Best Way – Analyze Data
How to Start in an Online Business
Phase 3 – Step 19
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Best Way – Analyze Data
Before Analyzing the Data in Google Analytics there is an exercise that you should perform before attempting to view the Data. This exercise will help you to look for the most appropriate Data to Analyze, which is especially important, especially, if your site is fairly new. Only then, will you find the Best Way – Analyze Data.
Most people that are new to Google Analytics are very anxious to learn about Google Web Analytics and are immediately overwhelmed by the amount of Data that is actually offered there. Many of these same people that have a new Website, can begin to suffer from: ‘Paralysis by Analysis’. In the very early stages of their site, they begin to try to Analyze small amounts of Data which they may find disturbing, and work continuously on attempting to better that Data, when the answer to all of their issues was simply: ‘create more good content’.
For example: If you have only one or two posts on your site, with no Internal Links to other posts (because they have not yet been created), there is no reason to be overly concerned that your visitors have only visited one post or page on your site, and have stayed for a relatively short time. There is no where else for them to go!
You can solve this problem easily by creating more content, with applicable Internal Links connecting to other appropriate posts and/or pages, so that your visitors can easily view more information. Do not get hung up on the analysis of your site in the very beginning. Continue to create more good content on a regular basis, and when you feel that you have created enough material to warrant Analyzing the Data, then do so at that time.
Call to Action Tip
One great Tip that I can give you, is to provide a: ‘Call to Action’ by simply supplying your visitors with the ability to visit your site and get a look at all of the Content that you create. You can do this by placing a Link to your site on each and every Post and page that you create.
You can do this by putting: ‘Visit my website at: mywebsite.com’ (replacing: mywebsite.com with your actual site Domain Name) at the beginning of each piece of content that you create (or something similar). This will allow the visitors that are interested, the ability to easily view any and every piece of content that you have created.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool with an enormous amount of information. You could spend days trying to learn and understand it all, and several more days Analyzing all of the Data and trying to figure out just what to do to make everything better. This is a bit of overkill, especially if you have a new website. This will all take time, so do not be overwhelmed now. Yet, before you even begin Analyzing any of the Data offered in Google Analytics, I suggest that you perform the following exercise:
Before Analyzing Google Analytics Data
First, Ask Yourself Some Questions
Log out of your Google Analytics Account and open a Word Processor document. Name your document: Before Using Google Analytics. Now, Copy & Paste the following questions into your document, and Key in your answers to each:
- ‘Why does my site exist?’
- ‘What has to happen for a visit to be successful?’
- ‘Under what circumstances was a visit a failure?
Starting from this point, begin to create a list of questions. Do not even think about what Reports are available yet. We will get to that in a little bit. Just list the questions you need answers to.
Your questions should be focused on your business goals and your customers’ experiences. Rather than asking: ‘Which page has the highest bounce rate?, ask yourself: ‘Which of my pages are underperforming?’
Your list of questions might initially be rather short. That’s fine. However, you can expect your list to grow and change over time.
In practice, you will be creating lists of questions regularly. Maybe weekly. And as you answer questions, you will likely replace them with other, more refined questions.
As you complete your list of questions, you still should be logged out of Google Analytics. This way, you will not let the colorful graphs and shiny Reports sidetrack you yet. Now comes the important part.
Now it is time to look at that list of questions and think about what elements would provide answers or clues. Good, worthwhile questions, will probably require multiple measurements to get a complete answer.
If you want to know which marketing methods are not performing adequately, you might imagine a potential customer clicking on your ad. If they leave immediately, that probably means something went wrong. It could be a disconnect between the marketing and the landing page. If they stay on the site but go to a different area than you expected, it may represent a failure of the marketing to communicate the intended message. Think of all the scenarios that would indicate a failure.
Begin to Analyze
Now is the time to start matching up indicators with the types of available Reports. Make a list of the types of Reports that you feel would provide you the answers to the questions that you have asked.
This will vary with each site. You may decide for your site, that a mixture of time on site, time on page, bounce rate, and conversion rate give you an indication of the success of a particular campaign. Determining how to weight these metrics will depend on the site and the marketing.
After Analyzing your actual Reports in this manner, you should be able to create a to-do list. The to-do list could include items like: ‘Perform A/B testing on landing page’, ‘Send more email newsletters’, etc. These will all be items that need to be listed in your document under applicable headings. You can refer to, and refine this document as times goes on. Refer to it periodically to keep yourself on the right track.
The Cycle of Life
As you optimize your site and campaigns, your questions will change. They will become more refined. As one area is perfected, other areas in need of your attention will surface. This should be a cycle of asking, optimizing and testing until your site is finally so perfect that every visitor who comes to your site can not help but give you money. That’s the goal, at least.
After you have gone through that exercise, Save your document, and file it in your Folder: My Online Business. You can refer to it as needed. Now, it is time to take a look at Google Analytics, along with the Reports that will help provide you some answers to your questions.
Please leave a Comment or ask a Question in the Comments section below.
See my next Post: Best Way – Analyze Data – Phase 3 – Step 19.