I’ve got a very simple question: Are you making the kind of money online you expect (or expected) to make? In other words, are your traffic-building efforts really paying off?
If you’re like many other ClickZ subscribers, you ought to congratulate yourself for taking advantage of advice that can help you generate significant traffic:
- Perhaps the affiliates you discovered with the “Take This Link and Love It” strategy are actually sending targeted traffic your way.
- Maybe the joint venture partners and new clients you’ve engaged with the “Imaginary Friends” guerilla technique are using your site or sending their customers over to visit.
- Ideally, months of search engine optimization efforts using outsourced return on investment (ROI) consulting firms such as PacwestMedia or software such as WebPosition Gold are paying off with significant keyword-based traffic from the free search engines.
- Hopefully, pay-per-click investments are rewarding you with additional targeted traffic from some excellent keyword buys on search engines such as Overture and Google.
- Possibly, you are one of the rare success stories using CPM-based banner ad campaigns to drive solid traffic and new users your way.
I’ll repeat my question, though. Are you really earning as much money as you should be? Or, in contemporary jargon: How’s your ROI?
Is your site successful in converting visitors from browsers into either loyal buyers or long-time users of your services?
Or, are you merely a popular way-station where people browse only to actually go somewhere else to buy?
Simple-to-use analytical tools can help you measure your site’s effectiveness in directing visitors internally. With greater understanding of how visitors navigate your site, you can improve performance.
Log analyzers such as WebTrends, HitBox, and Sawmill deliver raw data: 10,000 people visited your site yesterday; most were using Internet Explorer. But they do little to explain behavior or motivation. Most site operators aren’t experientially or technically qualified to interpret these reports or to critically evaluate site design.
Fellow ClickZ columnist Bryan Eisenberg (full disclosure: I’m a client and I like him)and Jim Novo recently released “The Guide To Web Analytics” to help marketers better understand how visitors interact with their Web sites.
Bryan and Jim’s guide is useful because it explains what occurs on sites and how to interpret and use log data. Metrics such as “clicks to buy” (how many clicks it takes to get from home to completion) and “customer conversion rate” (how many orders were generated for a given number of visits) are explained.
If you know of other tools that help e-marketers understand what log reports mean, please share them with me.