defines Your Online Strategy

Web analytics is more than just installing a script on a website and setting up a monthly report to show the number of visitors on your site. As the name implies, web analytics requires analysis. Before the numbers you get from your analytics tool can offer any real value, you’ll need to interpret them.

Knowing how to interpret analytical data can provide you with a much better understanding of both your users and your website. Getting to know how your visitors use your site and what they want from it is crucial to developing a successful online strategy. Whether your goal is to tailor the website to the user's needs or to get users to change their behaviour, what's important is to know how the users use the website right now. This allows you to optimize your online strategy and define future goals.

Set Objectives With Ongoing Analytics

Constantly analyzing and documenting how user behaviour changes as your site improves can reveal a lot about what is or isn't working for you. Web analytics is a cyclical process that should be ongoing throughout the development and optimization of your website.

Say, for example, that your support team is answering the same questions from users over and over again. You might set a goal to get more users to read your FAQ so they can have their questions answered without having to contact you. Analytics can tell you what paths your users are taking and what kinds of content is drawing their attention, which can then help you determine the most effective placement and presentation for your FAQs.

Don't Fumble Around in the Dark

If you aren't using a web analytics tool there's really no way of knowing whether you're moving closer to your goal or further away from it. This is just one way that ongoing analysis and documentation of changes in user behaviour is critical to running a website that lines up with your company's online strategy. Even better, analytics can be a powerful tool for demonstrating the ROI of developing your website, and for securing funding for further improvements.