Take this site for example. Statistics that will be AUTOMATICALLY captured during your visit include:
When you visited the site (day, date, time)
Which articles you clicked on
Which images you clicked on
Which pages you most likely arrived and left on
Whether you’ve been here before or if this is your first visit
How long you spent on the site
Whether you came to this site directly, through a bookmark, indirectly, through a link from another site or through a search
Whether you were alerted to this site through Facebook, Twitter or any other social media
The search terms and keywords that helped you find this site
Which country you’re visiting from
Whether you ‘shared’ any articles on this site through Twitter, Facebook or any other social media
Whether you dug the site through digg
and a whole raft of other information
There will be no need to conduct shopping mall questionnaires or incentivise site visitors to fill out their details with giveaways because their very visit is all that is needed to gather reams of useful data.
The key questions to ask when measuring your online success are:
WHO are my visitors?
Who are they? What country is your site most popular in? Are they predominantly Mac or PC users? Are they visiting your site via iphones or plain old desktop machines? Is your audience the target you were aiming for? Sometimes you may gain a following with certain demographic groups you had never even thought of when starting your site.
WHAT sort of content is most popular?
It is clear that the most popular article on this site by far is How to Steal Someone’s Fame and Profit This gives me a good idea as to what sort of articles visitors are looking for so that I can tailor my content to suit and hopefully boost traffic in the process.
WHEN are they visiting my site?
My site stats tell me that my site is most popular everytime I create a new article which makes perfect sense. Visitor’s tend to only visit my site just to read my latest article. This means that to encourage further site visits I need to constantly update my content regularly which is something most website owners neglect to do.
Do your visitors prefer to visit in the morning? If so, is it a good idea to release your latest articles first thing in the morning when people are fresh and receptive to new information. Is the sort of content you create more suitable for an after dinner web surfing audience? Your stats will help you to decide.
WHERE are they coming from?
Is your site a viral sensation with lots of traffic thanks to links and mentions on other sites or do you have a small but loyal audience that has bookmarked your site and returns to it regularly?
Are your site visitors finding your site through Google searches, emails from friends or links sent virally through Facebook. Modern tracking software can even tell you the search terms and keywords that led people to your site. This is probably the most valuable part of the evaluation process because it gives you ideas on how to create your content for maximum impact.
HOW many visitors am I getting?
Is your site traffic growing? If not, why not? Notice how when you add certain content traffic rises or falls correspondingly. Generally, the goal of most campaigns is to increase visitor traffic to a particular place on the web. The more eyeballs on page, the better.
WHY are they coming to my site?
Visitors to your site are coming to either be informed or entertained, which category does your site fit into? Notice how certain articles on certain topics are more popular than others, why is that? For example, my site stats indicated that more people are interested in learning how to drive traffic to their site rather than be entertained by the best tv ads from the Superbowl.
No website stats = FAIL
If you have a website and you have not been tracking these sorts of statistics then I strongly urge you to contact me immediately as you’re missing out on valuable data that can mean the difference between your online marketing success or failure.