Data isn’t sexy. It’s often a turn off for entrepreneurs because it can shine a light on areas of their business they don’t want to face.
But…your data tells the real story.
It can be a lot more appealing to “trust your gut” instead of tracking and evaluating your data. Yet, when it comes to making key business decisions, trusting your gut can be dangerous.
A gut feeling is a guess. If you’re a confident person, it can feel like you’re keeping momentum going by making a decision. That’s what you want, right?
The problem is though, gut decisions are risky.
If there’s no data behind a gut feeling, you’re using the information you have on hand to make a decision that could significantly impact your business.
It’s also possible that you’re rushing a decision in the hopes that you’re making progress.
Data Brings Clarity
Data doesn’t lie. Your web data is a mirror into how your business is doing online.
Anything worth doing in your business is worth measuring. So, why should your website be any different?
Website analytics help you track how effective your marketing efforts are, and can be used to inform future efforts and decisions you make.
It’s a lot like having a budget. Money is sexy…budgets, not so much.
Most people don’t want to sit down and make a budget, or review their budget periodically to see how they’re doing.
BUT, without a budget, you’re flying blind. The same goes for your data.
How Web Data & Analytics Work
Analytics tools like Google Analytics work by installing code onto your website.
Through this code, the tool is able to track how often a page is visited, what type of device they’re on, where they’re located and what page they viewed next.
Why This Data is Helpful
Through this data you can make informed decisions. Your data tells the real story of how your business is doing online.
You can tell yourself that you’re killing it online and have the best website in your industry, but if your data tells a different story… well, it’s time to evaluate it.
Evaluating Your Data
Let’s first talk about what data is helpful. It’s usually broken down into several categories;
- # of visits & unique visitors (people who haven’t visited your site before)
- What browser a visitor is on and the type of device (desktop or mobile)
- Where they are located (if your business serves a particular area, this is important to pay attention to, as you don’t want to be attracting the wrong audience)
- Popular landing pages (pages of your sites visitors visit often)
- How long a user spends on a page (if it’s a short amount of time, they might be confused & not know where to go next, or if they’re spending several minutes on a page, they might be overwhelmed)
- Bounce rate (how quickly they’re leaving your site after visiting it – a high bounce rate, that requires your attention is anything above 70%)
- Ad campaigns that drove the most traffic
- Source of traffic (emails and social media platforms)
- Websites that refer the most traffic
- Keyword searches that bring you the most visits
You need to be checking your data AT LEAST once a month.
Some data, like the # of visitors who visited your site can help you forecast what your next sales month will be like.
If you start to see that a particular channel (social media, for example) is generating a good amount of traffic, you can use this data to influence your digital strategy.
Start planning more social posts for the month, or create a group on Facebook where your community can come together and ask questions, vent, or share ideas.
Using Data to Influence Your Website Changes
You’d be surprised how many times over the years we’ve heard a business owner say, “I’d like the button color to be changed to [insert significant other’s favorite color here].”
OR, let’s structure the navigation like [competitor’s website].
Just because a competitor does it this way, or your partner likes a color doesn’t mean that it’s the best option for your target audience (especially if you’re hoping to differentiate yourself from your competitors).
These are examples of “gut decisions,” that are not based on data.
When it comes to a website, there’s not only your data available, but also data from all other websites on the internet.
Example – The Color of Your Call to Action Buttons
At the risk of going on a design tangent, there have been studies done to try and prove what color button converts more than another color button.
But here’s the thing, it differs depending on your target audience and your color pallet.
So, before you get stuck on the color of your call to action buttons (buttons that make a user want to take the next step), contrast is more important than the color used – at least as a starting point.
If you’re super worried, you can A/B test (test and compare 2 different pages) to see if one color button performs better than another).
When we create a color scheme for a client, we’re keeping this contrast in mind.
You want your call to action button, “POP” (to use an overused term that will probably make designers shudder).
Your button needs to stand out from your other colors in a way that draws the eye.
Take Time to Establish Your Data
Your data is your friend. It may not be sexy, but your data tells the real story.
Take the time to track it and evaluate it, and it will bring you immense clarity.
If you haven’t already done it, take the first step and install Google Analytics on your website.
It’s free and it will help you make informed decisions about your website.
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