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Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Just The Stats Ma'am

 

Promoting a website can entail multiple forms of marketing from Pay-Per-Click (PPC) to banner ads to search engine placement. While this is often a great way to go as it helps safeguard your business from fluctuations in any one area, it does lead to additional issues. A main consideration with these multiple facetted promotions is determining exactly which are producing a good ROI and which ones are just costing money with little or no value returned.

And that’s where your statistics come in. In a conversation with Rick Morris of WeDoHosting.com he noted that less than 10% of their hosting clients access their stats regularly. If you are using your site for any kind on business purpose your statistics are extremely important. Without them you have no idea what benefit you are getting from your and your promotions.

Take for example a website being promoted through a combination of SEO, banner advertising, PPC and paid links. If this site were getting 500 unique visitors a day based on these promotions one might consider it a success. What one now has to determine is which promotions are paying for themselves, and which are not. Most PPC engines will have some form of statistics provided to let the user know which terms are being clicked and how many times, but what about the others? Only through checking your site statistics to find out where your visitors are coming from can you determine whether your other promotions are working out. If you are paying $200/mth for a banner ad on a site and, though checking your stats discover that you are only getting 10 visitors per month from this promotion, regardless of whether you are making money overall, this promotion is probably not worth the money invested. If you spend $100/mth on a text link and discover that no one actually clicks on it you’ll have to take a good look at whether this investment is worth it (though SEO must be taken into account with paid links as is noted in a previous article which can be found at http://news.stepforth.com/2004-news/Mar31-04.html).

To be thorough, it is only proper to note that I am mentioning only a small portion of the vast information available in your statistics. You can view which search engines are sending traffic, which search phrases the traffic is coming from, what are your main entry pages and which ones do people leave from (leaving you now with the task of determining why).

But as powerful as your statistics may be there are additional features that are not available through most general stats. If, for example, you want to know what percentage of people that came from Overture went to your order page – this is not available.

If you would like to know how many people that searched a specific phrase in Google went to your contact page – this is unavailable.

Those 10 visitors you got from the banner ad campaign? While outwardly not great, if you discover that all 10 went to your order page then it just might be worth keeping this promotion.

And then there is ClickTracks. ClickTracks is a stats program of a different kind. I couldn’t possibly get into everything it does save to say that we were so impressed that we got it for ourselves and have posted information on it on our website at http://stats.stepforth.com.

So at the very least, log in and familiarize yourself with the statistics your web hosting provider supplies you with (if you’re not sure how your host should be able to point you in the right direction). If done regularly it should only take a few minutes each day to get a snapshot of your site traffic and visitors. This may very well be the best few minutes you spend on your site and the catalyst for future development.


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