Without a doubt, your website is one of your business’ most important tools. It’s the face of your company on the largest, most-used compilation of information in the world. Billions of people could see your site. If only a tiny fraction of them choose to purchase your goods or services because of that interaction, you could be on the path to an extremely profitable business. How do you make sure that can happen, though? How do you know how efficiently your site is doing its job? This is the Internet, made entirely of data, so there has to be a way to use that data to help you manage your site effectively. What are your options?
You can’t force every visitor to sit through a survey to see what they think of your site and whether they’re going to seek your services or buy your products. Okay, you can do that, but only if you want to lose almost every visitor you ever get. Don’t do that!
To reach your objectives, it’s important to track conversions. “But what if I’m not running an online store? How do I track conversions?” you may hypothetically ask. Simple: Figure out what you want your visitors to do. Would you like them to sign up for your email newsletter? What about filling out a form so your sales department can call them and answer their questions? Maybe you just want them to spend more than 20 minutes on your site, because your data tells you that people who do that end up purchasing more often than those who don’t. Whatever you define as a success is your conversion goal.
There are several services, both free and paid, you can use to help track all the important data you’re missing out on. An important note first: While you can use many of them on subdomains, your results can be a bit off if you don’t have a unique registered domain name. If you’re running a Yahoo!, eBay or Amazon store for your goods, it’s going to be a bit trickier to get everything set up. You’ll probably have to track what visitors click on your store link and what visitors to your store actually buy. There’s not enough time now to discuss all the intricacies, so you’ll have to check with your storefront provider for the details.
Let’s run through three of the best analytics tools:
Google Analytics. This is Google’s top-notch analytics offering and half of the top 10,000 sites in the world use it. In addition to tracking referral URLs, time on site and bounce rates, you can use the Conversion Suite to track specific behaviors leading to your desired conversions. You can track any behavior you care to define as a successful conversion and see every step that lead to it, allowing you to track multi-channel sales funnels.
Crazy Egg. This service doesn’t specifically track conversions, but it does give you incredibly detailed information on how people use your site. It generates heat maps to show where people click on your site and, in effect, tells you what people find most interesting and what they miss entirely. Use it to clue you in to poor usability and help you set up your calls-to-action in places people notice most.
Moz. One of the premier marketing analytics software packages, Moz lets you track the performance of every aspect of your inbound marketing campaign. Use it to see data from search, social, links and mentions all in one place, letting you see how everything ties together and tracking everything on your site in detail.
You’ll need to use some tools to collect the right data, but the basic information you’re looking for is: 1) how many unique visitors you have and 2) how many positive outcomes happened during those visits. Divide outcomes by visitors and you’ve got your conversion rate. The number left over after you subtract positive outcomes and non-convertible traffic from total visitors is, in the words of Avinash Kaushik, the opportunity pie.
The pie will look different based on what your criteria for non-convertible is, but when you track everything your visitors do on your site, you can make it an educated decision. Educate yourself, make a plan and go conquer the Internet.