Web Analytics: You’re Doing it Wrong

Most stats we see when we look at our website analytics are just “vanity stats”. They elicit an emotional response and we can even get addicted to logging in to check our stats, and seeing another slight improvement in traffic or some other positive signal.

But beyond that, how much use do we actually get from checking our stats? How often is it a real, useful business tool and how often is it just another distraction?

I was using analytics the wrong way for years and you’ve probably done the same. In this post, let’s kick our bad habits and look at how to use analytics to actually improve your online business.

Watch the Video Below:


Links: learn about a critical limitation in the way Google Analytics measures bounce rates and check out this review of Google Analytics alternatives.

The Top Down Approach to Analytics

The right way to approach web analytics is to start with a result in mind: what is it that you want to improve on your website? What’s your main coversion goal? What are your secondary goals? Depending on your business model, the answers can vary. They might include:

  • Make more sales.
  • Get more leads/opt-ins.
  • Get more clicks on affiliate links.
  • Get more ad impressions (page loads).
  • Increase user engagement.
  • Get more visitor participation (user generated content).
  • Get a better idea of what people in your niche want and need.
  • Improve social sharing.
  • etc…

Once you know what your goals are, you need to ask yourself what kind of data you need, to be able to make changes to your website intelligently, in order to reach those goals. Think of it as performance-based analytics.

Finally, figure out which tools you need, that will provide the necessary data and help you make the right improvements to your site. The answer simply isn’t always (or even often) going to be “Google Analytics”. In general, you’ll probably need a good analytics solution as well as a split testing tool such as Google Website Optimizer (basic and free) or Visual Webite Optimizer (awesome).

My question for you is: what are the main goals for your website? What do you need to improve? What kind of data and tools would the perfect analytics solution provide for you? Leave a comment and let me know!

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About the Author Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better marketer and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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