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If You Have Just Five Minutes to Look at Your Web Stats...

Kristen Fowler Lindsey - Wednesday, July 13, 2005

In just five minutes, what web stats can you look at that can provide you with actionable information? By "actionable information" I mean something that allows you to make an adjustment or improvement to your site or take any other action based on the statistics to improve your web business.

Here are three suggestions:

  1. Evaluate the "Top Entry Pages" on your website. Usually your home page is the top. If it isn't, and you don't have an easy explanation why the top page is so popular, then that is something worth investigating immediately. An example of a good explanation would be if you are paying a lot of money on pay-per-click advertising and you are pointing it to an interior page, not the home page. Top entry pages generally reflect your marketing efforts - pay-per-click, banner advertising, and link building campaigns that may be pointing to pages other than the home page. A quick look at this report will give you a feel for the effectiveness of these campaigns.
  2. Unique Visitors, Most Requested Pages, and Top Exit Pages. If you have some sort of transactional pages on your site like a purchase form or a shopping cart and your web stats do not have all the sales and revenue tracking bells and whistles, these three reports can quickly give you a feel for what your sales conversion rate is. For a given length of time like a month, look at your total unique visitors, check the number of visitors to the form page or first page of your shopping cart checkout, then count the number of visitors on your "thank you" page. (Many stats packages allow you to look at visitors on a page versus page views) Dividing the number of visitors to the "thank you" page by the number of unique visitors will give you a rough percentage of sales conversions on your website. Dividing the number of people exiting your form or checkout page by the number of unique visitors gives your your abandonment rate.
  3. Top Keyword Phrases. This is particularly useful when you are conducting search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC). If your top keywords are your company name or other "identifier" keywords, then you may need to improve your SEO efforts with product-related target keywords. If those product-related target keywords are on top, this is a testament to SEO or PPC success. If there are a lot of keywords in there that are completely unrelated to your business, you may want to check your pay-per-click program - your ads may be showing for unrelated searches - adding negative keyword terms may make your PPC ad budget go further.

There is such a wealth of information that can be found in your web statistics, but these are just a few quick checks you can use to check in on your web site business.

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