Whether you’re blatantly throwing money away on bad ideas or losing potential revenue by failing to capitalize on good ones, here are some surefire ways to make the least out of your investment.
If you don’t have web analytics and aren’t obsessing about them then take whatever you just invested in your site and throw it out a car window on a busy highway. It’s that important. Read more in this next stupid idea and find out how you can avoid it.
Stupid Idea 12: Be Too Busy To Study Your Analytics And Decide It Doesn’t Really Matter Anyway
Without analytics you have absolutely no way of knowing what kind of business your site is generating, what people are doing on your site, what type of actions they’re taking or content they’re reading. It’s a rare business that has a web site whose sole purpose is to sit around like a dusty brochure until (and if) someone decides to scan a few lines.
If you’re one of those businesses, you can stop reading now, and while you’re at it, get rid of your web site altogether and stop wasting money on hosting. But if you intend for your site to actually do something – attract leads, make sales, provide information – then make sure, right now, that you have web analytics installed on your site. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
Everything you do on the web should be measurable. Remember that promotion you ran last week? How well did it go? Check your analytics.
Wondering how many people read your new article, how many pages they read, and how long they spent reading it? Check your analytics.
Wondering where your visitors come from, what browsers they’re using, what keywords they searched? Check your analytics.
Did your web site generate leads or did visitors bounce right off after a couple of seconds? Check your analytics.
Analytics provide so much detail it would be impossible to explain all the nuances here. Rest assured that if you’re not paying attention to them you won’t know what your web site is doing for your business and you won’t have any idea how to improve.
A website is part of your marketing strategy. It must be tracked, measured, tweaked and nurtured for it to be successful. You can’t do that by imagining what your visitors do or how they respond, but by analyzing concrete and tangible traffic reports that will help you make educated decisions.
You can also use analytics to track response to social media. By setting up relevant campaigns you can track the number of people who clicked on your Twitter links or your Facebook updates. You can track how many people responded to an email offer or even one sent via regular old postal mail.
Imagine sending out an “Act Now!” postcard and having no way of knowing how many people acted now. Did you just waste your money on design, printing and postage? If you set up your campaign correctly you can track exactly how many people acted now, later or anywhere in between.
Delve a little deeper into analytics and you can make some pretty educated inferences. You can see visitor behavior that may prompt you to modify your home page, change your navigation, rethink your design or rewrite your copy.
Although analytics won’t stand up and say “your site is too hard to navigate!” an analysis of visitor behavior and relevant numbers may lead you compellingly in that direction.
The bottom line is that if you don’t have analytics and aren’t giving them the attention they deserve, you’re not capitalizing on the opportunity they offer.
Best case scenario, you’re missing out on business you might have gotten.
Worst case scenario, you’ve completely wasted money on a web site that does nothing for you and you’ll never know it.
What’s the most interesting thing you discovered about your site using analytics? Did it prompt you to act?
Read More In The “How To Waste Your Money” Series
- Stupid Idea 1: Hire someone to do it “cheap”
- Stupid Idea 2: Fabricate an FAQ section
- Stupid Idea 3: Just start building the site
- Stupid Idea 4: Worry about search optimization “later”
- Stupid Idea 5: Believe the person who tells you they can “get your site to be number one in Google”
- Stupid Idea 6: Don’t pay attention to your domain name, where it’s registered or when it expires
- Stupid Idea 7: Get the cheapest hosting you can find
- Stupid Idea 8: Write the copy yourself
- Stupid Idea 9: Don’t worry about whether your site or database is being backed up
- Stupid Idea 10: Insist on a news section or blog
- Stupid Idea 11: Brush off social marketing as something that’s too hard/not relevant for your business
- Stupid Idea 12: Be too busy to study your analytics and decide it doesn’t really matter anyway
- Stupid Idea 14: Say “I don’t know” a lot
- Stupid Idea 15: Launch the site, breathe a sigh of relief and cross it off your to-do list