Everything About Online Web Analytics
The first online web analytics started almost with the dawn of the World Wide Web. In 1996, a new service, “Web-Counter,” started counting the number of hits a website received—the first web analytics metrics that could be seen and analyzed by site owners. These hit counters gradually became more complex, and several services started looking deeper into the data.
As the web has evolved, the online web analytics industry has exploded. Hundreds of companies have sprung onto the scene, all designed to help companies analyze their web traffic and make modifications to their content and marketing strategies based on their traffic data. Online web analytics have been a boon to law firms who know how to use them—if you want to know more, keep reading this guide.
Everybody's Got A Story
When you start working with online web analytics, you might find one curiously gross term mentioned by analytics gurus: “data pukes.” This refers to the fact that when you use standard reports and web analytics metrics, you often end up seeing large quantities of data, but that data might not hang together.
Every potential client who visits your website has a story and a reason for landing on your site. If you're too busy looking at the web analytics metrics in standard reports, your online web analytics may lack a sense of this story—you'll see a lot of numbers without knowing what brought people to your site or how to keep them there.
That's why good online web analytics can be customized and adapted to answer your questions about your website. If you're not sure why one keyword is working and another isn't, remember that your visitors aren't just numbers, they're people with needs and desires. Experiment with different keywords and content, and keep your eye on web analytics metrics the entire time. As you become more experienced, you'll start to understand how numbers can represent the story of your site visitors.
The Forest and the Trees
With thousands of different report types available for your viewing, and hundreds of separate web analytics metrics being examined, it's critical to keep your goals in mind. If you aren't goal-oriented when doing online web analytics, you'll have knowledge about the reports themselves, but not the wisdom to improve them.
One of the easiest mistakes for people to make when they're not experienced with online web analytics is to get swept away in the sheer quantity of information that is available. After hours, days, or even weeks of looking at web analytics metrics, though, you may find that you're no closer to your goal than you were before you started—and that your brain just can't handle more numbers.
Any time you look at a report, keep asking yourself: “Does this get me closer to my goals? How?” Not all web analytics metrics will be relevant for your current project. If you see something odd while doing online web analytics, follow your hunch—but don't keep heading down dead-end paths.
Zeroing In On Differences
You have two landing pages that couldn't be performing more differently. One is attracting new clients on a daily or near-daily basis, keeps visitors on the page for several minutes, and shows high levels of engagement. The other is showing a bounce rate of over 50 percent and hasn't yet converted a client.
A talented beginner to online web analytics changes the second landing page to look more like the first, in whatever ways they can. Change the site, change the traffic—right? An intermediate user adds in some other research, making sure that pay per click keywords were well calibrated for the landing page, and that the text of a sponsored ad link looks properly targeted.
All of these actions will probably help you to make your web analytics metrics for the second site look more like the first. But if you're the kind of advanced online web analytics user who wants to know not just what works, but why it works, think scientific method. Try changing just one aspect at a time to find out which alterations change which web analytics metrics.
This kind of experimentation takes longer, it's true—but the online web analytics data you'll get will be much more useful for revising your site in the future. This kind of experimentation is key if you want to beat your competitors in key web analytics metrics, so you should try to get comfortable with slow, steady changes and constant monitoring.
Finding Your Blind Spots
One of the best ways to increase your client base is to figure out where your website is currently weak. In order to do this, you may want to look at web analytics metrics not for your own firm, but for the firms of your competitors.
If your competition has seen huge increases in web traffic and client conversion through a website that includes a great deal of video, you need to know: this kind of research can help you know what hypotheses should be tested next when you work on your online web analytics. You may also find a new way to leverage social media websites by looking at a competitor's Facebook or Twitter feed.
Keep in mind that researching your competition doesn't mean you have to become more like them in every way. The best way to attract clients is to differentiate yourself from competitors, and your web analytics metrics are likely to suffer if you become too similar to another local law firm. Competition research can help you to know where your competitors are weak, so that you can take advantage of any weak spots in their web marketing strategies.
Your data will be most effective and illustrate broader trends when you keep monitoring web analytics metrics over a long period of time. The goal of online web analytics for your law firm should be continuous improvement, not a one-time redesign. By maintaining constant monitoring of your website's traffic trends, you can keep your marketing strategies fresh, current, and always data-driven.