Discover how to improve the targeting of content
on your website by learning to act upon your website
Recently, I talked with a speaker about her "extremely
successful" Website. She based this opinion
on the fact that she was selling several e-books
every day and generating "some calls".
When I asked if she was reviewing her traffic analysis,
she said "No, why should we - it's clearly
working - we can tell that from the sales".
I didn't ask if she knew how her sales and calls
compared to the actual visitor numbers for the site
- I suspected that she'd have been shocked to learn
how many more opportunities she was losing.
Know What's Happening
If you don't know what's happening with your Website
visitors, where they go, what they're looking for,
what they respond to, and what turns them off about
your site, you can't possibly make the most of your
online potential. Your Web traffic reports offer
unprecedented opportunities to analyze these relationships
on a one-to-one basis.
Here are some examples of using your metrics to
ask intelligent questions and make informed adjustments
to your site:
Tracking your Promotional
There are many ways to promote your site, both online
and offline. Some are free and some, while not costing
money, do take up time and effort. It's important
to know the marketing options that generate the
best return on investment for all your resources.
Joyce Weiss works with her public relations consultants
to analyze the immediate impact of her radio appearances
on her Website traffic (at http://www.joyceweiss.com).
She said "This way we can decide if the Website
needs to be tweaked for radio shows, or if I need
to say something different on the shows to get people
to sign up."
Following the links to your site (called "referring
URL's in the reports) can be very useful in creating
good professional relationships. Often, site owners
won't tell you that they've quoted you so it's important
to check that the reference is appropriate.
And, it's important to say thank you. I once followed
a link to my site and found that one of my articles
was required reading for a course at the University
of Southern Oregon. When I dropped a note to the
Professor telling him how honoured I was, he replied
"Not at all, I really like your ideas - and
by the way, we're looking for a speaker for our
next conference . . ."
Dave Paradi does this too: "I do check out
those sites that link to mine. One time I found
that the link was to an old page, so I wrote to
them and suggested that they update the link. I
was also able to mention my other articles that
would benefit their visitors."
If you're paying for traffic, make sure that the
keywords you've selected, or the sites that you're
advertising on are generating good quality leads.
Abby Marks-Beale told me how she does this:
"I've set up separate portal pages for those
who come to me from my pay-per-click program through
Overture. This way I can see if the program is really
In other words, you can create special entry pages
for visitors from Overture, Google AdWords, e-zines
that you sponsor, or other campaigns. If a visitor
enters through one of these pages, they can only
have come from this one specific source. Then you
can follow where on your site these visitors subsequently
go, how they respond and ultimately decide whether
they're good leads and whether your money is well
Hot Content Areas
Your traffic reports list the most requested pages
on your site, telling you what's hot and what's
not about your content. If you're offering downloadable
articles or special reports, you can see which of
these are most popular.
Mitchell Gooze makes a point of doing this: "We
track white paper downloads by person, and we know
exactly who downloads which white papers. We store
this information in their data records. We also
know which topics are most interesting to visitors."
Knowing the hot content areas on your site can give
you great ideas for future product and program development.
Rita Risser (http://www.FairMeasures.com) developed
a whole set of online checklists and policy guideline
documents based around the subjects that her visitors
were searching for.
Calls to Action
One of my favourite mantras is "Every Page
of your Site Should Have a Strategy". You should
absolutely know which segment of your target audience
each page is aimed at, what's in it for them and
what you want as a result. Provide clear (and clickable)
calls to action at every point in your copy where
the reader might be ready to make the next move
- whether it's "Sign up for our newsletter",
"Buy our product", or "Contact me
to ask about our services".
Sometimes this means directing the visitor to the
next page that you'd like them to see. Dave Paradi
"I realized that people were entering my site
on one of two specific pages, which are a couple
of my articles that now have great placement on
Google. I also noticed that almost all of these
visitors entered and exited on that page, not visiting
any other pages.
"So how could I get them to see the rest of
the site - particularly the products that I hoped
they would buy? I included a link to my products
page at the bottom of each article. And last month,
the products page jumped to the second most visited
page, and it appears that many visitors, based on
the value of the articles, are checking out the
And he's taking this a step further:
"It hasn't yet resulted in increased orders,
but I think the next area I need to address is writing
more successful copy for the products page."
At the Risk of Repeating
Myself . . .
I like to think of Web traffic analysis as "market
research that cannot lie". The reports show
you what visitors do on your site of their own accord,
without prompting or other influence. Not to discount
focus groups, surveys and asking your favourite
clients for feedback - those are important tools
as well, but not as powerful.
So, if you haven't clearly defined the strategies,
target markets and outcomes for your site, and if
you aren't looking at your metrics to evaluate the
success of these, then you're shooting in the dark
with your Web investment. The examples in this article
show you just a few of the many ways that you can
use this information - I hope that you're now motivated
to find out more about your own site.
© Copyright Philippa Gamse, 2002-2007. All rights