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Website Data

Website visitor data isn’t about measuring absolute achievements, like pageviews or entrances. You must use context to interpret the data and look for trends. The main reason to keep visitor behavior data is to look for behavior that appears contrary to what you’d expect given the conversational role of a page. Essentially, though, you have to use more sophisticated data gathering tools to get more clear answers about how people interact with your pages.

You might read my page about Web Content Strategy, if you haven’t already. It’ll clarify how I talk about website data.

Web Content Strategy – read more

Audience data

The more you learn about who is coming to your pages, the better you can understand how to talk to them on your pages.

Geographic data can help you talk about locations more effectively. If more people are coming from far away, and locations are integral to how you talk, you may need more pictures that show the places you are talking about.

New and return visitor ratios can help you understand the conversational role of your pages. If some pages get higher return visitors, you may need to balance your message for both types of visitors. If some pages get higher new visitors, you may be able to focus more on the new reader when talking to them.

There may be other audience data that helps you determine how to have a more effective conversation with your audience. Be sure to look at all the data and determine which data can help you refine your messages.

Pathway data

The pathway visitors take to arrive and depart your pages is essential to developing the most effective conversation with your audience.

You need to know how visitors arrive at your pages. First, this can tell you which pages are more likely to invite new visitors to your site and therefore are more important in getting a conversation started. Second, this can tell you how to manage each conversational piece from one page to another as you guide them toward an intended goal. You can prevent repeating yourself while also inviting and encouraging people to read more.

You need to know if people go to the pages you intend or if they at least stay involved in the conversation you’ve constructed. If you link to specific pages on your site within messages, you need to see how frequently (or infrequently) visitors go to those pages. If you’ve organized pages in your navigation around key conversations points, you need to see how much of each conversation they read. It could help you eliminate distracting points or refine more interesting points.

Event data

You may have interactions on pages that can only be measured by tracking “events”, or actions visitors take within a page.

If you link to other websites, you need events to clarify whether exits from your page lead to those sites or result from disinterest. This is more important if you the sites you link to have critical information that should keep people interested in what you have to say. You need to have exit link events as part of your visitor behavior analytics.

If you have downloadable documents, you need to track how frequently visitors click to get copies of those documents. This is like tracking pageviews for documents. You can only know how frequently visitors view those documents by using events.

If you have videos on your pages, event data can tell you how frequently people played the video at all and how far along they watched the video. This is important if you invest a lot of time in creating videos. You could save yourself a lot of money and effort if people don’t really watch those videos. On the other hand, it could teach you how to create more effective videos that really capture visitors’ attention.

There may be other events worth tracking to understand all the ways people interact with your site, but these three are quite common.

A/B Testing – read more