Obviously, I am going with the assumption that you do have a content strategy! Whether you are serving up longform how-to articles or you’re catering to a video-oriented audience, the bottom line is the same: you are providing content to your visitors. And, at the end of the day, you want to have a strategy so that you know what you want to achieve/where you are headed and how to get there.
So, working with that assumption in mind, how do you make sure that you’re on the right track? How do you know if you’re doing the right things with your content?
I have two words for you: web analytics.
How to take advantage of web analytics
Web analytics tools have been around almost since the Internet was invented. It’s a no brainer – people put up content for the world to see, and they want to know how their content is being consumed. If you’re the kind of person who easily falls in love with numbers and statistics, then taking advantage of web analytics will not be a problem for you.
What type of information can you get from web analytics? It really depends on the specific platform that you use – there are quite a lot out there, but we’ll talk about that in the next section – but there are some basic parameters that you ought to find in every platform. These are as follows:
- how many people visit your site
- how many people visit each page
- which pages get the most visits
- which pages retain the attention of visitors the most
- what keywords or search terms are used to most to arrive at your site
- the location of your visitors
- the OS/browser of your visitors
Taking a quick look at the data types that web analytics can give you, it is easy to see how you can interpret the data to your advantage. One obvious example: if a certain topic/blog post does really well, perhaps it is worth taking a look at focusing on similar content. In the same way, if you see that certain topics do not get enough eyeballs, perhaps you should forget writing about them; that or trying a different approach to the topic.
Knowing that you can glean a lot of useful information from web analytics, which platform should you use?
Experts in this realm will have their own preferences, but they do tend to agree on one thing: you do not have to settle for using only one web analytics tool. As I mentioned earlier, different platforms have their own pros and cons, and it is a wise move to use two or three and combine their powers.
One of the best web analytics tools out there is Google Analytics. There is no doubt about that. Not only is it free, it is very powerful and gives you a host of data – some of which you may not even need in the beginning. If you are already using other Google Apps, then it is intuitive to go for Google Analytics.
There are other players in the game, and if you want real-time data, take a look at this comprehensive resource for web analytics options.
Making it easier
Why make life difficult, though? The chances are that you just want something that works so that you can focus on your main activity: creating content.
If this is how you feel, you will want to check out HeatSync, a relatively new web analytics platform. The main reason I’m highlighting HeatSync is the fact that it is designed to pull together data from various sources online. This means that you do not have to manually visit each web site for details and stats. You merely have to visit the HeatSync dashboard and view the data in one place. Call it a one-stop shop for web analytics, if you will!
Another thing going for HeatSync is its comparison functionality.
One of the things that is useful to content providers is the ability to compare how web sites or pages perform. With the Compare function, as you can see above, it is a simple matter of identifying two web sites. HeatSync will give you a visual representation, together with the numbers you need.
How much is it going to cost? That’s another cool thing. As of now, nada. Zero. Zilch.
That’s because the platform is still in beta, and during the period, signing up is FREE!
Are you serious about making sure that you are on the road to achieving your goals? If so, you really shouldn’t wait. Take a look at web analytics now and get started on evaluating your performance. It may be hard for some people to receive feedback positively, but that’s really the only way you can make corrective moves if necessary; and web analytics are part of that feedback loop.
Lead image via Nils Geylen