Since the CFO of CNN admitted about two years ago that the company did not have an e-business strategy, and after the subsequent hefty punishment of CNN by the financial markets, many CEOs decided to start formulating e-business strategies and invest in Internet technologies.
The legacy, two years later, is a proliferation of Web sites. Unfortunately, many of those sites don’t work or don’t deliver the expected results. Yet not enough people are delving into the reasons behind those failures.
As a consultant passionately committed to e-business, I was distressed to find recently that the Web site of a very large multinational corporation was running almost on its own. No one was looking at the traffic reports. Another example I recently came across was a high-profile Australian travel company that claims significant volumes of online business. The management was ever so pleased to find out about the availability of Web site analysis tools!
Those two incidents made me feel the acute need to promote the business necessity of Web site traffic analysis.
First, back to basics.
If you are building a Web site, you should have a reason for doing so. Once it is built and operational, it’s critical that you understand how it is working for you. If you don’t have an interest in making the attempt to understand, take those Web sites offline; don’t let yourself be the person behind one of the growing number of Web sites in the World Wide Web’s salvage zone.
If you decide to keep your Web site, you should also know that this medium gives you ample opportunity to learn more about your customers. The Web is the only communication channel that allows you to track practically everything that the users do in interacting with your business.
Web site analysis is a serious task. It should be a formal role assigned to a person who not only understands the principles of human psychology and marketing but also is good with numbers. This person should periodically monitor site traffic, analyze performance according to a set of relevant indicators, and act upon them.
If you as a marketer are helping to manage a Web site for your business, I would strongly advise you to determine the following:
- Is your site traffic being analyzed?
- If so, is it being analyzed by a person who is qualified to do so?
- Is meaningful information about your online audiences being gathered?
- Is this information being inputted into how you run your business in areas like product development or customer relationship and service?
Remember, if you are not analyzing the traffic going through your site, you may be missing out on some very important information about how your customers perceive you and what they expect from your business.
If, for one reason or another, you don’t want to do this, you might as well shut down your Web site.
Next in this three-part series: “Web Site Traffic Analysis Untangled.”