Excellent additions to my answers. The only point I would even begin
to content would be your assertion that 'giving information' is a
suitable business objective. While I understand your point, sometimes
companies use that objective as a catch-all for failure to truly
understand how to define business objectives and activities.
I think I cover this in great deal in the chapter on Content
Measurement in the book, the fact that business objectives ideally map
directly back to the core reason that a company has a Web site, or, in
the case of offline businesses, the reasons that they exist in the
first place. While yes, visitors need information to make reasonable
and informed decisions, a better business objective would be to
"generate sales" or "generate leads" and an activity of either is
"provide the right information to support sales/leads" (and then the
associated pages/clicks that support that activity are easily
A small point to be sure but an important one. If I have any windmill
I prefer to tilt at it would be getting companies to really think
about their business objectives and activities and to instutionalize
them once they've done that. Wierd work, to be sure, but someone's
got to do it. ;-)
----- Original Message -----
From: natalie.huijsman@... <natalie.huijsman@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2004 08:52:52 +0200
Subject: Re: [webanalytics] Writer looking for companies/vendors to
speak with ...
Nice to see some more people from here (overseas ;) ).
Please find my experiences / comments: ##
* please tell our readers (small to medium sized business owners
engaged in online marketing) why web analytics in general is
important to them
>>> Web analytics is important to any business of any size who
spends any amount of money on marketing on the Internet. You could
simply spend money on marketing schemes - pay per click advertising,
banner ads, email blasts, you name it - without regard to how said
schemes actually drive qualified traffic to your Web site but you
would save time and money by just throwing the cash into a bin and
setting it aflame. As far as you know you'd see the same
results ... Measuring the effect of your marketing spend is just as
imporant online as it is offline. Fortunately, while the processes
for measuring online are slightly less well defined than offline,
there is much more data and the data is better in general.
## Even if you do not spend a huge amount of money, tracking can be
interesting. SME's that work closely with other companies, can ask for
mutual linking. This is a cheap way to market your website. Of course,
you will want to know which of your partners drives traffic to your
site. Also ask for the data of the mutual linking party, and compare
these to yours.
* what do website owners need to consider when deciding what to
measure on their website?
>>> What their business objectives are - why do they have a Web site
in the first place? If you don't know ** why ** you have a Web site
then you probably don't need to have a site. The act of defining
your core business objectives is the first step in establishing
which metrics you'll measure on a regular basis.
## Please remember that something as simple as 'giving information' is
a valid business objective for a website. Consider if you need a
distinction in your website for members and non-members, if you want
to publish an opt-in newsletter et cetera. Which pages, next to the
homepage, are important?
* how do free log analysis tools like webalizer
(http://www.mrunix.net/webalizer/) compare with paid-for tools?
>>> You get what you pay for. Companies like Omniture and WebTrends
spend significant sums working to understand how best practices can
be implemented and passed on to their users. Why would any business
owner expect the same quality from something freely given (and
thusly only lightly supported). Pay for Web analyuics if you pay
for marketing. Period.
## Try the free webalizer for a while (of course after you have read
Web Analytics Demystified) to understand the metrics and get a feeling
for it. As Eric says, you get what you pay for. Quality simply costs
money, as in everything. Write down you questions that you have along
the way. With this knowledge you'll speak the vendor language a bit
more. Although they are all happy to explain each detail and are keen
on cunning questions.
* The key seems to be getting actionable data. What do website
owners need to know or do to be able to turn raw statistics into a
useful decision-making tool?
>>> Again, building a program around continuous improvement and key
performance indicators is your best bet. Neither are difficult once
you understand the process and both will significantly increase the
chances of being successful with your analytics program and
marketing in general. The very least a business should do is work
to identify a reliable, experienced vendor in their price range that
can increase the chances of being successful. Because there are **
tons ** of vendors now (see Guy Creese's list at
http://www.ballardvale.com/vendorlist.htm for a good summary) you've
got plenty to choose from, regardless of which side of the pond
## Knowing the objectives is important. Make it SMART, so not 'more
visitors' or 'more subscribers for the newsletter'. Make it 20% more
subscribers in period X. This way you know what to look for in the
analytics, which pages et cetera.
* Is there anyone else you recommend I talk to for this story? I'm
particularly keen to track down stories about companies that have
been able to improve their website's performance by making changes
highlighted by studying web analytics, but key contacts at vendors
or analysts would also be helpful.
>>> I have, for your benefit, posted my responses to the analytics
discussion group I moderate (hope you don't mind). If anyone has
read this far, perhaps they'll pipe in and agree to speak with you
on the subject. I included your email address at the top of my
post. You can join the group by sending an email to webanalytics-
## You have reached the right person in Eric. Please join the group,
and you will receive valuable information and discussions on this
topic! If you want to know more, please do not hesitate to contact me
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