Dr. House’s Guide to Analytics
If you’re like most website owners, there is nothing more interesting than finding out how many visitors you’ve had to your site. Knowing how many visitors you have can help you determine your next step—be it to hire a technical writer to flesh out the content or to purchase ad space on the latest social media network. However, there is a world of information out there beyond just number of visitors. It just takes a little knowledge and effort to find and utilize this info. Some people compare the task of web analytics to detective work. While that’s a fair comparison, another way of looking at analyzing your traffic is to consider it as a “diagnosis” of sorts.
The world’s most famous (fictional) diagnostician is Dr. Gregory House (played by Hugh Laurie). In the TV Show “House”, he was often diagnosing serious and unusual ailments with limited information available to him. In reality, that’s what you can do too—you can diagnose what’s going wrong (or right) with your website based on some limited information. For an interesting look at the subject of analytics, consider these four ways that Dr. House would approach the task.
• Look at the Website First – Just like Dr. House doesn’t go straight to the lab to start running bloodwork, your website “patient” deserves a visit. Get a feel for what visitors see and do when they visit your site. Then, everything else you find out through detailed analytics will make more sense.
• Look Beyond Visitors – Yes, visitors are good, and visitors are important. But, all visitors aren’t alike. Dr. House always looks beyond the obvious diagnosis to figure out what’s happening. Look beyond this obvious number to find out what your visitors are doing when they get to the site.
• Look at the Referrals – How are your visitors, buyers and passionate customers finding your site? Look at where your traffic comes from and work “backwards”. Dr. House always takes time to figure out what a patient was doing before he or she got sick. You need to look at what your best customers are doing before they come to your site. This can help you attract more of these top-notch performers.
• Are they Returning? – A very important set of stats in web-analytics has to do with how often visitors come back if they leave your site. Whether or not this is a returning customer or just someone who shopped around and came back, it’s important to follow up and see what happens in the future. House doesn’t stop watching a patient just because he or she seems to be feeling better—follow up is key!
No matter if you want to look at web analytics as a diagnosis or just see it as the straightforward task it is, it IS important that you make time to look at your numbers. By analyzing your site performance, you can figure out the best way to build your business—and that’s something Dr. House would certainly appreciate if he decided to build a website.
Tracy S enjoys competitive pool (8 and 9-ball), reading, yard sale “picking”, cat photography (mainly working with sleeping or unwilling feline subjects), traveling, board games and home improvement.