There’s no point in measuring if you’re looking at the wrong metrics.

Over the years, I’ve been preaching to all the people I work with to spend more time analyzing their analytics and tweaking their websites and to use the data that is available to be capitalized upon. To make a point, I would like to present some stats on a website we have managed for the past seven years – Craigdarroch Castle.

castle-main1In 2008, the first website we managed for Craigdarroch Castle website was made live and tracking codes were installed so we could review statistics at years end and make some decisions based on actual visitation facts. The website had 47,000 visitors that first year. There was no conversion rate data because, quite frankly, we had nothing which could be purchased online at that point but the analytics showed us where visitors were going and what might be the best pages to add to any site development.

Over the next 5 years, we analyzed and tweaked the website, adapted it to WordPress, integrated Webmaster Tools and SEO tools, built in an Events Management section and continuously named every image with Alt Tags, carefully detailed every page with unique titles and keywords and inserted Call to Action buttons throughout the website to inform and direct visitors to come and visit The Castle by buying a ticket.

In 2013, we adapted the site to be responsive; to adapt to any mobile device it was called up on, and to my delight, we exceeded 300,000 visitors and achieved a conversion rate of 6.45%.

This is how a website should be managed. Through ongoing and constant review and tweaking.

I have many people for whom I have built websites over the past decade and in many cases, I have to go back and ask them what they are getting from their website. What is it doing for them if they do not want to pay to have the site analyzed ? Why did they build a website ?

The Castle is an example of what a website can and should be… an evolving website targeted at achieving goals which generate revenue.

How To Track The Right Metrics
There’s no point in measuring if you’re looking at the wrong metrics. You can differentiate between two types of metrics:

1. Vanity Metrics
Vanity metrics are metrics that make you feel good without providing any actionable insights.

  • Examples: Visits (It’s nice to get traffic, but is your traffic targeted? Does it convert?)

2. Actionable Metrics
Unlike vanity metrics, actionable metrics help you make smarter business and marketing decisions. Actionable metrics help you answer questions such as:

  • How should I allocate my marketing budget?
  • Which paid keywords have the highest conversion rate?
  • Does sending monthly (or weekly) newsletters increase e-commerce revenue?

Examples of Actionable Metrics:
Average revenue per visitor coming from your Facebook page
Number of leads you got last month from your SEO campaign
Total revenue that can be attributed to your print-ad campaign

Now that you understand actionable metrics, it’s time to set up your Analytics properly.

Step 1: Install an Analytics package.
I recommend Google Analytics, period. Most other analytics tools are inferior.

Step 2: Start tracking Conversions
The next step is to set up conversion tracking. What most people don’t realize is that an Analytics account without conversion tracking is almost entirely useless. You need conversion data to draw conclusions from your Analytics.

Step 3: Learn From Your Data
After implementing Step 2, wait a couple of weeks, then check out some reports. Google Analytics differentiates between four types of standard reports:

  • Audiences (who is coming to your site?)
  • Acquisition (where are your visitors coming from?)
  • Behavior (what are your visitors doing?)
  • Conversions (details on your conversions)

Then the fun begins. Contact us for help. It’s in our analytical mind.

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