Small businesses who are trying to read and interpret Web analytics data, and correlate it with conversion optimization goals, find it easy to loose their way. Most small business owners aren’t aware of the significance of Web analytics goals, and when they should – or should not – be tied to conversion optimization goals. Before you spend time and money on creating a conversion optimization plan tied to your Web analytics goals, think about the point of conversion optimization. It’s not worth your money and resources to improve Web analytics for their own sake; instead, you should create conversion optimization goals tied to revenue generation.
Web Analytics Goals
Web analytics goals are goals focused on key performance indicators for your site. Things like clicks, time on page, micro-conversions and bounce rate can all be tracked as web analytics, and they can provide useful insights about how visitors use your site. Web analytics goals are useful to spark new hypothesis for testing, and to evaluate how visitors react to changes to your site. But web analytics goals are not the be-all and end-all of web design, and these aren’t the goals you should focus on as you create and implement your conversion optimization strategy.
Conversion Optimization Goals
Many businesses get bogged down in minutiae when setting up conversion optimization goals. It’s easy to think that things like improving the time visitors spend on a page, or getting users to click where you want them to, are helpful goals. In reality, though, you should refrain from tying your conversion optimization goals to your web analytics.
Web analytics are only useful as a roadmap for how users interact with your site. You shouldn’t waste time and resources optimizing for web analytics goals – particularly goals that don’t have explicit meaning and value to your business.
Tie Conversion Optimization Goals to Revenue-Generating Actions
In short: you should tie your conversion optimization goals as closely as possible to revenue-generating actions. If improving the time on page doesn’t generate revenue for you, don’t focus too much on it. It’s easy to get bogged down in optimizing your page for web analytics, but those types of optimizations are useless if you’re not generating revenue with your changes.
Every time you make a change to your site, or spend money or resources working on optimization, you should ask yourself how this particular change is going to generate more revenue for you. If it’s not a revenue-generating change, drop it or lower it on your priority list.
When is it Ok to Focus on Web Analytics?
That’s not to say that you should never use your web analytics data to determine your conversion optimization strategy. There are situations when it’s useful to spend time and resources to boost web analytics. For example, if your site is ranking poorly in search, your web analytics may be able to help explain why. If users are bouncing quickly from your site, or you’re noting other analytics that could be contributing to the fact that your page rank is low, there is value in optimizing for those issues to boost your search rank.
While it may not lead to revenue generation as directly as a click to buy a product, boosting your search and getting more visitors to your site is generally a good thing – as long as they’re qualified visitors. An increase in number of visitors, if done properly, will lead to an increase in revenue, so this type of activity is indirectly tied to revenue generation – and therefore, it’s a situation where it’s valid to optimize for web analytics.