Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions (and for Resolution Blog Posts), and I’m adding to the fray! Seriously, if you haven’t yet, now is an excellent time to spend a little time thinking about your top strategies for the coming year with regard to promoting your website(s) and increasing conversions. We’re actually putting the finishing touches on such plans right now at WSO for our current clients.
As you’re doing that, regardless of what the current status of your site is and how well it is performing, one thing you must be sure to do right away is readdress your analytics implementation and make sure it measures everything that is important, and measures it accurately.
Your top resolution for 2015 should be to tune-up your analytics. If you have gone through a detailed plan in setting up your analytics at some point, that’s great! Now’s the time to take a fresh look and see what needs updating. If not, then this all needs to be done for the first time. Let’s dig in!
Address Your KPIs
Analytics are pretty much meaningless unless they’re tied to the overall performance of your company or organization. Either they tie directly to the bottom line (total online revenue is a direct component of your business’s total revenue), or they play a critical role in those numbers (leads generated from the site represent more potential customers in your funnel, which will affect your company’s total sales).
Think about how your site should be contributing to your organization’s bottom line, and work backwards from there to identify the most important metrics. We call these your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and they’re’ the bread & butter of your metrics. All of your analytics should help you make decisions to improve these KPIs. What are the actions you most hope visitors will take when visiting your site? These will determine what your site’s KPIs are.
So if you haven’t determined what your KPIs are, do it now. If you have, review them. Has anything changed? Is your business model identical to what it was back when you first did this? Are your customers any different now days? How has the growing migration to mobile affecting your site visitors’ online behavior? How should these changes affect what KPIs are most important to you?
Whether you think your analytics system is clicking along like a well-oiled machine, or you know it’s pretty messed up, a regular Analytics Audit is well-advised. And now is the time to do this. At Web Site Optimizers, we perform Analytics Audits very often, and they usually identify some missing measurements, or some inaccuracies. It does not take very long, and it is inexpensive. Even if you have had your analytics system fine-tuned before, it’s wise to have an audit done regularly, say about once per year.
A good analytics audit will ensure that all pages on your site are tracking accurately, and will help make sure that you are tracking all of the actions that help you make good marketing decisions. You can’t afford to let your analytics get out of shape.
And by all means, you can do it yourself. There are many excellent Audit Checklists available free of charge out on the Internet. If you are familiar with the technical aspect of your analytics installation, you can certainly go through a checklist and verify most items against your implementation.
Track All of Your Conversions
Often, a site will have only one major goal set up. For example, a Software As A Service site might only track how many people sign up for service, while forgetting to track other “microconversions” such as how many sign up for a free trial, how many request to be added to a mailing list, how many Click to Chat, how many place phone calls, etc. Many times this is simply because these features did not exist when the analytics were first set up. Which is why it’s important to stay on top of your analytics!
Go back and take a look at your KPIs and revisit that question: What actions do you most desire your site’s visitors to take? What separates valuable visits from the not-valuable ones? Make sure you have things set up to track the conversions and microconversions that tell you it was a valuable visit.
Upgrade to Universal Analytics
If your analytics platform is Google Analytics, and if you’ve not upgraded to Universal Analytics, now is the time to think about getting that done. There are more features in Universal, and pretty much any additional new features will only be supported in Universal. It’s very unlikely any new features would be supported in the older Google Analytics (what I call “Classic GA”).
But also, at some point, very possibly some point this year, Google will start phasing the old system out entirely. Then you’ll be faced with a deadline you may not be able to meet. So start scheduling the upgrade now. In many cases, it’s an extremely simple process. We put together an easy tutorial for upgrading to Universal Analyticsat the end of last year.
Want More Help?
If you’re now fired up to get going on Google Analytics, but want a little more help on some of the finer points on setting it up and using it, I highly recommend this series of short videos from Orbit Media on how to setup Google Analytics. Each video is less than two minutes long, and if you don’t want to watch, the post contains step-by-step instructions with each video.
Set Yourself Up Right for 2015
New Year’s Resolutions are about improving yourself. You resolve to do things like go to the gym regularly or eat better so that you’ll be in better shape. You resolve to improve yourself. Well the same goes for your website. Resolve to put your analytics in better shape as well. Get started now.