I’ve heard it said many times you cannot change what you do not measure. I take that to mean if you don’t know where you started, you have no idea if you are improving or doing worse.
This is important in life and in your business. In life obviously if we start gaining weight it’s generally obvious but we still weight ourselves so that we loose a pound we feel a bit better and celebrate the victory. In our every day life we HAVE to measure things, you really couldn’t build a house or assemble a car or even bake a cake with out some sort of measurements.
The same should be true in our business. Sure you can look at your bank account and say well I still have money or I have more money in there this month then last. But as well know that is NOT a good measurement of success. Just because the bank shows a balance doesn’t mean all transactions have cleared or maybe you have a bigger balance but do you really? Did you take into account that maybe you spent more on advertising or extra on labor. You need measurements in place to see where you can improve.
Today, I’m just going to be focusing on a few spots you can measure to help improve your online success. In each step I’ll give an explanation and where possible the tools I use to measure and why.
The first is your website stats, for this you can either Google Analytics or the stats provided with your web hosting. Many people are not aware that your hosting account in most cases has web stats included. The most common is software called AW Stats. You can verify this by logging into your control panel and look for that name.
The first think I like to check for in my stats are the number of visitors for the month. It’s good to compare with the previous months and of course compare with where you were during this month the previous year. While this will help you see if you are getting more or less visitors you can also start to see trends. Are some months better then others? Maybe your business is seasonal and you people tend to buy your products or services during certain times of the year. Maybe there are slow points in your stats and you can look back and see maybe you were not doing promotions during those times or other things that generate traffic to your site.
While you are looking at visitor stats go ahead and check out daily stats as well. Are there days that preform better than others? Maybe even hours that you get more traffic than others.
Something else I like to look at in the stats is the keywords people used to find or get to my site. Generally the stats will show you single word and keyword phrases that were entered into search engines and your site was chosen in the results. It is helpful to see what words you are being found for mainly for the fact you can see what topics people are interested in for what you are offering. Maybe if you are getting hits on key blog posts with that topic maybe provide more or offer a product for it. This is a great way to see the pulse of your website visitors.
There is a lot more information you can find with your stats such as the devices people are using to view your site. What Browsers they are using and even display sizes they are viewing your site at. This again is helpful as you will want to be sure your site works and looks good in those top devices or browsers.
Another area I like to keep track of stats on is link tracking. Generally when I create a link for a website, email, blog post etc., I try to use link tracking software so that I can see what links are getting clicked on. This allows me to see if a blog post hit target with someone and they clicked a link in the post to resource I was discussing. Or on my products page I can see if someone visited that page and clicked on a product there. If a product is showing interest but not converting to sales I know I need to possibly change up the sales page. Also if the link on the product page isn’t getting clicked then maybe I need to better describe the product, or possibly change how the product is displayed. The product I like to use for this is LinkTrackr. I’ve been using it for years and I’ve not found anything that does the job as well.
In my emails the service I use automatically tracks the links for me which comes in handy that service is Sender.info. I try when writing a promotional email to have three links to the product or offer. By tracking the links I can see if it was link One, Two or Three in the email that worked. Just another way to monitor and see what is working and what is not.
Now with all of this talk about tracking and checking stats, I want to be sure to tell you it is more important to get something up then go back and add the tracking or analytics or what ever system you plan on using for measuring your business success. If you take a peek at my products page you will see that there is many products listed. I can guarantee that I did not add the tracking links as I put the products up the first time. I added the tracking as time allowed. And just like the email service I use if you can find resources that automate the process that is always a good idea and best use of your time.
As always. I’m interested to hear from you how you go about measuring your business success. What is working for you what services do you like? Thanks and I look forward to your comments.